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I took a deep breath when my husband said, “I’m retiring, and we’re going to sell our home.” I’m not a good one for change, as most of you lovely readers know. I hang on to the bitter end sometimes. Most of the time, it has served me well.

But the reality of our aging bodies, and the toll working on the huge house and many acres of garden and land has come to greet me at last. My fantasy world will not give up on this dream of living here, so I’ll be able to take some of it with me forever. Not to worry. But the real world has tapped me on the shoulder and told me, “It’s time.”

Living Room
The room is huge without my old furniture, but that’s the idea! Globe needs to be hung over dining table. Carpets are being cleaned. Windows to wash.

We can embrace change in any number of ways. I like to say Change (or circumstance) doesn’t make a person, it reveals a person. I’m wanting to kick that particular “ism” all around the bedroom, get it to get dirty with the dust bunnies hiding under my bed. But all that does is mask the knowledge that I have to make lists, and I have to pack from now to oblivion, it seems.

But I’ve done it! It doesn’t matter how many times I think about my husband’s decision, it won’t help me get into action. I can ruminate about it all after we’re done. Right now, we’re in purge, staging and beautifying mode. I’m learning to revel in that, and what a surprise, it’s not so bad! I have new lawn, new planting boxes. Part of the strategy is protecting and packing away a lot of me in this house, and revealing a lot more about the house, the structure, the land and the gardens. So, in a way, all my lovelies are safely stored, all my personal things I prize are gone and hidden away. All they are going to see are a few selective things that might elicit a smile or warm feeling about the home and the lovely grounds on which it sits.

Lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers like their new home.

Part of my consternation was, “Where are we going to go?” I’m looking at lots of places. Franklin, Tennessee, is top of my list, mainly because I could create a nice lifestyle there with a quarter of the funds. But my heart has grown to feel at home there now that I’ve visited it, and visited Tennessee several times. I have lots of writer friends and other dear friends in the area, and nearby.

But staying in California is also an option, or moving East nearer to our other son. There’s the beach in Florida calling me, perhaps North Carolina or Virginia. My husband likes Oregon so he can be close to his brother. I’d like to do all of it, but it all depends on what we get for the property.

Adding more flowers to accentuate the rock walls and the built-in bench

Just like so many things in our lives, it is up to someone else. As much as we plan and strategize, the truth is that a new buyer we accept will determine where and how we live in the future. I’ve always been lucky with decisions we’ve made. I can write anywhere. But finding a place I will love living in is most important. Being close to my children and grandchildren is also important. I’ve cast those nets out into the universe, and something will happen that will allow me to do most of what I want.

Flower Boats
Indian flower boats bookshelves waiting for a new home – a random whimsey

So, it’s interesting how I’m coping with the change. I’m getting up, checking my lists, putting on my work clothes, planting flowers in the garden like I’ll be here for years to enjoy them come up year after year. Planting vegetables perhaps that will be edible after we move. It doesn’t matter, does it? None of us know how long we’ll be anywhere in life. As my son said recently in the most beautiful letter I’ve received from any of my children, “Mom, in your case, if life gave you lemons, you’d make lemon meringue pie!” That’s what I’m going to think about.

I haven’t been writing for a month. And, for the first time, I’m not sure what I feel like writing next. But I know a good book is in me, waiting to be born. Another love story, that will help heal the little wounds that sometimes come up.

Until then, I’m enjoying the treasures of looking at things I possess I haven’t looked at in a long time. I found some baby teeth. Someone’s awful wisdom teeth! Found a piece of pottery my daughter made in kindergarten. Found a Parchessi board I had written on when I was about five. We all do that, don’t we? Save things for our future selves to enjoy, right? And that has made the packing and path toward this major relocation all the more sparkly. Not the shininess of my tears!

Now’s your turn. Where is your favorite place to live if you could live anywhere, and why? I’d love to hear it!



This Post Has 39 Comments

  1. Where would I like to move? Anywhere out of the 305 and 954 area. I’ve had it with the over crowded areas, traffic and rudeness in people. But until my son leaves to the Navy I can’t do anything ?. Sharon the good thing about packing to move is that you go back in time, a beautiful time. My opinion. Lots of love from your MIA friend from Miami. ????

    1. Oh, Ivonne! LOL on the MIA. You’re not…You are so right. We can go back in time anytime and thank goodness for that. Love seeing you!

  2. Hi Sharon wishing you all the best on your move. We sold my mothers house in the beginning of the year. My poor sister made so many trips to the dump with stuff she’d hoarded for years and never used. But, we all got to have precious pieces to remind us of her daily. I’m glad your treasures will be safe. Enjoy your new home wherever it may be. Like you said we not know what’s in store for us.

    1. We had to do that when my grandmother passed. I remember it well. All the lovely things she wouldn’t part with. I’ve had a chance to purge the things I know I shouldn’t keep, but say good-bye to them properly, as they deserve.

      It’s been a journey, and I have to say, so far, a good one. Another adventure.

  3. Life is a struggle.i learned just when you think things are going good something happens. Lost my job after 22 years. Health is failing. I just want to live in a safe quiet place that I can enjoy the outdoors and where I can see as much as I can with my children/grand children. I love the beach but also the mountains. But most of all I love my family and my friends. And we never know what will happen next or where we may be.

    1. I so understand that, Pamela. It would be far different if something tragic had happened to force this move. And that’s a good reminder to me. Thank you. Hugs and what you treasure is truly worth all the glory. Glad you showed up today…

  4. Sharon! You’ll be fine wherever you go. Your son was right. You’ll find a place where you can put down more roots, and be happy. I’m glad you can enjoy this part of making your home look beautiful for one last time. And I know the new book is germinating. Good luck with all of it!!!

    1. Carly, what a treat to hear from you today! Really made my afternoon. Yes, I’m looking at this as a blessing. Thank goodness I’m not doing it from the place of grief or stress. Change is always hard, but it forces us to grow, doesn’t it? Thank you, my friend…All the same blessings to you too.

  5. Sharon,

    I’m in the same sort of situation as you are. I just retired on 12 May and hubby will retire next year, probably in March. Our grown son lives in NC, and our grown daughter lives in SC. We used to live in SC, so that’s where we are headed. The cost of living is so easy on the pocketbook and should allow us to live the life to the fullest. Our biggest concern is the weather. Although we’ve lived in the humidity before, it’s hard to give up our beautiful summer weather here in Northern Cali. But, I have a plan for that! When it becomes so unbearable that we need a break, we’ll head for the mountains, or lake, or even another state. I hope you find your happy place. It’s not easy moving. I’ve only been here for 13 years, but I did bring all of my possessions with me when we moved here, and we’ve been married 43 years!

    1. I understand, Debbie! Exactly! Loved hearing about all these places people find. We tend to think everything is best in California – NOT! It has been a wonderful place to live, and raise children. But time has a way of making changes, and so far I’m embracing them. I hope you get your dream some day too. Of course, if I won the lottery, well….

  6. Hi Sharon,

    Yes, those items that we have packed away for another day… I traveled down this path 9 years ago. I was ready for change. I loved where I lived in Gardendale but it was time for a change. My son was living with his dad and I didn’t get to see him much. I didn’t have any family in the area but I really had some nice neighbors that I could count on and vice versa. But I was ready to move closer to my 3 sisters and mom. So I sold my home rather quickly after it had been on the market for quite while. One Saturday morning we have my stuff packed up out of home, moved to storage what needed to be moved there and set my room up at my sister Jennifer’s home. I stay with her and her family for 3 months. I then started looking for my forever home. I wanted a 1 level, small yard, and hopefully a garage–a garden home would do nicely for me. I got my wish with a foreclosure that needed quite a bit of TLC (the price was right). It’s a 4 bedroom/2 bath, 2 car garage, and small yard that I’ve made my own. I live 5 – 7 minutes from my mom and 3 sisters. I no longer have to drive the interstate to get to work. I live in McCalla, Alabama, where the malls are 10 minutes away and the farms with cows, goats, horses, chickens and other farms animals are 2 minutes away. I am blessed.

    I wish you well with your packing, staging of your home, selling and the very best for your future home.

    1. Your story brings me hope! Thanks so much for sharing. I love how everyone finds where they need to be. It’s a journey, but then, so is life. I’ve never been once who’s afraid of the adventure! Thank you for sharing.

  7. Sharon,
    My husband retired from the Marine Corps in 2012 and the hardest thing for both of us was NOT moving. It was a surprising discovery for me because I thought I needed him to retire so we could be in one place. 27 years of seeing new places and starting over is now just fading memories and we seem to be collecting much more unnecessary things now that we are rooted. I keep telling my husband I would like to sell our house and move, lol. I guess it is all about perspective.
    I hope you have a grand moving adventure and find your new dream home.

    1. Kelly, I do understand. How we manage to collect stuff, right? Hard to let go. I’ve just been purging some, but mostly packing. I’ll purge when I know what I have to pare down to. I’m so happy you didn’t move. Good for you!

  8. We love Arkansas and never gave any thought to leaving it. However, we have always (well whole time as a couple – even before married so around 36 years) in the southwestern part of the state. We stayed in that general area on the most part due to my parents. After Dad died, Mom had a pretty bad bout of cancer and after that surgery Alzheimer reared its ugly head. Mom ended up coming to live with us and for the last five years we were 24-7 full time caregivers. I have no regrets and lots of precious memories knowing we fulfilled a promise to never place either parent in a nursing home.

    After Mom died and the grieving process, we both knew we wanted to live some place else. We have visited often and loved Mountain View in the north central part of the state. After all, it’s the Folk Music Capital of the World. Although the population is less than 3,000, there is ALWAYS something to do or see. Music abounds every where! For as little as $75 we have full access to the Ozark Folk Center park grounds and can see 3 concerts weekly for ALL year. There are tons of festivals from the Iris Festival we just had to the BeanFest in October. There is always picking on the courthouse square and in picking park. And that is just a few of things to do. So once the decision was made it was up to taking that first step.

    We made several trips up searching for just the right piece of property. The idea was to downsize and build new so that by the time repairs or replacements were necessary, we would be too old to care and someone else could do it. We found a plot of ground right outside the city with a bit over 7 acres. More land but less to maintain since most of it is in woods and mountain. It had been placed on the historical register due to a large stone wall from the war era going across the front and back of the property. To top it off, there were two huge stone fireplaces from the original home that we loved. It’s on a main highway so no gravel roads to contend with but off the road enough that it’s peaceful. We are only 2 miles from the hospital and less than 5 miles to everything.

    We were fortunate enough to find a young Mennonite builder who could see our vision and turned over the building of the house to him. Meanwhile we had to go back and sell our home and get rid of a bunch of STUFF. It’s amazing how much you can accumulate that you even forgot you had much less having inherited my folks stuff and through them my grandparent’s stuff. Ourselves we “collected” and hadn’t moved in 24 years. Talk about a major undertaking. On top of that, I have health issues so instead of waiting the last minute, I started immediately going through boxing what was going and disposing of the rest either selling, giving away or tossing. If it didn’t have significant emotional ties to one of us, it went. I wasn’t keeping anything just because it belonged to someone out of some sort of obligation

    Thankfully, once we listed the old house, it sold fast. We had waited to list (although risky move) because there was no way I could move twice so we waiting until we had a move in date for the new house. The only way to get through the move was to keep my eye on the goal and work slow and steady.

    At almost a year from the time we bought the property, we were moving in. BEST decision we ever made. We love it here! Although there were times in moving that I sure had my doubts and so did my body.

    Honestly, it was very liberating to downsize both in size of house and yard to maintain and getting rid of all the STUFF. We now live where we have always dreamed about, in a home we drew up the plans for and put in it what we wanted and how we wanted, and what was moved in is what we really use or treasure.

    My advice to anyone thinking about doing such as we did is to research all your options, make sure it’s what you really want to do, and then get started working slow and steady. Although it may seem overwhelming at times, keep your eye on the prize because when it’s all done you will be thrilled you did it. Pray you had as good fortune as we did – the best of luck to you!

    1. Such wonderful advice here! Thank you so much. Really touched me to read your comment. It is undaunting, launching into the unknown, but a part of me knows our outcome will be the same as yours. As any good decision goes, doing the right amount of research is important. Love what you did, and thanks for your prayers. It will come. I do have faith.

      Once again, thanks for your heartfelt comment. Really means a lot to me.

  9. The coast of Oregon. I drove the PCH last August, and began researching real estate as soon as I returned home. Nothing is more beautiful.

    1. I love the coast of Oregon. I went to school in Portland and do love Oregon. Supposed to be a healthy part of the country to live in, too.

      Thanks for your wonderful suggestion. It will be one place we research more thoroughly!

  10. Hi Sharon ~~ from the looks of your property, both inside and out, I don’t think you’ll have any problem getting a good price. It’s a beautiful place and I’d hate to leave it. But I do know what you mean about all the upkeep on a place that size. Did you say you’re in California? From what I hear/see on the news, the R/E market there is unbelievable. Hope it’s unbelievable in your favor.

    I would live exactly where I am. On a dirt road, out in the country in the middle of 10 ac. I have neighbors, but they’re not right next door so I only see them if I want to see them. My husband and I built this house in 2002 and I can not imagine living anywhere else.

    Sometimes I think I’d like to live in the mountains of Wyoming/Colorado/or somewhere like that. Then again, I think I might like to live in a year-round warmer climate like Florida (afraid of hurricanes), or Hawaii (they have volcano problems) or maybe even Vegas (I do love to gamble). But in all honesty, here in deep East Texas with my husband of 48 years is exactly where I’m meant to be.

    Good luck with your move. Hope you find the perfect spot.

    1. Yes, we’re in Wine Country, north of San Francisco an hour (depending on the day and time). I hope you’re right. We’re not going to sell out cheap, either! This is my last chance to cash out. I don’t want to do this again! Thanks for the good wishes. We can use them!

  11. We are from the Northeast, have lived in several states there, and then coast to coast to almost-coast. My favorite place that we’ve lived is still No.Cal. however it is far too expensive to live there, let alone retire there. But it is where I’ve felt the most alive, for lack of a better term, but until we find somewhere calling to us, we will stay here in the desert.

    Best of luck with your move! Wishing you only the best.

    1. I understand about feeling alive. I’m a 3rd generation Northern Californian. But things have changed here. California is not the state it was when I grew up and I don’t see it headed in the right direction. I’ve felt sort of isolated, in a way, being so far away, and although beautiful, I’m ready to explore the rest of this beautiful country! Thanks for your well wishes.

  12. Even though I’ve always wanted to live at the beach along the Florida panhandle, I guess I’m happy where I’m at. I live in the Huntsville AL area. We are at the base of the Smokey Mountains so we enjoy soft rolling hills. The humidity can get you, but it’s only two hours to Franklin and Nashville TN and a couple more hours to cool mountains of TN or N.C.. Or you can go south 6 hours and you are on the sunny White sands of the Gulf of Mexico.
    So I’ll stay here. I hope you and your husband find your “happy” place.
    P.S. There is a Heart of Dixie Romance Writers group in Huntsville. I’ve attended their yearly luncheon and charity event. Good Luck❣️

    1. Oh, that Heart of Dixie group sounds wonderful! So many of my fans are from your area. It will be nice to be closer to them. Thanks for the suggestion, and so happy for you. Beautiful country, for sure.

  13. I already live in my dream location. Close to a beach, not far from “city” things, yet full of wildlife and “country” things. My slice of heaven is here on the MS Gulf Coast.

    1. Sounds like you found your little piece of Heaven too. That’s wonderful. We’ll find it, I’m sure…

  14. That is quite a change! WOW your work is cut out for you, I am sure. The positive thing about moving is that one can go thru all those things that were put aside for a later date inspection. I would love to be closer to mountains, I miss them and have a small garden, I miss that too. Many blessings and wishing you an easy transition. HUGS

    1. Eniko, great to hear from you! Yes, this is quite a change for us. But, it’s needed. I have trust and faith that it all will work out. My life has really been a fairy tale. I have no reason to believe it would ever change.

      Still, change is hard and I do hang on so long to things. But I’m ready for the new adventure! Loved hearing from you today. Take care and hugs right back!

  15. Come to Florida Sharon. You’d love my town of Gulf Breeze or a sleepy beach town called Mexico Beach, Fl

  16. I would move to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We have spent Christmas there for ten years. It would be wonderful to be there for all seasons. I love the mountains.

    1. Okay, I will add this to the areas we want to visit. Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve heard great things about it!

  17. In my life I moved around a lot, have lived in a lot of interesting places and visited many others. Started in Illinois to Michigan to Washington State to Nevada, back to Washington to Nebraska, to California, back to Washington State then back to Nebraska. And you know what. I found HOME. Its Nebraska. The rest of my family think I have totally lost it. But to me its HOME. I have a sister here also. Others in my family have found their “HOME” in places I can only say “really?” but to them its HOME. When you find it you know it.

    I know you will make wherever you land HOME. If not in the heart (like mine) but where you will “make lemon meringue pie”. Be happy wherever you land! The book will emerge, I have no doubt of that, and I will be happy for you (and us, your readers).

    1. I have roots in Nebraska. My father’s family settled there when they first came over from Denmark at the turn of the century. My great-grandfather’s church is in a little museum in Minden (or we think it is, at least). I’ve been back there and love Nebraska. Beautiful country, and the heart of the country. No wonder you call it home!

  18. My kid’s are in MA, my boyfriend’s daughter in CT. Both are parent’s, his sister & brother are in FL. We just bought and RV and are living in it and loving it. Still purging. Then we hit the road in the fall for our trip to FL, then back for kids in summer. Good luck selling the house and finding the right stat for you both

    1. Exactly our plan, Elaine. We’ve begun looking into tiny houses, or remodeling a vintage bus. Won’t be anything like the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, but our modern version, as grandparents, upstanding citizens with a wanderlust. Glad to see you are enjoying it. I think we could caravan!! LOL.

  19. I have lived in Oklahoma, Colorado and Texas (my home state). When I lived elsewhere, I couldn’t wait to get back to Texas. Once a Texan always a Texan. You can take the girl out of Texas but you can’t take Texas out of the girl. And last but not least, Don’t Mess with Texas.

    When I moved back to Texas from Colorado, I was thrilled to be able to move back into the house I grew up in. Now that I am close to retirement, I want to move closer to my daughter and her family. I have missed much of my grandchildren growing up and I don’t want to miss any more.

    There are beautiful places around the world. I’m sure you will find the perfect place to call home.

    PS: Texas has wineries too in the Texas Hill Country just west of Austin (another romance author mecca).

    1. I’m sure I’ll find “home” again. If not, in my own mind! I hear that a lot about Texas. California isn’t anything like the state I grew up in. I miss that California. But I’m glad I got to raise my kids there.

  20. You might consider adding Kansas to your list. I have a 5 ac property with house for sale on the outskirts of Clay Center, KS. It’s 40 minutes to airport in Manhattan, KS with connections to DFW and Chicago O’hare. 2.5 hours to Kansas City. 8 Hours to Dallas. The neighbors are wonderful. Fourth of July fireworks are a front row seat from the yard.

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