Turn the Page

Our wonderful real estate agents Keith Merrill and Jonny Gleaton put this sign in the yard this morning. This house has been like a friend to me. I have lived here since 1980, and we have devoted so much energy into working on this house while we have been here. The changes have been gradual, mainly happening between 1995 and 2003. The result of each phase has pleased us, and this house has really been our home. But, even though all those things are very true, we are ready to begin a new chapter of our lives in a different place. When we came back to Nashville in April we started to seriously think in a deliberate way about how we wanted to go forward with our future. We both realized that we are ready to live full-time in Mexico, and that is the plan that makes the most sense. Since we are so ready to do this, the sacrifices that have to happen do not feel like a hardship. Of course, we will miss not only this lovely house, but many friends here that we really enjoy,  but the need for this adventure has overshadowed any feelings of nostalgia.

Fred and Pinky and I are really up for it. Once we decided that selling the house as soon as possible was a key to making the rest of the plan work, we spent most of the late spring and summer getting the house in tip-top shape. It took lots of work to clear out decades of stuff that we really don’t want. Everyday was a challenge –bring things down from the attic and go through them, rent a PODS, and have workers in the house constantly. Every drawer, every cabinet, every closet had to be dealt with. Every bookcase and hidey-hole had to give up its secrets. We either gave things away, packed what we wanted to take, or decided it needed to be sold. The criteria for what we will take is simple–do we love it? We had a housing inspector come over when we first started talking with Keith about how to do the sale. We worked down his list and got everything as right as we could get it. That part of the move became an obsession with me. I really have loved this house and I wanted to leave it feeling that it had been cherished. Fred shared these feelings. Once things were as perfect as possible, we put the house on the market.

There was never any doubt that Keith Merrill would be our agent when (and if) we were ready to sell. Keith has been a good friend for years, and he has always loved this house. He proved to be extremely good at what he does. Living in a house that is on the market is an unsettling experience. Things have to be kept in spotless condition, with everything in its place, and you have to be ready to clear out whenever the house is to be shown. We were very grateful to our friend, Arnold Myint, for opening his home to us—it became our “hide-out” when the house was being shown.

And then, this Tuesday, it happened. We got a contract. And, the good news is, they seem to love the house in the same way that we do. (We got this report from Keith. We haven’t actually met them.) But, they did ask if they could keep the porch furniture, which made me quite happy. That porch has been a special place for us, and I love to know that the next people are going to use and enjoy it. Fred and I are both pleased with the way this has all gone down, although I have to confess the time factor was a bit hairy. Everything had taken longer than it should have this summer as far as getting things ready. The plan had been to put it on the market July 15, and it actually went on the market August 25. Fred and I had to schedule the movers to come the week of October 5, so we didn’t have much breathing room. There is still so much to do. Now that the house is sold and the showings have stopped, there is more packing to do. When you move to Mexico you can take one truck load of personal things without paying duty. We have to get our Mexican Residency started. We are selling our Mini-Coopers. (That is one of the sacrifices I was talking about.) There will be an estate sale October 15-17 by a professional, so please don’t ask for early viewings, just come early. The miracle of the estate sale is that I don’t have to do anything. They do it all, from pricing to clean-up. I had really, really dreaded that sale.

So, now this busy summer seems ready itself to shift a gear into early fall. The light that is coming through the front window is different than it was in June. I can feel change in the air. I am ready for it—just as soon as I finish this packing.

Age is an Attitude, not a Number.

P1090282 Pinky and I on the beach, shortly before my 71st birthday. Life is a Journey…come along for the ride. The blogging project with WordPress continues. The assignment for this blog post was to write a post for someone who is your “perfect audience.” That is a little hard for me to define, as my blog touches on many subjects. I think my answer is that my perfect audience is a person who can see me in my 70’s as an inspiration that getting older doesn’t have to suck. I am pretty serious about enjoying my life as much as possible. My blog covers my adventures, whether that involves living in Mexico or simply making a wonderful meal, and I hope to have lots of adventures in the days to come. I think one of the secrets to keeping life interesting is simply to keep life interesting. That’s what makes a person of any age attractive. I try not to think of myself as “retired.” I really don’t like that word.  I was a jewelry designer for 30 years and I didn’t start that career until I was forty. I was quite intense about it and in many ways what I did defined who I was. Since selling the business 2 1/2 years ago it has been a bit difficult for me to adjust and reinvent myself. That project of self-invention and reinvention is not finished and it never will be. However, the fact that I have stopped working has been very freeing to me. I would like to think I am incubating my next chapter. And this chapter involves doing things just for the joy of doing them. (How nice not to be concerned about selling something to someone). I frequently hear people who are much, much younger than me grousing around about how “old” they are. “I’m so old!” is not uncommon for me to hear from the mouths of those whose adulthood is pretty much just beginning. I find that when I tell people how old I am, they sometimes seem surprised and react by saying that they had thought I was much younger. Guess what…I think I’m much younger, too. And, that’s the secret. I have never said to anyone, “I am getting old.” I never think about whether something is “age appropriate” or not. I just think about if it is comfortable for me…whether it is something I am going to wear, or a situation I am going to be in. I am the first to admit that I am motivated to look and feel as good as I possibly can. I am careful about what I eat, I exercise, and I do the maintenance things (within reason) that are available to me. But, the main thing, and the most important thing, is that I simply will not talk about “getting old.” I won’t indulge in those conversations. I don’t want to listen to anyone else talk about “getting old.” Especially not if you are 25 years younger than me! I do hope I find my “perfect audience”—-someone who enjoys my posts and takes away a bit of inspiration—whether it’s for a good vegetarian meal, a trip to Mexico, or opening their minds to the fascinating diversity of humanity.

Life is a Journey…come along for the ride.

S M 2 la gordadonexxI recently met a guy who I have gotten to be friends with on FaceBook. He told me that he was so excited to meet me because he loved all my posts. My husband, Fred, and I had just gotten back from a 6-month driving tour of Mexico. I posted some of this on my blog, and lots of it on FaceBook. He told me that he was “getting older and not too happy with that” but that I made him realize that it might not be so bad. (He is in his early 50’s, I am almost 72.) It hit me that there aren’t that many role models for successfully adding the years to life and life to the years. While I write about all sorts of things in my blog, my first and foremost mission on both my blog and in my life is to enjoy myself and other people, keep on learning, do what I can to look and feel good, and just have fun. So, yes, that YOUNG man’s comment really made my day. And, it also made me realize that I can, in fact, not only enjoy this journey but bring others along with me. So, here is 71, going on 72, and it just gets better. Come along for the ride.