You’re from California? Whatever brought you here?
There is a strong, almost shocking inflection in these questions…obviously, a good deal of curiosity as well. Why would a couple choose to leave the west coast and plant roots in this Midwestern soil?
A trail of unspoken questions end, once the listener realizes that we didn’t spend our days at the beach or hobnob with Hollywood stars on Rodeo Drive each week. Our story was a bland rendition of adventure: my job was moving and we like to eat. Setting out from the West and traveling East would stretch our buying power and offer us a future of quality living. The theory proved to be mostly true, at least for the first few years.
How do I share my memories without appearing nostalgic or slightly out of sync? I’m at a loss to communicate this to young ones who have nothing to compare. Some have never left home; Where did you go to high school is a measuring stick of belonging. Others have only seen movies of faraway places, or have traveled in once-in-a-lifetime fantasy cruises to tropical shores. Florida is a biggie for these Midwest natives, as are Mexico and a few Atlantic hot spots.
Normally, the time-worn foundations of tradition and family will keep the majority here throughout their adult lives. Sadly, many will torture themselves into a suffering stupor, wondering what might have been, and berating themselves for lacking the courage or foresight to take a chance and explore the greener grasses beyond.
Many of us most likely would never retire; why would we? Working is too familiar, too comfortable, and for all its inherent negatives, successfully keeps us too engaged to break open that diary of blank pages and pen our incomplete story … we aren’t that old! Not yet! Not as long as we can shop!
Our plans included retiring here in our new adopted state. There was plenty of time and I believed I still had a voice in the matter. Except the business world had now become a) more complex, b) often disingenuous, c) frequently exhausting, and d) all of the above. I lost my voice, but not before I discovered my heart strings had already taken hold beneath the topsoil…