Today is my 72nd birthday!
Oddly, I've spent the past two years thinking I was 72 and then delighting each year in knowing that I wasn't. Hubby, Steve, kept telling me that I was in my 72nd year and/or my 8th decade.
Now I finally am!
So far, I've had two early birthday celebrations, with one more scheduled today. My oldest son and his fiance want to take me to dinner. I just have to pick the place ... my easy chair?
On your 72nd, you just want to put up your feet, have a drink and watch some TV. Not that I'm too old to go out and groove, just that I'm settling in after 8 weeks traipsing around the country.
I went to Virginia to see a friend, Illinois to see my 4 younger sisters, and Boston to see my son's family. Each stop was a 2-3 week stay. A subliminal reason for all this travel was "testing" each area of the country to see if I could live there. After Steve's death, I was constantly asked if I was moving "back home". I always thought I was home, but just wanted to re-affirm this.
We moved to Tucson in 2007 to get away from the congestion and winter weather in New England. In the years we've been here, both conditions have worsened in New England. Plus the housing market has gone sky-high.
Illinois was where I grew up, but I've been away over 40 years, and my sisters are the only draw there. We have a wonderful time when I go to visit. But, Illinois is cold in the winter, the state is almost bankrupt and real estate taxes are high. I do keep looking at realtor.com and zillow though, just in case the perfect house appears. I won't move, but I love to house-hunt.
Arizona is home on so many fronts. We've been in the house 12 years and have friends and neighbors. Children on the block come at Halloween to see our 6-foot bear dressed in witches' costume. The little neighbor girl, who walked Molly, is now in high school. We got married in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church and I help teach sacramental prep there. There are lunches with the girls, cocktail parties, baptisms and cul-de-sac block parties.
It is delightfully warm in winter and the frogs are out in force after a midsummer monsoon. There's no grass to mow, the sun shines almost all year, and you can smell the desert ozone. Tucson has grown a lot, but we are still a cowboy town at heart. Where else can you find rodeos, gem shows, desert museums and mesquite all in one place.
And finally, this is where Steve and I made our home. He set me up to be warm and economically stable here. Two of his golden rules were "don't embarrass the family (there's no bail)" and "don't do anything stupid". Moving north or east would fall under the latter category.
At the moment, my oldest son and his fiance are living with me while apartment hunting. They moved to Arizona -- to my house (?!) -- during my travel jaunt. This has worked out well as they kept an eye on the house, catching two troublesome water issues. They've already found jobs, bought a car and tackled health insurance. Next on their agenda is getting an apartment.
Gives me one more reason to stay in Arizona ... or is that a reason to leave? Sometimes distance does make a heart grow fonder.