My husband and I recently purchased a little get away cottage in Beaufort, South Carolina. We call it “a practical investment”. It’s a place to run away to when the north wind’s bite becomes a little too hard, especially as the years go by and the bones start to become more brittle. It’s a lovely little place – far smaller than our North Carolina home – and it’s in a beautiful area. The marshes are just down the street, and the river is just beyond. There are all kinds of shops and restaurants in the neighborhood, and a zillion things to do, explore and get involved with. The town is rich in history, having been founded in 1711, and quite a few of the old mansions still stand proudly in South Carolina’s blazing sun. Water sports are as numerous as the types of fish to be caught, and they can be enjoyed all through the year. For so many reasons, this should be a time of great excitement, and yet, it’s not. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m delighted we got this darling little place, and I’m more than grateful that we were able to, BUT, the reasons for doing it are enough to dampen the parade. The fact is we’re getting older, and, at some point, the three-story house we live in might become more difficult to navigate. Also, we live way out in the country, on very steep mountain roads, and trying to get out and about when there’s snow and ice on the ground is definitely hard to navigate, even now. It’s great if you can stay in until it melts, but, if you can’t…You get the point.
When we got our mountain house while still living in Florida, we were younger, and the whole intention of having this house was simply to have fun in it. But, as I’m finding out as I’m nearing sixty, you start to think about what’s safe, what’s practical, what’s easier, and thinking about those things just isn’t as much fun as thinking about…well…having fun! But, along with age comes wisdom, and so I put my big girl pants on and signed on the dotted line for the cottage that will be there for us as we need it to be in the years to come. If it were up to me, I’d stay in the mountains everyday for the rest of my days, but want and need can be two very different things. You become more aware of that when your porch becomes a deadly Slip ‘n Slide in January.
I was talking to my wise and wonderful friend, Kitty, this week, and I was grumbling about the choices we have to make as we get older. Her take on it was that I was going to be entering a whole new chapter of my life that was going to bring many wonderful, unexpected surprises, and that many a new and exciting door would be opened. And she should know: She’s turning seventy next month, and got engaged night before last.
Life does have a way of making us grow up, whether we think we’re ready to or not. But I’ve also found that when we try to do the right thing for the right reasons, some of the most wonderful things happen as a result, making us as happy as a kid at Christmas. All things considered, life hasn’t let me down yet, and I don’t imagine it will now. So, when I head down to Beaufort next week to shop for furniture to fill our little home, I shall embrace everything as a new adventure. And I will expect some of the most amazing doors to open. I just have to remember to do my part and knock.