The week after new years is one of our weeks that Mimi and I slip away. After the 2 month long retail Christmas and the “real” christmas entertaining at home we always feel like hiding out for a few days. This year we spent that time with our friends in Florida. It still amazes me how close we are to a totally different world. In an easy 6 hours we can be where it really feels new and different with mostly locals down there this time of year it’s easy to fall into island time.
Those people and our friends that made the move down there are on a pace that I can get into really quickly. It seems like the second day that we were down there I had already forgotten what day it was and purposefully had no idea what time it was. 4 or 5 more days with them I might have forgotten my name! It wasn’t balmy warm by any means but it was nice and sunny and definitely warmer than here. Old man Winter has been particularly rough on me this winter, I can’t seem to get warm down to my bones, I guess that’s about getting older.
Our friends have developed lots of great friends down there so there was never a dull moment. We went out to eat and party with new friends the whole time we were down there. They knew all the best places to do those things. We kept it casual, they know us well enough to know that casual is our speed. The community that our friends live in is meticulously cared for on the grounds. As usual Mimi and I were noticing the landscapes used here and in town. It looks like the trend is headed towards lots of iris and grasses, that white muhly grass was everywhere.
I love that grass, I see it being used here more and more but it looks great down there planted in mass on the boulevards and in home landscapes. We didn’t want to bore our friends to death about plants so we tried not to talk about it too much. We’ve been guilty of that when we go to other places with our kids,we’ve learned that plant talk is not fun for everyone. Every chance we got we were headed to meet more of their friends, everyone we met was just so happy to be there. Most were retired or getting close to it so they had a lot to be excited about. Mimi was invited out with the girls one of the nights but that party just exploded right over to our hosts house and the party went deeper into the night. It is so much fun partying with adults that don’t have to go to bed at any certain time as if it’s a school night, takes practice.
I really enjoyed meeting these folks and getting to hear their stories of how they arrived here. Retired, still happily married and their retirement plans came together. I’d say that’s a pretty amazing feat these days. The folks that we were meeting were not super wealthy but very happy living this slower, less stressful lifestyle. These are the people that listened and stuck to their plans from an early age. Adults begin to tell us that it is wise to start saving as early as possible, buy and sell real estate as you can, use the compounding interest friend as early as possible and all those things we’ve all heard.
Whether or not we listened at an early age is different for all of us but they were living proof that it works. I wish they taught that stuff in school in case we weren’t hearing it at home. It sure looked nice to see them not be slaves to their jobs, but more like steady as she goes, watch it grow. It was inspiring to know that all this hard work and penny pinching all of our lives might lead to the kind of freedom that these folks had attained for themselves. I think I will be a good retired person. I don’t need to be super rich, I just want the things I will need to make my idle days more satisfying. Right now that looks like staying at this address and access to a good garden center. We hope that if Max and Madeline take over the nursery they might offer us a nice discount on our planting material, otherwise we will have to go up there at night and get what we need!
We hope we can sprinkle some travel into our retirement years but if this place turns out like we plan we will have everything we need for a happy “other life”. I find it much easier to go to my kitchen to get what we need, to our garden for our produce, my street for a sunny walk and last but not least, our own bed at night. It’s hard to find all that when you are not home, crazy sounding from a guy who has traveled all his life but this sounds really good to us. That trip we took only took 4 days and the people we met only briefly were enough to inspire lots of dinner time talk and plans for our future after this wonderful first half of life progresses into our second half. We are a few years away but the plan is coming together. We hope you find the inspiration that you need to live your life satisfied and happy wether it’s your first half or your second half.