Finding Our Way – Home

Your Focus Determines Your Reality

George Lucas

Fulfillment is an elusive and somewhat abstract concept that we strive for but can never fully achieve or even define. It is a slippery little devil, that enters and exits our lives at random intervals. I lost that feeling during the last three months of living with my MIL, but our recent move and a renewed sense of purpose, have helped me to regain it. Setting up our home, establishing a healthy routine, having something wonderful to look forward to, meeting new friends, and nurturing existing relationships, have all provided what I needed more of this month to regain energy and focus.

Read ‘Let’s Talk About the R Word’ to learn more about why I chose more as my WOTY for 2022.

Adjusting, again

When we moved last month, we didn’t go far from where we had owned a home for twenty-two years. But, sometimes it feels like a world away. We have gone from living in a 5,000 SF home for twenty years to a cute little condo on the beach for one month to sharing my MIL’s home for nine months, and now we are settling into a 1200 SF apartment in an age-restricted community. It has been quite the journey.

Yes, I said ‘age-restricted community.’ Residents must be at least fifty-five years old to lease an apartment home here. These types of communities are very popular in sunny retirement states like Florida and Arizona, so you might be familiar with the concept. Anyway, it is much like living in a resort. We chose it because it is new construction, has a floor plan we like, and has fewer units than most apartment complexes in our area, i.e. lower density.

The amenities are geared toward active retirees and include things like a swimming pool, pickle ball court, bocce ball court, gym, fitness classes, movie theater, card room, and even a hair salon. It is a social community, with something happening almost every day. We have no intention of reinventing ourselves here, but, it is a nice place for a pleasant segue on the way to our next destination. It is also proving to be a quality learning experience with regard to aging. More about that in a future post.

Focus on Fitness

Since the Covid fog has lifted, we are easing into apartment living, and returning to some of our old habits, like bike riding. We took three rides this week, extending our distance each time. It has been fun getting to know the neighborhood as we ride. The goal is to ride ten miles at least three times per week throughout the summer and be on the lookout for new discoveries as we go. The cell phone photos below include a sampling of the scenes we passed on our rides this past week.

The most scenic part of the ride is tricky, with narrow bike lanes, a draw bridge, (that might be open) and a railroad track, but it’s worth it.

We discovered a new coffee shop on one of our rides and Malcolm introduced me to one of his favorites overlooking the water. We alternate them for our morning treat.

Iced Coffee and Blueberry Muffin at Gilbert’s – Malcolm’s Favorite

Always on the lookout for something beautiful as we ride, I spotted this pretty little cottage garden. Wouldn’t you just love to know the person who created this? One day I’m going to stop and knock on her door.

In addition to biking, I have been experimenting with a few YouTube fitness videos and have settled on two favorites – Standing Pilates for over Sixty and Beginner Pilates. I play them on the TV in the Pilates Salon, which I enjoy having all to myself. Both videos are about twenty minutes long and are a good complement to my cardio workouts which include biking, treadmill, and elliptical. With fewer than one-half of the residences leased, the gym is empty most days. A personal trainer comes in every Monday and Friday to assist anyone who wants or needs assistance with the equipment. She is nice to have around and has already taught me a few useful things. Yes, an old dog can learn new tricks.

Focus on Food

I hate to use the word ‘diet’, but Malcolm and I could both stand to lose a few pounds, and we have a major incentive to do just that, so… for the next two months we will be paying very close attention to our calories in, energy out ratio. The meals we make at home are healthy, but Malcolm has a sweet tooth and I love a nice glass of wine or two in the evenings. We also tend to eat more carbs than we should, especially when we go out, i.e. pizza, pasta, and of course, the occasional cheeseburger!

The ‘diet’ consists of cutting our indulgences for all or most of the next two months and increasing cardio exercises. It’s just two months, right?

Focus on Family

If you are wondering about the major incentive to improve our fitness level, that would be our daughter’s wedding. Actually, it’s an elopement (which Covid seems to have made very popular) but she would have done it anyway. Since she was a young girl, her idea of the perfect wedding has always been ‘six people on a beach.’ Somewhere in her travels, she transitioned the notion and it will actually be six people overlooking a vineyard, in September, in Italy. I can’t say more about that just yet, but you can bet there will be a gushing post with way too many photographs from the proud as a peacock, Mother-of-the-bride, at the end of September.

Sharing with Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share. Natalie has created a weekly Link Party and welcomes participation. Click on the highlighted link to read about her glorious June and learn more about the weekly link-up. See you there.

54 thoughts on “Finding Our Way – Home

  1. Sounds like you are very happy with your move and are having a good summer as you head towards your daughter’s big event. I hope your daughter’s wedding is all she has dreamed about and your two-month diet has big payoffs. Happy July and safe but fun riding with good coffee stops. 🙂

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    1. Judy, we are settling in nicely and although summer is already brutally hot and humid, we still manage to enjoy our bike rides. Two months make a full size difference for me when I pay attention, so I am very motivated. They say we look 10 pounds heavier in photos…

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  2. Hi Suzanne – exciting times ahead with the wedding – it’s such a special time isn’t it – and I’m expecting lots of lovely photos! Interesting that you’ve moved to an over 55 apartment. We have a community a short distance away – all the homes are 3 bed x 2 bath homes and have similar facilities to what you’re describing. We’re not ready yet, but it’s looking like a distinct possibility ten years or so from now, so I’ll be very interested to hear more from you on what it’s like living in that environment. Enjoy your freedom – it sounds like you’re springing back again 🙂

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    1. Leanne, the average here is about 75, so I’d say you are about right with your estimated time. I am not sure I could live in an ‘age restricted’ community long-term, but it is new and fairly quiet for now, so why not try it out? I like the social aspect of the neighborhood, Malcolm, not so much – too many people in your business.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Malcolm’s concern is our main one – but it’s so tricky working out what the next (and hopefully final) step will be when it comes to downsizing. I don’t want to be packing up a house at 85 and worrying about where to live – esp if I’m on my own – (although I’ve told my husband I need to die first – less to deal with for me!! :D)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Beth, Happy 4th to you as well. We are just so happy to be in our own space again. Nine months (even with the breaks we took) was too long to live with my MIL. I can’t wait for September!!! Mother of the Bride – I honestly didn’t think I’d ever wear that title.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, quite the journey to say the least, Suzanne. This community has many positives. I like your words “pleasant segue.” You and your husband exemplify active retirees and you are both an inspiration. I took a series of Pilates classes a few years ago…major challenging, yet good results. I love all of your photos. I have been following your daughter and almost son-in-law on Instagram (I believe it may be when she once wrote a guest post on your site?) They visit gorgeous places.

    Your email arrived as I sat to have my coffee. Your introduction enticed me to begin reading, since your eloquent description says well how I am still riding this slippery little devil. I look forward to getting my life back when the dust settles around here.

    Heading on a “nature/friend therapy hike” this morning, steps in the right direction. I always count my blessings, and your post this morning, Suzanne, is one of them.❤️

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    1. Erica, thank you. Your comments always warm my heart. You are right, the community has positives and negatives, but I think we will be able to navigate those by being careful not to get overly involved. Life does have its ups and downs, doesn’t it? We do our best to make the former last for as long as possible since the latter is inevitable.

      Morgan and Jimmy travel often (almost every work holiday) and to some very beautiful places. She is in Lisbon, Portugal right now. Her Instagram feed is quite beautiful if I do say so myself. Thanks for following.

      A nature/friend therapy hike sounds like a winner. Enjoy!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The community sounds great. Especially the half leased aspect of it at least for now. We explored some communities like this in AZ and NM, back before we turned 55. THen it seemed a very long time until we’d be 55, and now that we’re 66 and 69 it seems a long time ago that we explored. We haven’t moved out of our house, yet, but when we do I am still considering a community like yours where we’d be able to make friends and join activities v.s. sitting at home in front of the tv. Bike riding sounds fun. I haven’t ridden in 2 years. Time to get some air in those tires! Good luck with the diet, I’m sure you’ll do great. And congratulations to your daughter and both families!

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    1. Dawn, an age-restricted community has its appeal, especially if you like built-in activities and instant friends. We definitely don’t have to think very much about how to spend our days. But, we already see how it could get to be too much. As always, moderation is the key. Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. How exciting! A wedding in the future! I love those elopement weddings – my daughter and son-in-law did that last year and I thought it was just perfect. Looking forward to seeing all those photos 😁

    Deb

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  6. Good morning, Suzanne,
    A wedding in Italy sounds fabulous…gush away!
    Our small neighborhood isn’t age-restricted, but it might as well be. If it weren’t for Helen, I would be the youngest one in here. I’m counting carbs this summer and have joined a second exercise class. Nevertheless, the weight is coming off at an iceberg pace. I’m not giving up wine…yet! Have a great week! Joe

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    1. Joe, giving up wine is the hardest part, soooo…..I have cheated, just a little. But, the exercise is paying off and I already feel better.

      The neighborhood where we owned our home had a lot of retirees, but we also had younger folks with children. This is our first experience with exclusively NO KIDS ALLOWED! It feels a little strange, but the quiet is kinda nice.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes, I was wondering about the incentive to lose weight and about to ask, when I read your reason why. Awesome! I like your term “Covid fog”. That’s what it feels like. A dense and extensive one. I hope you two recovered nicely and totally. Good to read that you are settling into the apartment and new environment. Oh, maybe the cute signs and garden is created by a man… 🙂

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  8. Sounds like you’re living the life! I can’t imagine downsizing from a 5,000 SF home – that was some accomplishment. I’m trying to downsize from a 3,000 SFooter. Ugh – the task seems endless.

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  9. Suzanne, Thank you for your weekend coffee share. I must have missed your covid illness when I was traveling. I’m glad you recovered from it and now can enjoy bike rides and healthy food. That cottage garden is very pretty. I hope you get to talk to the owner/ gardener. Your daughter’s wedding plan sounds wonderful. Italy is a beautiful country, an excellent choice. Enjoy all your MOTB moments. I look forward to seeing all those photos.

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  10. I can’t get over how many moves you’ve survived in the last couple of years! I bet it is fulfilling to settle down (at least for a while) and have such a happy event to plan for in the near future!

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    1. Tracey, it is nice to be settled for a while and have something wonderful to look forward to. Morgan has been working on this for almost a year and has most of the plans in place. I have enjoyed reviewing the details and can’t wait to see it all come together. Thanks for stopping by and have a great week.

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  11. I will follow your updates on your new living situation with interest. Although we currently have no plans to move, living in an active community like that is intriguing. I’m so happy that you have your own nest now; I can’t imagine sharing a home like you did, no matter how well everyone gets along… I need my space 🙂 Congrats on the upcoming wedding! Btw, I started 16/8 intermittent fasting to lose some weight gained during Covid. Almost three weeks in and I can say that it has worked well and I feel better. Good luck to you on fitting into your dress… you will make a beautiful mother of the bride!

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    1. Janis, I considered fasting, but I didn’t think I’d stick with it. Glad it is working for you. Space sharing isn’t for everyone, and we definitely stayed too long. We have exposed ourselves to a lot of learning experiences this past year. I hope we will put all that information to good use when the time comes to make decisions about our future. In the meanwhile, we have a WEDDING to look forward to!!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Wonderful to hear that you’re settling into your new home and neighbourhood! Such complexes are becoming more popular here in the UK too. I could be tempted but my husband would hate it so …!
    And congratulations on having that wedding to look forward to! I’m just back from a weekend celebrating my nephew’s wedding to a beautiful and lovely girl, so I’m feeling very ‘weddingy’ 😆

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    1. Sarah, from what I have seen, women are far more adaptable to a place like this than men. I think we are more social beings in general. Not to mention, our numbers are larger at this stage of life, and absent a husband, women become a support system for each other.

      I am beyond excited about the wedding. It is shaping up to be quite a romantic adventure.

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  13. Hi, Suzanne – This post reminded me again of how much we have in common. So many of the things that you enjoy – I greatly enjoy as well!
    Congratulations on your daughter’s water. Her long-standing idea of ‘6 people on a beach sounds perfect to me!

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    1. Hi Donna, it is interesting that we live in very different environments and have similar interests. Also, like me, you seem to create your own version of happiness and contentment. Yes, we are very happy about Morgan’s decision to plan a wedding that suits the two of them perfectly.

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  14. You almost describe my life in this post, Suzanne! More is an awesome WOTY and sharpening your focus to healthy living is worth every effort. A wedding on the horizon is such a blessing. Enjoy your new home, it sounds amazing.

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  15. I will definitely be following along on the positives and negatives of that type of community. It is one we have considered for our future. We’re not there yet… I love my gardening and our space too much to be thinking of a move now, but someday we might need that condo/apartment type of living. You are an inspiration on biking as well…. I really need to think about more biking in my life.

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  16. Hi Pat, we thought about it for a while before committing to a one-year lease. But, there really weren’t a lot of options available in our town. Knowing that it is temporary has helped us relax and go with the flow. We already know that we are not ready for a long-term commitment to this type of community.

    I think it is so much easier to ride the bike for 8 miles than to walk for 2 in this heat. The benefit is probably about the same in terms of calories burned.

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  17. Sounds like your settling in nicely. Your bike rides sure bring you to beautiful places. I love the photos of the pottery. Congratulations on your daughters upcoming elopement. How fun. I enjoyed your update! I wanted to say I also really love how you did the whole “blogs I follow” on the side bar. Sometimes I consider switching out of blogger because while it’s easy, sometimes it doesn’t allow for much creativity (or maybe it does but I’m to set in my routine and ways to take time to learn something new), anyways it really caught my eye.

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    1. Hi Kirstin, I was originally on Blogger, but in my opinion, WP offers features that inspire personalization and creativity. I played with it for a few months before shutting down the old blog and taking this one live. The learning curve wasn’t that great as most of the functions are intuitive. I only had two years invested in the other one, so I didn’t even try to transfer the content. Since then, there have been many changes, some good, some confusing, but all supported by the WP team.

      Displaying blogs is an option I love, as it gives my readers a chance to visit people I find interesting with just one click.

      Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comments.

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  18. Christie Hawkes

    This post makes me happy…and made me crave an iced latte with a blueberry muffin! Congratulations on the upcoming wedding. A vineyard in Italy sounds like the perfect elopement venue. And I love the “free weeds” sign. I’ve joked with my husband that when people want to stay in our Southern Utah home, we should ask them to pull a couple of weeds as rent!

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      1. Christie Hawkes

        Sunshine and beaches sound delightful. I would certainly consider swapping homes with you for vacation. I wouldn’t even make you do any yard work!

        Liked by 1 person

  19. So much in here to smile about. Firstly, wow to your daughter’s wedding! How great will that be? As for cutting the indulgences – you’d see from my Queenstown post that that hasn’t been top of mind for me of late but really needs to be.

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  20. You have made so many adjustments, yet you seem very calm and collected. And now getting to be the mother of the bride – what a beautiful daughter you have. Life is full and wonderful, isn’t it? I laughed at the pick your own weeds sign. Have a great weekend – what’s left of it. 🙂

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  21. I like how you bring up the slippery nature of fulfillment and how it weaves in and out of our lives. I feel like I’ve been going through a fair amount of road bumps and I feel like I am expected to adjust all the time. Just when I am about to find my groove, it feels like a bowling ball crashed my pins and I got to re-arrange again shortly after.

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    1. Julie, you have summed up life pretty accurately – like a bowling ball crashing my pins! The good news is that we can reset those pins and carry on. It’s when we start to have more bad days than good ones that we really need to question what the heck is going on. Take care and thanks for visiting.

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