As I sit here reflecting at the close of 2022 there is a cold rain hitting my window pane. It’s a fitting day to be indoors, perhaps sipping a hot cup of tea or cocoa. It’s year-end and I’m not sure what I want to write. Some years the words flow freely. I know exactly how I feel at the close of the year. This December, actually this exact week, marks 15 years since I became a widow.
One of my fav authors Cheryl Strayed always knows the right words to write in the moment. I had an awesome opportunity to take a virtual writing workshop with her this fall. Cheryl says: “To hold the beauty of what is while also bearing the weight of our sorrow limbs that ache for what might have been is the trick of life. To be able to do both things is the key, if not to happiness, then contentment; to a liberation that only accepting what we cannot change can bring.”
Older and wiser
I’m getting older. There are more wrinkles and age spots on my face and hands. The aches and pains in my piriformis (that’s the deep muscle in my butt) and my knees erupt with greater frequency, especially after exercise. I’m turning 65 next month. It’s time to sign up for Medicare. (What an ordeal. It should be easier to manage healthcare as we age, not so complicated with Parts A and B, Medigaps that charge different prices and offer Plans A to G, and Part D drug plans that are equally confusing.) There’s no turning back.
That’s why I’ve spent 2022 embracing a new normal — not just with the Covid virus that is here to stay but also with my physical body and its limitations. And I was determined to embrace with greater comfort and ease. Thanks to my vaccinations and boosters, and the fact that I had Covid and recovered with some immunity (I hope), I felt (and continue to feel) more optimistic about venturing out into the world after two years of strict pandemic precautions.
So I did. With a mask-covered face when necessary, I went out and about in search of new adventures during my life after 60. Better still, I acted on my inspirational word for 2022 by embracing each activity to the fullest.
Lightening up with good old fun
Although our world is still divided and there is much strife, last January my horoscope instructed me to let loose and live a little. “With the north node in your fifth house of pleasure, creativity, and self-disclosure, you’ll be in search of the joy that comes from having good, old fun,” predicted star astrologer Colin Bedell to Capricorns. “And while emotions aren’t your typical wheelhouse, this year could also push you to expand your emotional vocabulary. Whether it’s joy, sadness, excitement, pleasure, anguish — in any case, the feeling is meaningless unless you name it and normalize it in real time,” said Bedell.
Shoveling sunshine not winter snow
In 2022, I spent my first winter as a snowbird on the west coast of Florida. My happiness was overflowing with sunshine every day. The warm weather enabled me to be active outdoors — walking on the beach, biking around my community, and making new friends on the pickleball court. I loved my three-month stay so much that before I gave up my condo keys I signed a lease to do it all over again in 2023.
A memorable mother-daughter road trip
My homeward bound journey in early April was every bit as enjoyable with my daughter A. Our journey north took us to St. Augustine, FL, Charleston, S.C., and Richmond, VA. My choice stop was Charleston, where we toured the historic district and ate some amazing Southern food. We had such a good time that we said we wanted to make our mother-daughter road trip an annual event. We’re working on our 2023 plans now. Any recommendations for stopovers from Florida to New Jersey are welcomed.
Exploring Southern California and it’s wine country
In May, I flew cross country to visit my son D at his new home in Southern California. I hadn’t been to that part of Los Angeles in over five years. It was nice to dine at some of the trendy cafes, bakeries, and bistros. An added bonus was spending D’s birthday weekend in Santa Ynez Valley exploring all the small towns and wineries. Definitely a growing area I highly suggest adding to any retirement vacay. The good news is I’ll be back in sunny SoCal next September for my son D’s wedding.
Summer at the Jersey shore
My summer was delightful as always at my condo-on-the-corner at the Jersey shore. While the shore has gotten very crowded since the pandemic, my back deck is always a peaceful place where I can stop, breathe, and be.
That is until my boyfriend E says, “I think you need a shed to store your bicycles and beach gear. I’m ordering a shed.” And so he did. And he built it too (along with my help I might add.) In the end, what I had resisted at the start became a convenient and welcomed storage extension that impressed neighbors near and far.
“Where did you get that shed?” asked my neighbor K. “Cool shed,” said my neighbor D. “I want a shed like that,” said my neighbor M. Who knew that the shed which I originally wanted to shed would become a real keeper? Kudos to E!
The changing autumn leaves
The fall is one of my favorite times of the year. The crisp days of autumn are the best, I relish the changing colors of the season as the leaves turn red and gold on the trees and am sad when they start to drop.
I was excited when E suggested we take a drive to Bear Mountain State Park. Despite having grown up in The Bronx, I never visited this historic New York State landmark. It was the last Saturday in October and the leaves were at peak colors — a breathtaking view. My camera was click, clicking away – each pic was prettier than the next.
The history of Bear Mountain dates back to 1915. It is a part of a unique park system that extends from the edge of New York City all the way into the Hudson Valley. The Appalachian Trail that stretches from Georgia to Maine runs directly through Bear Mountain.
Ooh, ooh, ooh, could there be an Appalachian Trail adventure in my future when E retires? “I have to get better use out of those expensive REI hiking boots I bought in 2022,” I told E.”I’ve only worn them once.”
Traveling southwest to Tucson
In November, I traveled to Tucson to visit my cousin J. She has a really cool adobe house in the hillside. The mountain views from her home and all around Tucson are spectacular. I’m not going to share too much about my Arizona vacay. I’ll wait and give you more details and pics when I queue up my blog posts for January. BTW, Tucson is another great place to spend the winter months.
Ending the year in retro
Did I do justice to my 2022 year of letting go and having fun? I think so. However, to end the year with major FUN, I mean in a REALLY, REALLY MAJOR FUN WAY, I’m pulling out all the stops.
“The Amtrak Autotrain lets us off in Orlando on our way down to Florida,” I said to my BFF M. “Really, I’ve wanted to go to Walt Disney World for my 60th and never made it. We’re so close. We should go there for our 65th. It will be fun.” said M. It didn’t take long to convince me. The minute I heard the word fun I was all in.
Tickets are booked. Parks are reserved. In a few weeks I’m headed to Walt Disney World with my BFF M. M and I went to Disney World for our high school class trip in 1975 and we’re going back to celebrate our 65th birthdays with Mickey and Minnie. And guess what? Our passes say age 10+ so no one will know we’re seniors this time around. In Disney World everyone’s a kid.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year
I hope your 2022 is ending in a fun way. Thank you for tuning into my posts this year, supporting my blog, and following me on Judi Boomer Girl social media. Your readership means the world to me.
I’ll be back in January with more adventures to share. That is unless I decide to stay in the Magic Kingdom and hang out with Cinderella, speaking of a dame that never ages.