Living in a Box

I was thinking about how I live my life mostly inside a building…a box! As I pondered that, I came to the conclusion that is not how God, our Creator, intended life to be.

I sit inside and gaze out the window enjoying the view of the pretty backyard. I enjoy seeing the greenery, the trees, the flowers, the birds and butterflies. I enjoy watching the feral cat making his rounds and eating the food we provide for him. Each day, I watch one of the birds steal a morsel of cat food. I’ve noticed the monarch butterflies are back. The citrus trees have buds on them.

But just perhaps I was created to not just be an observer from looking through a window. It’s almost the same as looking at a tv screen…just watching. I think I am meant to be out there experiencing all this wonderfulness first hand. To feel the breeze on my skin. To get my hands into the dirt. To look up to the sky and feel the warm of the sun on my face. To kick off my shoes and feel the cool green grass on my bare feet and let them bond with the earth. I think they call this ‘earthing’. And yes, its a THING!

So here I am living in a house…which is a box. I think God meant for us to have shelter, of course. But not to spend the majority of our life stuck inside and peering out.

And that’s not the only box I live in! As humans, we tend to categorize people…its our way of defining each other.

The biggest box I am in besides the house is “the old lady” box. I look the part. And although I try not to, I suppose I act the part too! I have physical limitations now that I didn’t have when I was younger. Some things are just not as easy to do as they used to be. That’s part of being in the old lady box. Being invisible is another part. What I mean is that old people are often just not noticed….not noticeable. The only people I see taking notice of me these days are other old people who are probably making comparisons to see if they look better than I do. Hey, I do that too, so I know!!

I imagine I’m in a bunch of other boxes too. But that’s a thought for another day.

Right now I’m wondering how hard it is to break out of these boxes. Before its too late and I end up in the final box.

I’m sitting at the kitchen table and looking out the window. I just saw that bird steal some cat food. I think I better go outside and do some earthing while I still can!

Living in a 55+ Community

When we decided to downsize and return to California, we had hoped to purchase a single family home when the housing market took a brief dip. But the dip didn’t last long enough and by time we were ready to make the move prices had already begun to escalate.

We searched out some of the houses on the multiple listing sheet we acquired from a broker. We drove around and looked at the exterior of numerous houses. And we quickly discovered that the houses we could (barely) afford, were not houses we wanted to live in.

So….on to Plan B. Plan B was to look at manufactured housing options in 55+ mobile home communities. In my mind there has always been some kind of negative stigma about living in this kind of community, but in the city where we wanted to live, the mobile home parks were quite nice…clean, quiet, and well maintained.

We settled on a nice park that had an empty lot and only 3 miles from the beach. Perfect! We took a tour of the plant where they manufacture the homes and we were sold. These homes are built better than stick built homes and we could even get home that resembled a Craftsman-style house. What could be better?

It took much longer than expected to work out all the details on the home and for it to be built. But the day finally came when our new home arrived to our lot. It came in two parts and had to be put together. It caused quite a stir in the community here, with lots of onlookers watching as it was delivered and set into place. I guess there’s not a lot of excitement around here, so watching the home being delivered was cause for celebration!

Now that we are finally living in our new home, I have to say that for the most part I love it. Our previous home in Pennsylvania was a 4 bedroom colonial with a full basement on .75 acres. We now have a three bedroom home that is all on one floor. There is no yard to speak of. The main regret for me is that there is no garage, but only a driveway wide enough for a single car. So we have to park the cars one behind the other and that means a lot of juggling the cars back and forth.

Overall, yes its nice here and its very quiet. I think some of the more elderly folks who live here are very set in their ways. We haven’t met too many of them yet. They have a tendency to stay inside their homes.

We went to a couple of holiday dinners in the clubhouse. We discovered that most of the folks are rather cliquish and don’t seem to be too welcoming to new faces. So we may forgo any more of those social events unless we know some of our more friendly neighbors are going to be attending too.

Overall, I would recommend living in this type of community if you want to downsize and simplify. But unlike living in a single family home, there are lots of rules to follow and it is very high density. There are plenty of friendly folks around, but you have to be assertive to find them and get involved. Otherwise, it could be a lonely place.

Life Transitions

My blog! My blog! I had forgotten about my blog! That is until this morning when a kind soul stumbled upon it and decided to follow me. Getting a notice that I have a new follower has spurred me into action. My blog! How could I have forgotten you?


Life transitions. I haven’t written a blog post since last May. And, oh my, how my life has changed since then. Here are some highlights. Perhaps some of them are worthy of a blog post or two on their own.

* Sold the house, retired, and drove across the country from Pennsylvania to California.
* Lived temporarily with a relative and her family for 7 weeks.
* Moved into the new home, which is basically half of the size of the prior home (if you count the basement).
* Traveled to Eastern Europe.
* Traded in the Ford Focus (only 2 years old) on a new Honda CR-V.
* Reverting back to Protestantism from Catholicism.
* And finally, adjusting to the new life.

Life transitions. They are as natural as the changing seasons. Some transitions are more easily managed than others. And some transitions are an opportunity for a fresh start in life.

I guess I realize I am at a juncture now. I have decisions to make about how I am going to move forward in life. I want to try new things, meet new people, travel, and experience things I have only up to now dreamed about. I wonder where my journey is going to take me next.

Life transitions. They can shake you and bring you to rediscover your core identity. I think that is happening to me. Moving back to California has put me back in touch with my roots…back in touch with my family and the familiar area where I grew up. Distant memories from childhood come flooding back. I question if who I became when I lived elsewhere is the same person I would have been if I had never moved. And who is the person I want to be? Now is the time to explore, brainstorm, consider the make-over before my life begins to naturally solidify into new patterns.

Writing this blog is a step towards becoming who I want to be in this stage of my life. I welcome you to come along for the ride.

It’s like “Living in Macys”

The other day, I was lamenting on FaceBook about how hard it is to live in a home staged to sell. There is no longer anything personal out on display. The stager has provided appropriate decor in place of personal momentos. Some rooms have been repainted in a more neutral “Pottery Barn” look to appeal to a young family…colors chosen by the painter and the real estate agent. The house is no longer my home, it is a commodity that is ready for the next owner to personalize.

When I mentioned living in a staged home, one of my FaceBook friends who has recently sold her own home, told me that her husband said that living in a staged home is like “living in Macys”. I like that and I pondered it.

martha stewart

Imagine living in Macy’s. Just what would that be like? Would Martha Stewart and Donald Trump stop by for a visit? You would have your pick of any style of furnishings that you like. Everything would be shiny and new and always on display. Always on display…those are the key words.

When you live in a staged house, it must always be in showroom condition, ready for a perspective buyer at a moment’s notice. When the call comes that an agent would like to show the home, there is the frantic rushing around to make sure everything looks just perfect. Tossing wet towels in the dryer, making sure all dirty dishes are stowed in the dishwasher, mail and papers are put out of sight, and general running through the house to make sure everything is in place and ready for the showing..including all lights turned on. Then a mad dash out the door before the visitors arrive. This is followed by ‘where should we go for an hour’ and bated breath waiting for feedback on how the house showed.

Thank goodness this is just temporary…at least I sure hope so! Although I love living in a clean and uncluttered house, there is a lot of stress in keeping it pristine and in show condition. I’m looking forward to the day the house sells, and I can go back to living in a more relaxed state. I think I would rather have visits from the dust bunnies than Martha Stewart.

Moving Home to California to Retire

Blogs should have a theme and should be posted on a regular basis. This is common knowledge. This is what I have not been practicing. I don’t know how to come up with a topical theme. If I write at all, it will be about whatever pops into my mind. I’m not looking for hundreds of followers. So if you happen upon my blog in your searching, I welcome you and hope you find entertaining reading. I hope you’ll come back and see if I have posted something new, but I won’t guarantee that I have.

I follow a blog that I really enjoy. The writer lives in London and she posts every (well, most) Sunday. I eagerly look forward to her blog. She is someone who is in the midst of a life change…changing where she lives and looking for new employment.

I suppose in a way I am like her in my current stage of life. I haven’t moved yet, but the house is up for sale and when the move is complete, I will be heading home to California. I’m living in a beautiful area of the East Coast right now. But it’s not home. I miss my family and the sunshine and the ocean. I do not miss the smog and the crowded freeways and the earthquakes. But home is home and that’s where my heart is.

I’m also going to retire when I move. That’s a big change. I’ve been looking forward to not having to get up and go to work everyday. But suddenly today, on Memorial Day 2013 when I’m home from work, I realize that there is a good possibility that I could find myself with SO much time on my hands that I could become….BORED! Oh, I’ve read so much about making sure you have hobbies and interests to keep you busy when you retire. You have to have a plan about how you are going to spend your time. And I’ve nodded and thought to myself  “Sure, that’s not going to be a problem for me. I have plenty of things that will keep me busy!” But today, I started to question if that is really true. I guess I’m going to have to come up with some goals and schedules.

Another big change is that this will be a big downsize. Currently, the house is around 2600 square feet. In this area of the country, it’s a medium-sized house. And with .75 acres there is a lot of wildlife and trees to enjoy. I love watching the birds and the squirrels and the rabbits. We have mockingbirds here that I particularly enjoy. They are so precocious and have a beautiful song. I am trying to really savor and enjoy everything about living in my little secluded hideaway here. But I will have no regrets when it is time to move. I eagerly look forward to my new life in California.

I’m going to have much more to write about this whole experience. So if you are interested, check back.