Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


650 Weather

This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery.


Retirement grants us an opportunity to take a close look at weather and how it might affect our daily lives. Many are the retired people who move miles from where they have worked to live a more comfortable life in their later years. They want to live where the sun always shines. They want to live where they don’t have to shovel snow. They want to live where they can enjoy outdoor recreational activities year round; thus the flight of snowbirds to the south.

The southern edge of American from Florida to Southern California continually blooms as favorite retirement havens. We drove through the south last year during the winter and I must admit the weather was nice. Living in the Pacific Northwest the warm sun does good things for the body and soul.  We left in the midst of a snowstorm and within two days were in our shirtsleeves and riding our bikes. Temperatures were comfortable. But then there is the summer. The temperatures sore to over 100 degrees in the summer. I hate hot weather.

Weather was one of the considerations when we look around for a possible move during our retirement years. We wanted a place that did not get too hot – like over 90 degrees, nor too cold – like below freezing. We wanted Goldlocks weather – something “just right”. Well, I’m not sure it exists. We settled in a place where it rarely gets to 90 degrees and only very rarely gets below freezing. It does reach those temperatures but not often; most of the time it is temperate. The complaint concerning weather in this part of the country is the rain; that and the cloudy days. We’ve learned to adjust and for the most part like our weather.

I have a sister that lives in Phoenix ; the temperatures hit 110 plus in the summer. Some times up in the teens. She likes it. We meet a woman in Sarasota on our road trip and she loves Sarasota in the summer when the temperature and humidity soar. Does the heat bother these people? Not in the least. They rise early in the morning to run errands or work outside and then hold up in air conditioned homes or building the rest of the day. Not a problem. I probably should try it sometime.

I recall driving downtown in Phoenix and Sarasota and seeing few to any people. They drive downtown in air conditioned cars and park in underground garages. They step into air conditioned elevators, offices and stores and are never exposed to the outdoor temperatures.

Be it a funeral or a football game; a party or a class on cooking; weather is the safe topic to start a conversation. Everyone has an opinion. And as a matter of fact, one is as good as the other. It is a topic I try to avoid, but it isn’t easy.

“You never want to let the weather dictate what you do with your life”. That is a line I use to recite to the kids whenever we wanted to go hiking or skiing. We were living in Alaska and it seemed like weather might matter. But it seemed like the weather would change so much from one mountain valley or range to another that you could never tell exactly what the weather might be before you actually got on site. The kids seemed to always be content to stay in the house and read or play games and I was always trying to figure out a way to get them out of the house and into the great outdoors. It wasn’t an easy task.

Listening or watching weather forecasts are not part of our life habits. I always like to just look out the window or walk outdoors to check it personally. We grew up in Iowa and the weather was, by necessity, most important. Farmers are always concerned with the chance of rain, wind, snow or tornados. Their days are lived within the confines of weather daily forecasts, and in many cases, hourly. The morning, noon and night weather and market reports are required information. I suppose it is the same for any profession that is outdoor dependent.

Our son went to school in Palo Alto , California . When asked about the weather he replied, “We don’t have any weather here. It is always the same – always nice.” He missed the snow and storms in Alaska . And when he settled into a career it was back in Alaska . I think weather had something to do with it.

I still think the idea of not letting the weather dictate what you do with your life is valid. A person can’t do a lot about it; other than move. Then you get into many other factors that influence your life. When we looked around for our retirement place we considered: size of community, proximity to large cities, and the presence of salt water and mountains. How friendly it was to walking or biking. And how diverse the community was. We also wanted to live in a University town just for the cultural contribution and the addition of young people to our town. Weather wasn’t everything.

I have to admit that the past few years have seen us joining the snowbird migration.  This year will be no exception. We will be packing our bags in the dark and the weather will be pulling us south for a couple of months. Our choice of a place to retire has served us well for many years but as age creeps up the soothing power of a warm sun becomes ever more attractive.

This is Retirement Talk.

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