Living creatively means always keeping your options open. It was Yogi Berra who said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” See more of his “yogi-isms” at www.yogiberra.com/yogi-isms.html After realizing he was often being quoted, he also said, “I didn’t really say everything I said.” Well I agree – neither did I.
As many of you have heard me say, I live in a very active 55+ community in Lincoln, California. This is an idyllic place, situated at the western fringe of the Sierras in northern California. We enjoy rolling hills and delicious scenery that feeds our souls and fills us up. San Francisco is just over an hour to the south and west and Tahoe is equal distance to the north and east. We have the best of both worlds and everything in between. Wine country and Yosemite are our neighbors. The people here are intelligent, delightful, supportive, and for the most part enlightened about life and how it works. Many high-powered careers have settled down here. Wisdom comes with years and we live around a wealth of wisdom and insight. When my husband died two and a half years ago I could not have hoped for a better place to be to lick my wounds and recover.
But now I am planning a move. HUH? What? Why? AND WHERE? But you see I have a history of never choosing the easy, predictable path. Call me crazy, but do call me. I am “all in” this thing called life. 100%. Let’s get goin on the next part.
I am moving back to Denver, not where I was born but where I was born again when I arrived as a young woman to attend the University of Colorado in Boulder. For me, an Ohioan, the west was wide and free and full of promise, so I never looked back and proceeded to settle right in. My mother, brother and sister eventually joined me. That was the pivotal decision of my early adulthood. I have never regretted it and I am more at home in the Denver and Boulder area than I have ever been in any of the other five or six states across the country where I have moved for marriage and career. The Rocky Mtns. are my comfort zone. My art career took hold there and provided me with the second most pivotal decision in my life, to pursue lifelong careers in various fields related to the arts.
So. I have decided to move “off the reservation” as we affectionately call our community consisting of 6,783 homes here in Lincoln. We also refer to ourselves as a campus, because living here does fit all the required criteria of a campus. We have many amenities, many avenues for continued education and pursuit of hobbies, umpteen social events and sports available, trips to the city and local entertainment right here as well. We gather, we learn, we socialize and we party. Life is full. Life is precious. Every single day counts. We value time. Most of us would trade our most valued possessions for more quality time. We take nothing for granted, because we see it all and we know that time is not to be wasted.
And as with any community we have our lovable eccentrics, our local celebrities, our tragedies, our celebrations, circumstances and stories. Have you ever been cornered by an enthusiastic “Viagra-ed up” 75 year old man who is determined to have you go home with him under the pretense of seeing his backyard waterfall? I will grant you that things move a bit slower here and yet they do still move – the same wild-eyed infatuations that you see in the eyes of testosterone driven sixteen year olds are evident everywhere – just a bit weathered over time. And you know you can out-run them if you want to. Conversely there are amazing specimens of physical fitness who defy the odds and continue to be all that they can be. We offer the full spectrum of human beings – don’t discount us because we are 55+.
Perfect strangers here will strike up a conversation with you in the check-out line at Safeway over any number of different personal subjects and ailments, offering lessons learned and warnings and pointers – how to prevent this and that and what to do for what, when some wierd new “thing” happens to you practically overnight, as things do when you are over 55. Everyone is eager to be helpful.
And then you notice in the check-out lane next to you that some elderly gentleman is handing out dog biscuits to anyone who will take one, announcing proudly and loudly that he has some great dog biscuits, pulling an endless supply out of his bulging pockets, nibbling each one as he extends his handfuls to virtually no takers. You just have to shake your head and realize that this could probably happen anywhere – it perhaps has nothing at all to do with Safeway being located in a 55+ community, does it?
I could go on – but I will just say that I am returning to Denver once again not for a love of my life but for the simple love of life itself. For me. I would like to live off-campus now. I would like to live among all age groups. I would like to not constantly be asked how old I am. I would like to blend in and make age a little bit more irrelevant. Instead of being a teacher of art, I would like to once again be a student of art. I have a lot I want to learn.
Instead of no one showing up at my door on Halloween, next fall I would like a couple dozen trick or treaters, because I usually have great candy to offer – no dog biscuits at my house.
And here are my marbles – I haven’t lost them.