Age, change, moving on

Age, change, moving on

Posted on November 27 by Julie V. Watson in Non-fiction, Recent Releases
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When I was asked to write this blog post, my mind started whirling. What to write about? Aging? Becoming a caregiver? Life changes and challenges?  Travel?  Me?

Why not all five?  

My spouse and I reached three-quarters of a century this year. As retirees, we had dreamed of life on the open road. We invested in a movable residence and motor-homed for many years.  But life changes. Frankly, shit happens. Our first major hit came with exchange rates. Suddenly $1,000 Canadian was only worth $600 American. My spouse’s medical issues drastically affected our finances. Unexpected expenses ate up invested money that we were so proud to have put aside. Pensions hadn’t kept up with ever-rising costs. We became financially challenged.   

We no longer trek south or west, and we miss the warmth, friends made, and adventure. Retirement saw us cross Canada and the U.S. numerous times. We loved being on the road; we were rarely as happy as when we were rolling down the highway, anticipating a new destination. No matter where we were, we had our home with us. Our own bed, our dog, and our hobbies.

But changes happen. Cancer and other serious medical issues now mean staying close to home. It means a new life. The first and biggest challenge was finding a home. We decided an apartment would be best. No grass to cut, no snow to shovel, no worries about maintenance. 

Charlottetown, like much of Canada, is experiencing a housing crisis. It took months of daily searching and calls to find our home. Our needs were difficult to fulfill: a dog-friendly, two-bedroom, ground floor unit (or an elevator) with reasonable rent. Luckily, we found a home that suits us well. 

Just days ago, I extolled the joys of being in our new-to-us apartment while a winter storm raged. I found joy in sitting in my craft room/office/guest bedroom as trees swayed, ice crunched underfoot, and snow whipped past the window. We were snug and warm. Sparky the wonder dog had his walk and did his business. Small things matter.

I refocused. I rediscovered the joy of writing thanks to Dundurn asking for a second edition of Ghost Stories and Legends of Prince Edward Island. Its launch was an affirmation of positive change. The Bookmark in Charlottetown did me proud as actors read ghostly tales for Halloween at a historic property in front of a large crowd. If you are ever in Prince Edward Island, do visit The Bookmark, a shop that draws people to browse and savour books.

Today, along with writing, handcrafting greetings cards, and creating artistic scrapbooks of travels and family, I have built a circle of creative friends who I treasure.

I’m principle caregiver. I ache more, I’m slower, my energy gives out sooner. Yet life is good. I’m no different from others my age. My philosophy is that whatever you do, recognize that aging means change. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just different — new experiences, new ways of doing things, different dreams.

I’ve climbed back onto an old saddle, thanks to a confidence boost, support from friends and a publishing team, and acceptance that things change but life goes on.