A wonderful day in the neighborhood

Crystal blue sky.

Things are opening up in our neighborhood. Finally. I got a call last night from a neighbor who said the social clubs are reopening and would I be interested in joining coffee club or wine club.

I’ve already said yes to book club. Our first meeting is in March and we have been assigned a book called “The Arctic Fury” by Greer MacAllister. Has anyone read it? What did you think? I haven’t heard of the book or the author. It’s historical fiction which I enjoy.

As for the other two clubs, I’ve decided to jump in and give them a try. Wine club is for couples, and since my husband sits in his office all day, I thought it might be good to get him out of the house, too. But, after accepting the invitations, I found out that wine club has NOT reopened. But I could be chairperson and open it if I wanted. Nope.

It was a bright sunny, clear day for our morning walk. And not too cold. It’s been in the low 40s and windy lately which is too cold for my blood. But today was spectacular. Just the right temperature. There’s a couple who lives around the corner and they have a white lab and a black lab. The dogs can’t wait to say hi to us. The owners are friendly too. Another neighbor stopped to chat. Normally, we walk and wave without talking.

People seem happier lately and eager to socialize. It’s kind of hard to get back in the groove of social interaction, but I’ve decided to put myself out there and see if I like the clubs or not.

Also, it’s warm enough for me to sit my zero gravity recliner with my new book and read!

I think it’s the webinar about what makes you happy that’s pushing me out of the house. If you missed it, I wrote about it HERE.

Have you noticed an improvement in people’s attitudes lately? What changes have you seen around your neighborhood?

What makes you happy?

brother and sister on a rock by the sea
Laguna Beach picture of my kids from around 2001.

My husband asked me to sit and watch a webinar with him yesterday. It was CE credits for him, but he thought I’d find the subject interesting. Begrudgingly, I sat with him. Surprisingly, there were a few tidbits that I found helpful.

The topic was about what makes people happy in retirement. Number one was not being stressed about money. At a certain point, when you aren’t worrying about outliving your money, more money doesn’t improve happiness. Good health is another key item.

I was surprised that friendships were near the top of the list. When people leave the workplace, they often give up their daily social interactions. I thought about this because it’s something I’m dealing with now. Since the pandemic and moving to Arizona, I don’t have the day-to-day interactions with people that I had before. Of course, I lived in California for three decades in the same house, so I had it wired. I had the swim team, women’s club, my kids’ school parents, etc. I stayed in touch with people I worked with years before and we still got together. I knew the postman, the grocery clerk and countless other people.

Moving to a new state and neighborhood, we were lucky to discover friends from Palm Springs who moved a mile away from our new home. It’s refreshing to get a last minute call and be invited over for football or dinner. And we reciprocate.

My husband had one of his closest friends two miles down the road. They were friends from their 20s and we got together every week or two since we moved. But my husband’s friend died suddenly in November from an illnesses that was not COVID. Watching the webinar, my husband muttered a few words about missing his friend.

I haven’t thought much about needing friends or a social life. I’m pretty content to sit at home and watch the birds. Sit outside and read. I didn’t really view myself as a people person. This webinar made me think about the years ahead.

It’s hard to make new friends when you’re older, not in a work environment and in a new state. The webinar convinced me to join book club, which I’ve never done before. I had gotten an invitation earlier that day. It was a sign that yes, I’d better give it a try.

Here is what I found really fascinating about the webinar: most people facing retirement think living close to their children will make them happy. In reality it doesn’t bump the needle like friendships do. It’s not even close.

What do you think will make you happy in retirement? Why do you think living close to your children doesn’t make retirees as happy as social friends?

The bus stop

Sunrise from my bedroom window
Sunrise this morning.

I got up early today because I had an appointment at the car dealership at 7:30 a.m. There’s a recall on our car. It was at risk of catching on fire, so I took the first appointment I could get.

My husband and I went for a walk in our neighborhood at 6:15 a.m. and I saw something that disturbed me greatly. At our little park a few blocks from our house there were a dozen kids waiting for the bus. They were all looking down at the their phones and nobody was talking to each other. They were all about six feet apart and I guess that’s a good thing? But the lack of interest in each other and their focus on their phones bothered me. They all looked very depressed.

What the heck is this generation going to be like in a few years? I know my kids hate to make phone calls. They never pick up the phone without trying to use a webpage, email or text first. But when they are around their peers, they don’t ignore each other. They joke and have fun together. They light up.

When I was a kid, I also had to walk to a bus stop. I walked with my brother and we’d laugh and talk and kick a rock during the quarter mile walk. Then we’d chat with the other kids at our bus stop. On the bus, we’d all be talking, laughing or singing songs.

I found this group of kids so depressing to see. They seemed isolated. Alone. Glued to their phones. I wonder if this is a result of the COVID shut down? Or, would they be like this anyway? Any thoughts? Have you noticed kids acting like this, too?

cloudy day in Arizona neighborhood
View from our neighborhood on a cloudy day.

I guess the good news is they are going to school in person, right? Maybe it’s the start of a new school year and they’re not happy?