Retirement Decisions: Urban versus Rural

Four years after our move to rural southern Colorado, I am remembering the difficulties I had making the final decision to give up city life for good. Here’s a piece I wrote five months after moving to Walsenburg and beginning construction on our new solar home:

Urban versus Rural: Decision Made!  November 23, 2014

My husband Mike and I have been in the process of transition into retirement in the past year.

320 w. 2nd St. Walsenburg July 2014

After five months living down south in a small rental in a very small town, we decided to go up north to visit family and friends this week.

What an eye-opening experience! I was absolutely SHOCKED to have this timely reminder of what life in the city feels like, and what it does to human beings.

Since we only have two stop lights in our entire new county, I had forgotten what it feels like to sit in traffic constantly. I experienced total culture shock, and Fort Collins felt like a foreign country to me.

I saw people everywhere waiting for something, a place to park, a place to sit in a restaurant, a chance to go through the next stop light, an opportunity to pay for their purchase. There was terrible traffic going through Denver in the middle of the day, constant noise, obvious air pollution we could even taste sometimes.

Do people really choose to live like this? I found city life so anxiety-producing and over-stimulating.

great Mike photo of snow and Spanish Peaks

It felt like such a relief to finally get back to tiny Walsenburg. The good news is I now know for certain that a city could never be my forever home. There is no doubt in my mind, I am so done with city life!

This essay and many more can be found in my Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Southern Colorado.

Life in a very small town: La Veta Colorado

View of La Veta valley from highway

Entering La Veta Valley, September 30, 2014

I loved yesterday! It started out like so many of my great days… badly! Mike has been very ill so we had to cancel our anniversary trip. I was disappointed and a bit grumpy, but I had promised to go into La Veta to meet a new friend who only comes through occasionally, so I drove into town. We met at Mountain Head Pizza. There I had some tasty pizza, along with a great time talking and laughing about “family problems” with my friend. It turns out my new friend has a wry sense of humor and, guess what? Everybody has family problems… who knew? On the way out the door I ran into another new friend.

Then we took a walk around tiny town for a few errands.

La Veta Public Library

La Veta has the best public library! If they don’t have a movie, they get it for you from their extensive network of other small public libraries. That’s how I keep current on my movies. It’s free and I get to watch them in the comfort of my own home.

memoir of retirement 2016Speaking of libraries, I met my new friend when I was at a Christmas festival in La Veta last December, selling my new book. She came up and we started talking and before I knew it she bought a copy. Now whenever she comes down here, she looks me up. I love the person-to-person contact that comes from selling my books one-on-one to new friends, instead of through the “evil empire” Amazon. For one thing, it is so much more friendly and personal. And another, Amazon doesn’t take half of my profit! We have even had these new friends up to our solar home to show off our incredible views. I guess I’m trying to get them to think about moving here….

My new friend and her husband enjoyed my new memoir so much, they wanted to buy my other books, so we walked over to my car to get them. As luck would have it, there were two ladies sitting on a bench near us when I opened up the back of my Forester. They giggled and looked at us, so I said, “No, I’m not dealing drugs out of my car. It’s even better! I’m selling my ‘feel good’ books!” We got to talking to them about books, love and dating (because of my love book), and life in La Veta. They said it’s tough meeting good men here. The good ones are married. One older gentleman walked by, overheard us, and I think he was about to join in to disagree! They asked me to bring more of my books into town. They wanted to buy a few.

Octoberfest in La Veta and West Peak

I said goodbye to my new friend until she comes down here again, maybe for Octoberfest. That’s when they close down Main Street and everybody parties together. This will be our fifth one!

Next I went to see another friend I met through my exercise class. Such good people in La Veta, and it’s amazing how quickly you can recognize so many on Main Street. Sometimes you may be talking about someone and they will walk right by!

So glad I chose this quiet, slow and friendly lifestyle for my forever home & retirement.

To learn more about how we ended up here, living in a solar home in the Colorado outback, check out: A Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Solar in Southern Colorado…  

Also, please follow me on Twitter!

After the Snow, Lovely Sunshine!

It snowed all day yesterday. It was so peaceful and beautiful…

IMGP4550And then this morning I woke up to the prettiest winter morning I could ever imagine… granted it is 3 degrees outside, but it is truly glorious!

IMGP4559The mountains in the distance are, of course, stunning from our front windows, but what thrills me the most is the sparkles in the newly fallen snow…

IMGP4562so hard to capture, and yet exactly like someone threw small diamonds all over the ground.

And here is an early morning photo of the tidy little valley below us…

IMGP4556just as the sun comes up to make our new day the best ever!

Click on photos for full-size views, and follow us on TWITTER!

I am filled with gratitude that I can now live like this forever.  Please go learn more about our move from Fort Collins to here in my new memoir!

 

Blogging Boomers Winter Solstice Edition!

IMGP4456Are you ready for the shortest day of the year? This is it! We’ll get barely nine hours of sun today, and that matters in a solar home! But I LOVE the idea of the light returning soon to bring us another glorious spring!

Today I present to you a few GREAT bloggers who wish to share with you their thoughts around this holiday time.

christmas treeTom Sightings presents for you a A Christmas Miracle, set under the tree, that might just make you believe in the goodness of the world, fate, destiny, or kismet.                         If not, have a cup of hot cider; and that might bring you a stroke or two of luck. Happy holidays to all!

Meryl Baer of Six Decades and Counting just returned home following a two week adventure in Norway, land of the midnight sun – except in winter, when darkness reigns. She is thrilled to Return to Sunlight.  

books for christmasThis week Linda and her husband Art volunteered at the Salvation Army Toy Drive, where they served the parents of 4,500 children in the Tucson area! Volunteers for a fabulous day! What FUN!              Keep those kids reading books!

 

On The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide, Rita R. Robison, writes about how satisfied customers of credit unions, online banks , and smaller banks are with their banking experience, in comparison to those who do business with one of the nation’s four largest banks. Go see this survey. Would you like to switch financial institutions?

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And me? I haven’t been busy at all, unless you consider weather watching demanding. I enjoy spending time with old and new friends, and thoughts of the winter solstice much more than that whole crazy Christmas scene. And I can assure you, rural living has no noise, traffic, crowds, etc.

Just right for enjoying the sweetness of doing nothing and the challenges of living in the present.

However you enjoy this winter break, please enjoy it thoroughly! 

After the fog clears in southern Colorado!

“The sun poured in like butterscotch and stuck to all my senses. Won’t you stay, we’ll put on a day, and we’ll talk in present tenses…” — Joni Mitchell

Yes, I know I’ve been talking about snow and fog quite a lot here, but the best part is after the storm lifts. The views are incredible from every room in our house!

IMGP4474This was the view from my bed this morning when I opened my eyes. Not a bad scene to wake up to, eh?


IMGP4475And the full view looked like this!

Even better than that is the wonderful sun pouring in to warm our home into the 70s within an hour or two. Natural solar heating is the best, and you can’t beat the price!

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I have become the total sun worshipper living here. Where would we all be without it? I love to lay on my bed and simply soak it all in!

Living in this place is a great help to focus my mind on the present moment. To hell with all that stuff from the past or worries about my unknowable future. I challenge myself moment to moment to be present with where I am right now. What a blessing that can be!

Snowed in for days and loving it!

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“There is only one success, to spend your life in your own way.”                                           — Christopher Morley

This is our first glimpse of the sun in a few days…

Since our foot of snow on Thanksgiving night, we have been entertaining ourselves quite well. In fact we have been totally fogged in for a few days.

IMGP4461But how can we be bored with fun photos to take, a good book to read, Netflix and lots of snow to shovel?

Not to mention one of my favorite new pastimes, coloring! I am presently coloring mandalas, which  represent a microcosm of the universe.

IMGP4406Did you know Carl Jung used to have his patients color mandalas to help them access their subconscious? It works! When I’m coloring I completely stop worry shopping, and focus on my bright future:
IMGP4453Love what interacting with so many colors is doing for me. It sets my underdeveloped artist free! Everyone go try this! It’s wonderfully relaxing.

We have also been slowly getting out our Christmas decorations. This is exciting because last year everything was packed away. 

Yes, we are finally home for good!

IMGP4450Our pets are very slowly getting used to each other, kind of…

Rasta’s still mad about that evil intruder Charlie. We joke about Rasta’s favorite present being the disappearance of said CAT!

The marvelous SUN came out this morning. It is glorious! I am a total sun worshipper! So now we are ready for some quiet holidays, watching our pets growl and chase each other around the Christmas tree…

IMGP4471Did I mention? The views are incredible up here, especially after a great big snow storm! We get a 180 degree view of the Sangres!

And BTW, I will be writing soon about that wonderful new book I’m reading…please stay tuned!