November 13 , 2018 /


I sometimes have thoughts swirling around in my head and I can’t quite get them clearly into focus. I don’t think it’s early (?) onset of Alzheimer’s or Dementia, at least not yet, but those are indeed serious conditions to be taken seriously.   You may have had a similar experience.  Those thoughts might come from a conversation, a memory, something we have read, or something we have seen.  Regardless of the source, try as I might, I can’t quite seem to find the magic door to clarity.   I can get hold of the general topic but without the specific details.  And then, after staying with the thoughts, entertaining them as it were, almost suddenly, that proverbial light bulb goes on and I can see what it was that I was struggling to define sufficiently to be able to articulate the issue. Clarity might even come when we’re not thinking about it!

Such an occurrence happened one morning recently as I was trying to explain to my wife what my preferences are with regard to living in a community that has certain characteristics and avoiding others that illustrate what I do not particularly like.  I am sure that some of this has been precipitated by a move last year to a condo on a lake in northern California and some of these thoughts have taken up residence in my muddled mind where they have lived with hundreds, if not thousands, of other thoughts up there on my hard drive.

We live remotely on a beautiful lake between Sacramento and Yosemite and with an HOA we have no outdoor maintenance issues, and a turn key situation that allows us to leave anytime for a trip, extended travel or to visit family.  We have a boat for lake activities, a camping trailer that is at the ready anytime and a very flexible schedule that includes some routines and continuing adventures.  However, in the past several months, some conditions have changed, one in the health domain for me and that requires some special attention and oversight.  We are attending to that as needed and may have to relocate for the sake of proximity to resources in ongoing health care.  This is not a new phenomenon for folks in later years so there are numerous possibilities and opportunities out there

What became clear, in concert with considering yet another change, was my preference for smaller rather than larger, individual freedoms rather than restrictive covenants, an authentic village rather than a cookie cutter PRD, (Planned Residential Development) and some like-minded souls that share values, beliefs and practices. I suppose it could be a flight of fancy back to growing up in a small community, neighbors that supported and cared for one another, and social activities that centered around schools, churches and neighborhoods.

Everyone, or so it seemed, even if it wasn’t everyone, knew the local grocer, butcher, baker, shopkeepers and teachers.  There were only two movie theaters, now there are 14 in one place.  What I noticed living in another country is that there are the locals and the regulars and while we were not originally among the local residents, we became known as regulars.  Rather like the words from Cheers: “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name; And they’re always glad you came;  You wanna be where you can see;
Our troubles are all the same;  You wanna be where everybody knows your name.”  Gary Portnoy  I know there are new communities of older folks seeking similar conditions and one of those might become a consideration.

Three of our most important considerations are family, community and convenience. Thus, the conversations will continue, perhaps with a little more light on the various subjects, as we figure out what’s next. We have plans for this week and next and all the way through January.  We know that those plans are subject to revision, adaptation and adjustment according to changing conditions.  That said, we are enormously grateful for the opportunities in front of us and the ability of to make the most of them every day.

Comments (2)

  1. I live in a town. It’s not a city or a suburb but a small community. You don’t go to the airport or grocery store or anywhere without seeing someone you know. Before I moved here, I had no idea how much it would resonate with me. Figuring out what you value and being clear on why you choose to be where you are is more important than I realized before I moved to my town. Sounds like you appreciate where you are and are open to what comes next. It’s the best place to be.


    1. You nailed it with this: “Figuring out what you value and being clear on why you choose to be where you are is more important than I realized before I moved to my town.” When we not only know our priorities but choose to follow them or fulfill them, life is often more satisfying and rewarding. The macro version is from Joseph Campbell in his book, “The Power of Myth.” The quote is this: “If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” Thanks, my friend!

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