It Takes a Community

Moving is easy, building a community is hard.

I say this, though I’ve really never truly moved as an adult, it seems easier to just rent homes all over the country without pretending to fit in somewhere new. In this way you won’t feel the sting of feeling like the outsider. Nor the pain of letting go to a home you’ve lived in for your entire adult life.
My home base is my community. I’m an insider here. We raised all three kids in this tony Boston suburb. I know everyone I need to know, including the mailman, the local State rep., the police chief and the local barber who gave each of my boys their first crew cuts. That and literally thousands of local residents who I know from my children, my neighborhood, temple, volunteer world, to name a few.
On my morning walk to the local coffee shop, I wave to my hair dresser, my husband’s trainer, our car mechanic, the neighbors who saw my kids grow up, and everyone in between. I know their cars before they wave, unless they’ve traded up to a Tesla. I feel like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, running through Bedford Falls announcing “Merry Christmas you wonderful old  Building and Loan” as I recognize every inch of my walk over 25 plus years, blanketing each phase of my life and the lives of our kids.
“Move to Boulder”, people often say, live near your 2 kids who moved away. “Stop your bellyaching about how you miss them and move there”. For one thing we have one son here in Boston. Why leave him when he is the one who stayed? He’s the loyal son, and as the eldest, most likely to take care of us.  But more prescient is the fact that this is my community. Friends don’t need to be replaced, they go where you go, as I’ve learned. If they are worth keeping they are worth keeping from any distance. But a community does not grow quickly, it takes years and years to build.  If I had two or three lives, I’d surely build a few communities, moving every 25 years. Time would work in my favor here.
I imagine as you grow very old, your community gets smaller which makes it easier to move closer to your kids who live far away. They, and your grandchildren, become your prime focus, especially after your spouse passes on and your closest  friends die off. Besides you won’t want to travel like you used to.
Sometimes after a few glasses of wine, or worse yet, a martini, I imagine the courage to do something out of character breaking through that comfort zone. What might that be? For me, it’s buy a home with my better half somewhere out West: Colorado or maybe even the warmer spots of Santa Barbara or San Diego. I’ve certainly had it with winter, in this one and only life.  But then I sober up and take my dog for a walk in my hood.

 

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No Choices

You think it’s easy staying home all day trying to cobble together a meaningful life?

Well It’s not.
Sometimes I fantasize about getting a powerful job in  NYC. I’d wear my high heel Manolo Blahnik pumps, expensive power suits and return home to a glass of expensive red wine , kick off my heels like Alicia Florrick in The Good Wife. I’d share my stressful day’s stories with my other half who will have prepared a delicious and healthy chicken and quinoa dinner to enjoy by candlelight.
That sounds so nice. Not choosing  what shall I do today because you’ll already know.
Or what shall I eat today because you most likely will skip a few meals.  Not thinking what exercise class shall I take, as you’re glued to your office chair. What latte size shall I order,  who shall I hang with, walk with, talk to, e-mail, Facebook. What a dream it would be to have no choices, know where I’m going and when I’m coming home. No choices sounds so nice.