Last Year…

I wrote “today’s” post last year and at the time I was at a conference and I was looking at homes in Colorado springs. I found one I liked and would have bought if I’d been able to. It was very well priced and in my first-choice town. I loved it. I would have enjoyed living in the house. However, I couldn’t really make an offer with no money down and a house not yet on the market. It was a dismaying moment because I knew prices in Colorado Springs were going to rise when summer came (they did) and that this house would sell. It did.

All part of the process that resulted in my moving to Heaven, the San Luis Valley and into the little house at the top of this post.

I love it here, but I have friends in Colorado Springs. Moving here I had to start completely from scratch. If you have never done that it’s similar to and different from starting a new school in the middle of 9th grade. It took me months to get ready to go out and meet people. That was a long period of self-discovery. Now, I have accomplished that and have met people I like very much — and I know it’s mutual. It’s very sweet but, at the same time, it’s still stressful. I’m shy and in the midst of so much change, a person is challenged with rediscovering and even redefining one’s identity, like in the witness protection program?

Anyway, as is the case with wishes, some come true exactly as they’re wished. Some com true in ways we could never have imagined. Some don’t come true at all.

Here’s last years post:

Daily Prompt: Three Coins in the Fountain, by Krista on March 21, 2014. Have you ever tossed a coin or two into a fountain and made a wish? Did it come true?



That really is it. I stopped doing this when I was a kid. “If wishes were horses, everyone would ride.” Wishes and nickles and close your eyes tight and make a wish and blow out the candles and what did you wish for? Don’t tell or it won’t come true. The best use of a wish is the clarification of desire and direction.

Yesterday I looked at houses. My retirement income is going to be small so I’m looking at houses only slightly above the bottom of the barrel. That’s OK. I’ve never (since home ownership began) lived in a “nice” house. They’ve both been odd houses other people wouldn’t want that needed some work.

Yesterday I “made a wish.” Anyway, it felt like it. I filed for retirement. For real. I almost felt like I had closed my eyes and was blowing out the candles on a birthday cake as I filled in the little blanks on the two forms. Perhaps I held my breath. But the “haggis is in the fire” the “Rubicon is crossed” there’s “no turning back” and a million other appropriate clichés.

So…my wishes are mixed. I wish I hadn’t been pushed to this decision. I wish I had a slightly larger income (but I can find a job teaching part time here, maybe). I wish I hadn’t had to make this decision alone — but we really make all decisions alone except maybe pregnancy, and I have good friends and allies and was lucky to meet a realtor yesterday who’s motivated to help me find a home and I have choices. And there is this. We all have knowledge inside about our biological selves and I’m 62. This decision, this moment, is more the result of that than anything else. I made it because I COULD. It’s an option I didn’t have last year or the year before. There’s a twilight zone in which a person is too old to find new work and too young to retire. All a person can do is put the bit between their teeth and GO as long as he has to, steering the way between obstacles, loading up the cart if he has to (I had to) to keep a life together. It takes courage when the options change to stop and look around when everything has depended on hard running. “What if I COULD change my life? What if I COULD have more time for things and people I love?”

A little voice whispers, “You can.” Terrifying, disorienting savior of a little voice.

Yesterday I looked at a little house. It is in the part of town where Italian immigrants lived back in the day. Against the porch leaned an old concrete statue of St. Frankie. I IMG_1029straightened him. I’m not Catholic but I like St. Frankie and all the other statues who are there to remind us to have some faith, hope and compassion. I don’t think there can be too many of these. The house was very pretty inside. I could imagine a Calabrian couple, happy to have their own home, maintaining it with the particular fastidious of which I’m familiar and fond. The house had been cared for all it’s 100+ years. I wish, hope that maybe I’ll be able to live there.

10 thoughts on “Last Year…

  1. It’s an adventure to move from a village to another village in Switzerland, but moving across the country from one American state to another is more than an adventure, it is a courageous event and I am sure you made the right choice. I just love your house, it looks so cozy.

    • Thank you, Pat. I made the right choice among the limited choices I had — but I learned in the Peoples Republic of China back in the 80s that too much choice is not freedom, but chaos. In China I had few choices and that gave me a lot more mental peace.

  2. I’m in the same boat except I bought my home 15 years ago. I worked as long as I could, but nobody wants 62-year-old boilermakers. I started my SS in march–I should have retired 30-years ago. 🙂 Good luck on the house.

    • Last October, I got the house you see in the top of the post. It was a not-very-long-after-all saga. 🙂 I really loved teaching and I had the hardest time imagining NOT teaching, but No Child Left Behind drastically changed the way kids are taught and their expectations in the college classroom. I really had a hard time liking or respecting them at the end. No one who has contempt for his/her students ought to be teaching. It had passed the point where I was able to stimulate or motivate them. Relentless testing had made them hate school and mistrust teachers and it had squelched their curiosity and their courage. I’m glad I’m out of it. I hope I never have to go back but who knows…

    • Me either. It’s interesting to read posts I wrote back then — at 5 am or 5:40 am. Most of the time I got up at 4:30 or 5:00. I taught classes at 7:30 on Sat am that were 45 miles away. Argh… I had actually forgotten what that was like but thank goodness, I wrote about it!

      • I wrote a piece, “Boiler Rat,” that chronicles my work environment. I never expected to survive to retire. My dad died when he was 47, my mother when she was 50. I never thought I had the genes for longevity.

        • Yep. My dad died at 45 — of MS. My mom at 74 of “losing the will and/or desire to live and drinking a lot” — but there are people in my family that lived into their 90s and one reached 100. As long as I’m in something like a right mind and can wander around aimlessly I want to stay around. 🙂

  3. Looking for an affordable house must have been something akin to a nightmare. The house that you purchased I would live there in a heart beat. In past photos I saw hardwood floors and that is a very good thing. I’m glad that you chose the valley for your home. It seems to be a wonderful place.

    Retirement can be a hard choice. I worked until I was seventy-three and only quit when my husband was given just a few months to live. That was the nightmare for me and it has taken five years to get past that after my health went downhill two and a half years ago- most likely from the stress of dealing with a no will estate and becoming a widow. But my health is improving slowly. Of course at my age it will never return to speed, as I like to say. 🙂

    • I believe that recovery from emotional trauma is hard work. I honor you for doing it. Some people do not have the courage. And I agree; this is where I’m supposed to be. My best friends from the Springs come down as often as they can and I sense they might like to live here, too, but family ties make that impossible for them.

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