Christmas Bird Count

    Waiting Room for Heaven 

“Honey, we’re retired, the kids are gone and the dog is dead.”

“Where should we go next?”

“Let’s downsize, move someplace where living is easier.  We need to get rid of the clutter, find peace among like minded people.  To stay active.  Have the kids close, but not too close.”

A major industry has grown up around structuring financial investments and real estate development to meet these expectations  All this is well and good; however, the fact remains that in our twenty-first century another step beyond the retirement honeymoon has been added for many women.

The men die.  The question then becomes. “Where does a woman go next?”

Calculated in 2020 the average life expectance for American men was 77 years.  Women are expected to live at least 4 more years. (Statistically Asians live the longest followed by Hispanics, Caucasian and Native Americans.  In all races women outlive men.)

The pastor of my Lutheran Church calls the final Earthly dwelling place a “Waiting Room for Heaven.”

I have chosen to live the remaining summer months of my life in a tiny 600 square foot foot off-grid, one-room house located on an isolated eighty acre plot of stream nourished land.  I call it “The Farm.”  Gillespie Creek flows through the property south to north.  This natural ecosystem provides all the sense of purpose, food, entertainment, social interaction and healthful exercise that I will need as I live out the last years of my widowhood.  My son is nearby.  He produces my electricity and looks out for me.

My vision today is filled by the experiences of the entire physical and spiritual world, not just the immediate network of expectations created by the human society that orchestrated my earlier years.  I still set daily goals.  A guy friend calls these inner driven desires “missions.”

You ask, “Why give up the comforts of city living to isolate yourself in a very small “Off-Grid” place?  It’s dangerous.  Do you have a security system?  A gun? What about medical care offered by a larger city?  How will you deal with wildfire?  You’re used to being in the middle of all the action.  Why would you want to become a hermit ?”

My first book, Amazing Attributes of Aging written with Mary Huntley is all about the friendships that kept me sane as a teenager, brought confidence, momentum and life long unconditional love into my life.  Many of you have also read my latest book, Finding My Place, A Widow’s Wanderings. This story chronicles my search for reestablishing independence and going forward as an individual following the passing of a my passionately loved spouse of 52 years.  Today I know who I am.  i’m an experienced, fun loving, capable individual with a lot of wisdom learned from hard work.  All of my most treasured memories have found a spot either on the bookshelf beside me or are as close as a phone call away.  All the clothing that I require is stored in 8″ x 11″ x 8″ tubs in the open closet to the left of my tiny home’s front door or in the bathroom.  I have no TV set.   Bird calls are my lullaby and my wake-up messengers.  My hybrid car is parked in the driveway.  Services are eight miles away.  My table expands to host guest dinners.  The loft of my tiny house welcomes single guests. A beautiful, challenging golf course and delightful playing partners are nearby.  Between my iPhone, website and Bose radio I’m in touch with friends, family, news, music and emergency messages.

It’s time to give back to the natural systems of the universe that have sustained me.  I have a built-in mission to do the best that I can to allow this ecosystem stressed by past excesses to repair itself in the midst of climate change.  By living simply within its borders I’ll do my best to keep this oasis safe for wildlife, plants, soil and water to evolve.  I’ll share my experiences.

Perhaps I can entice others to share space with me along the way.