The Road to Retirement

In 7 1/2 days we drove Big Betty approximately 3,109 miles and she sucked down approximately 448 gallons of gas.  Big Betty did her job well, we had no problems whatsoever, but I gotta tell ya I was more than ready to say farewell when we dropped her off at Home Depot.

We arrived in Virginia – just across the Potomac River from D.C. – 3 days before our move-in date and we were fortunate enough to have been invited to house sit for those 3 days at the home of our daughter-in-law’s parents.  I couldn’t help but wonder what their neighbors were thinking seeing Big Betty parked in front of the house.

As we drove across the country I drafted  (and experienced)  my 10-step program for redefining retirement, but really, it works for just about any major life change.  Okay, I admit, it was somewhat silly but I had a LOT of time to think, about 3,000 miles worth, and I genuinely worked through the process.  When we left Ashland, I was exhausted and running on adrenaline, but by the time we arrived in Virginia/Maryland, I had shifted into a far calmer place in my mind.  There’s nothing like a really long drive!

I think at this moment we are in the middle.  We have ended the previous chapter, but we’re not quite ready to start the next.  Or maybe we already have.  It’s just a bit convoluted at the moment while our bruises heal and we continue to empty boxes.  Yesterday, we bought groceries to stock our kitchen, which was definitely a step in the right direction.  And today, we walked the aisles of Ikea for a couple of hours until we found exactly what we were looking for.  Funny thing is, we didn’t know it until we saw it, and then it all came together.  Don’t ya love it when that happens?

Ikea - Believe it or not, that is a sofa, 3 dressers, 2 end tables and 2 folding chairs.

Ikea – Believe it or not, that is a sofa, 3 dressers, 2 end tables and 2 folding chairs.

We ventured out and hopped on the Metro, which is just a 5-minute walk from our apartment.  The public transit here is well-used and it’s a great way to get around D.C. and the surrounding areas.  We even have our very own Metro cards, which we just touch on the scanner and the fare is automatically deducted.  Riding the Metro takes us to downtown D.C. in 28 minutes and allows us to avoid the crazy ass traffic.  We are once again enjoying the diversity of big city life and having a lot of – we’re not in Ashland anymore – moments.  From our apartment, we can walk to anything we need within 15 – 20 minutes, which is ideal for our new lifestyle: urban living.

Once you have a Metro card, you can add value to it using the machine.

Once you have a Metro card, you can add value to it using the machine.

The Metro map. It's all color-coded, and once you get the hang of it, it's actually very user-friendly.

The Metro map. It’s all color-coded and once you get the hang of it, it’s actually very user-friendly.

Once we feel a bit more settled, there is a long list of places we’d like to revisit, such as all of the Smithsonian Museums, (the National Museum of American History is my favorite) and places we’d like to visit for the first time.  We have the entire east coast to explore!  And while we still can’t quite wrap our heads around the concept, we have no time limitations.  I find myself thinking, “We have to hurry and get this done” and then I remember, no we don’t.

So here we are, night 4 of sleeping in our new digs, amongst boxes and organized chaos.  And guess what?  I couldn’t be happier. And there is no looking back; life is just way too short.

One box at a time, right?!

One box at a time, right?!


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