July 20, 2016
This is part of the move madness that holds you in its grip when you stage a move from overseas—it’s a protracted madness, because when you move an entire household of furniture over the ocean, you move it on a slow boat.
So I woke up for the umpteenth day on the floor, and I had to use considerable effort to haul myself upright. I’ve developed a wicked catch in my side that Advil only dulls. I didn’t have that problem two weeks ago, so I think there is some cumulative wear and tear that this sort of living takes on you.
Then again, I wasn’t 50 a few weeks ago.
Over the hill jokes aside, I’m holding my own pretty well. My knees and ankles do click, and reading glasses, which are the bane of my existence, are paradoxically also my most valued possession at present.
Still, I have no real complaints. All in all, I’m feeling pretty youthful. . . and just a tad immature.
However, there has been another disturbing development. That new house I’m waking up in? It’s in a retirement community. (!!??!!) Believe me, I didn’t know this when we signed the contract. Had no idea. It’s just a slightly cruel twist of fate.
There are other families in this neighborhood, and some of them young, but the majority of my neighbors are retired. (Well, this is Florida.)
Before we signed a contract on this house, I Googled the general area. All the intel came back positive. After we signed the contract, I had more time to do the peripheral research– figure out exactly what our corner of the neighborhood was all about. I started by looking deeper into the neighborhood clubhouse and the many photos of it posted online–just hoping to get a better idea of any activities that might be going on, or a general vibe to the community. That’s when I began to have a creeping suspicion.
There was a New Year’s Eve party at the clubhouse last year. Photos were posted. I thought to myself, this is sure to reveal some neighborhood secrets! And, for sure, it was revelatory. By the looks of it, the party was attended by only the over 70 crowd. Still, this wasn’t shocking, because most people have other places to go on New Years. (This is what I told myself.)
Then I looked at the photos from Mardi Gras. The same senior (but somewhat randy) crowd, all wearing purple and gold. It seemed a little suspect. I Googled the demographics, and suspicions were confirmed: the average age here is over 66. I wrung my hands and reminded myself, “This is Florida—demographics will be skewed.”
Then we rolled into town last week and were happy to find that there are a few other families around. Haven’t seen a lot of other teens yet, but hopefully they are here. The good news about living in an older community is that the community pool isn’t over-run (I think that’s good; not sure my kids agree), and the homeowner’s association cuts your grass for you (that is worth the clicking knees any day!). But, I confirmed with a friend in town, this area is considered a retiree community on our side of town. *Sigh*
I won’t lie to you—there is a little sting to turning 50 and immediately moving into a retiree-rich community. There is a wicked, biting humor to it.
But I do love my neighbors– they are all friendly and eager to greet you with a bottle of wine and a smile. Also, I have a small beach and quiet pool down the block, and a grounds crew who cut the grass, so I think I can live with it. I’m just praying that my children don’t draw too many scolding looks for the tremendous noise they sometimes create . . . and that I never have to fend off a pass from the 85 year old crowd. There are not enough Geritol vitamins in the world to make that okay.
You know, I think I’ll avoid the Mardi Gras party at the clubhouse next year.