Archive for May, 2010

For several years now, I’ve had the pleasure of managing a wonderful online writing group called The Writing Bridge. Every month, we post a poetry challenge. Compared to many on the site, my poetry skills are mediocre at best, but we were low on entries, so I decided to write something on the one topic that occupies my mind right now: my hopes for our future. As it turns out, composing the poem couldn’t have been more timely. That future begins today.

“A Verandah View.”

A verandah wraps around
the tiny place we’ll someday call home.
From it, we’ll watch the seasons pass.
Beside its rail, tulips and golden forsythia
will herald spring.
Fat peonies will hang low,
colonies of ants opening the petals wide.
And daisies. There will be daisies.

On warm mornings, we’ll drink coffee
on a verandah swing.
We’ll count chickadees,
and shoo away greedy blue jays
monopolizing the feeder.
We’ll pass the local newspaper between us
and plan our day.
Weight of worry lifted, we’ll be light as air,
free to write, to paint, to imagine.

On afternoons, we’ll walk by store windows
displaying local wares: crafts and art and homemade soap;
vegetables and fruit from the farmers’ fields.
The smell of fresh bread will lure us
to the village bakery; caving to temptation,
we’ll choose cinnamon buns or rhubarb pie
cooling in the window.

We’ll linger there with others,
laugh and philosophize
over the decadence of our favourite pastries;
the best places to travel; the latest production of
the local theatre group.

The importance of

And in the evening, when dinner and dishes are done,
and we grow tired,
we’ll return to our verandah and
the gentle rhythm of the swing.
Chickadees gone, we’ll count shooting stars instead,
relax to the songbirds’ lullaby and
think the same thought each night:
“Aging is inevitable. To grow wiser,
we needed a verandah view.”

Spring has made a huge impact on the real estate market where we live. Suddenly this weekend, potential buyers descended upon us in record numbers. Yesterday, an offer came in. After three hours of negotiations, the deal was complete. While conditional on the sale of their home, it still carried an emotional impact. Suddenly, all of this is very real.

After months of trying to sell our home, actually signing the acceptance was surreal. The respective agents shook my hand in congratulations, but I felt no sense of happiness. We met the young couple who would soon call our home of twenty-four years theirs, and were surprised to learn we already knew them (sworn to secrecy on this for a while but more will be revealed later). I couldn’t help but be happy for them and their obvious excitement.

They left, and then it hit me. I bawled my eyes out.

Change is always a challenge, but it’s particularly difficult when it’s under duress – not so much a real choice, but something crucial to your future. In our case, there isn’t a whole lot of time left to improve our financial footing for our retirement years.

What’s amazing, though, is that once you step out of your comfort zone, the choices available to you seem endless. Where do you go? Do you rent or buy? Buy something temporary, with an eye to a retirement move, or buy something you will want to live in forever? What about house-sitting? A small piece of land up north with a plan to build later on? A fixer-upper?

Having our roots ripped from the ground is a huge adjustment, but maybe, just maybe, it will allow us to feel more adventurous, less encumbered. Free of preconcieved notions about our future, we may end up re-inventing ourselves in the process. And if we’re lucky, maybe someday there will be the perfect little home with a verandah view.


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