“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” — John F. Kennedy
In 1977 my husband and I were new parents, living in a tiny house in pricey San Juan Capistrano and looking ahead to the future we hoped to build for our baby daughter and ourselves. We not only considered the cost of living, but also the lifestyle and community we wanted for our new family. Like our German, Irish, and Swedish ancestors, we took a risk and moved away from home and toward that future. Luckily, Carson City provided us with satisfying careers in an affordable small town with good schools and easy access to some of our favorite camping spots. We are grateful.
Fast-forward to 2015. We’re in our 60s now. Once again we look to our future. Should we stay in that big house on three levels on a huge, sloping lot? Did we want to spend all our time and energy cleaning and maintaining it? No, sooner or later we knew we’d have to move. With that in mind, we spent much of this year clearing out and getting the house ready to sell. We weren’t yet sure where we would land, but trusted the answer would come in time.
Some of you know for more than a decade our two happy, healthy, very independent daughters and their families have lived at least a thousand miles away. While we’d love to be closer to them, we weren’t willing to move across the country. We like the West. We like Northern Nevada. Consequently, when our younger daughter announced she and her family would be moving to Reno, we were delighted. Certainly we could live in Carson City and be closer than we had been in years, but should we consider Reno? We conducted an experiment. While our house was on the market, we rented an apartment and moved to Northwest Reno, near our daughter. We learned a lot.
We learned we aren’t yet ready for an apartment or condo. Our diverse interests and hobbies — not to mention our need for solitude — require space. However, we do like the convenience of neighborhood services, many within walking distance. Shops. Restaurants. The library. And so many walking paths!
Since July we’ve shared weekly family dinners and picked up our kindergarten granddaughter from school. I’ve volunteered in her classroom, helping her brand new teacher and her classmates. Color me happy.
Therefore, when we found a large-enough house nearby with no stairs, space for what remained of our “material wealth,” and a shady, low-maintenance yard, we knew that was the sign we’d been waiting for. Escrows on our old and new houses closed within days of each other.
Yes, my address has changed, but not my core values. Or my hairdresser. My values have shaped and guided every decision, including this one. Love. Family. Learning. Gratitude. Hope. And kindness, always.
You see, each time a dear friend or relative passes, my granddaughter demonstrates a new skill, or I look in the mirror, I must acknowledge nothing ever stays the same. Unless I take a risk now and then, unless I keep learning, I’ll be left behind.
We must all face life’s inevitable changes and challenges. Nonetheless, we can still smile and hold our loved ones close. We can still be kind, and hopeful and — maybe — just a little bit brave.
Lorie Schaefer is retired. After 16 years of contributing regularly to this space, she feels it is time to move on to other interests and writing projects. This is her final column.
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