Throughout our working years we (almost) always started our day with having breakfast together (eggs and toast for Rudy and coffee for me). And while at the table we would chat. Discuss the events of the previous day. I would ask Rudy “what’s your function” (for those who remember The Electric Company this was the ditty for a “conjunction”). What it meant for us was: what’s your agenda for the day? What’s on the roster? What time are we regrouping for dinner? Etc.
Now, however, it’s another story. The dynamics have been blown apart. No more packed lunch. No more commute. No more work. Now it’s all play.
Last April when our lives took a complete u-turn, we decided that we would pause and reflect for a year. Not engage in any community activities such as volunteering or poli-related. Not take on any work. Not commit to anything long term period. It would be a year of discovery and exploration. A year to evaluate our new purpose and passion.
So we were “fired” and downsized our residence all on the same day. April 30 2018.
Very quickly and efficiently we were able to do the paperwork: change address, car stuff, insurance stuff. Paper work without paper – hello digital world. The other more subtle changes were easy: join a fitness facility (we chose the Y); find a decent car mechanic; find pet services; find an NP; find a nail salon. All of the essentials. Easy stuff. Our temporary “function” was to re-set our lives in a new locale.
We started exploring our new community and getting into the local scene. It’s a really weird place since their are so many mature adults (seniors) and therefore a lot of action takes place earlier than usual. For example live entertainment often starts at 7 pm. We love it. The same group of adults are also mostly very active. So Rudy was able to join a hockey team and there’s tons of classes at the Y for me. The other thing we started to enjoy was the local breweries and wineries. Since we like to cook at home (there’s an abundance of markets and local food vendors) going to a local libation producer without food service means they’re often pet friendly. We like to bring Molly with us as much as possible plus she’s super social.
I also got a new bike. There are hiking/biking trails galore! We also have a kayak… the jury’s still out on that. So lots of active things to do. And much more time for our hobbies like reading and playing games.
But we decided to become snowbirds. No more harsh winters as long as possible. So we rented a place for January to March. We are south presently and leave in 29 days. Driving back to the north (hopefully it’s not great and white). I had a lot of reservations about spending 3 months away from home. The obvious ones: parents, dog related concerns. And the more nagging unknown elements: would we be completely bored??
I canvassed other seasoned snow birds about their experiences and in particular how you deal with boredom. Mostly I was told how great the shopping is with the abundance of flea markets and malls. I was told the dining options are great. I was told there’s lots to do. The shopping and eating scared me, frankly. We are much less consumer- oriented (I think that happens when you toss so much stuff in a move) and we love to cook so dining out us definitely the exception rather than the norm.
However I was pleasantly surprised. After the first week or two of “vacation brain” wore off and turned into “oh, wow, we live here”, the routine started to emerge. It was a modified repeat of what we had done st home only s few months ago. Finding new resources and suppliers. It all fell into place very quickly and smoothly. I joined a yoga studio. Rudy joined a gym. We found a fabulous biking trail. Nails. Check. Car wash. Check. Food vendors. Check. Our gem of a find was our pickle ball group. We wanted to play at home but the reception we got at the Y was less than welcoming. In fact, we got the cold shoulder. We were newbies and they were a clique.
Not so in Auburndale. We were warmly welcomed and they even coached us along. We play two days a week for about 2.5 hours. We love it and plan to carry on at home. Look out clique people: we aren’t newbies anymore!! The camaraderie has been exceptional. Every Tuesday and Thursday between 40 and 80 players ranging in age from 50-ish to 80-ish turn out to play at varying levels all for fun. You are encouraged to get a name tag which helps to communicate personally. And everyone is friendly and helpful and encouraging. Really the gem of our snowbird experience.
Essentially we have duplicated our northern life. Minus the weather.
So our function typically includes a routine of breakfast, dog walk (depending on the temperature we go longer or shorter), fitness activity (golf, yoga, pickle ball, biking) home for lunch or a pit stop en route, clean up and lounge (swim, shower) another dog walk, dinner and then an evening activity (sporting event, music, Netflix or, like tonight, a skinny dip then tunes and wine under the stars on our patio.
We’ve settled in. We are snowbirds. See you next year.