Fourteen years ago, my partner and I bought a summer house in the Catskills. Well okay, more a log cabin, but comfortable and welcoming.
The idea of a house at that point was not on my list of things to do; it was totally his idea. I did grow up in a house (a real, large one in the suburbs), but have lived in the city since college and had no thoughts of a summer house.
My partner, however, was adamant. He wanted a house, he’d always had a house (which he lost in a divorce), and while he enjoyed city living, he still wanted to own something. At the time, he was employed and able to afford the house, and I was able to help out. Times have changed, and our house has just been sold.
The fact is, I haven’t been up there in years, while he still goes every other weekend during the summer. I stopped liking it. I love a day in the country, but I don’t love mice or moths or ants. I just got tired of the place. My partner knows it has to go, but he is sad. I am not a bit sad, I am thrilled.
But, along with the thrill comes another feeling. An era is over, a certain time of our lives is at an end. That makes me feel wistful. Wistful in the way I did when my daughters left for college. Though I enjoyed not waiting up at night to hear the key in the door, I knew their childhood was over and that was sad. We all want our children to grow up and move on, but let’s face it, we have mixed feelings. When my daughters got married, the joy was mixed with the knowledge of another big change. They were going to have to be shared with spouses, in-laws and other interests. Another big life change indeed. And so it is with the sale of this house. An era closed. On to new adventures, hopefully. But still, an ending to what was once a big part of my life. Onward and upward!
Another topic: exercise. I hate exercise. Formal kinds of exercise, that is. I don’t like exercise classes, am indifferent to yoga and yawn with boredom at the thought of Tai Chi. However, I’ve always loved sports, and, as I mentioned before, I have rediscovered ping pong. Of course I’d prefer to still be playing tennis, but my knees and my stamina say absolutely not. Ping pong, at this point, is perfect for me. I get some stretching by reaching out for balls. I get aerobic exercise and also the fun of playing a sport. “It has to have a ball if I’m going to enjoy it,” I’ve always said. I was lucky to find ping pong through Bloomingdale Aging in Place (BAiP), which I wrote about in a previous column.
Always having been competitive, I like a good hard game, and then a nice, long rest on the sofa. The resting afterwards was not part of it in my teenage years, but alas, that time is long gone. I also walk as much as I can, which of course is what makes New York great for retirees who are still able to do so. Since the buses seem to be on a permanent slow-down, and taxis are prohibitive, I’m delighted that I can still get places on my own steam. So, the moral is: do what you like, exercise wise, and it’ll be fun and not work.