Highlights of my first five years
by: Marilyn Farrell
Next month marks the five-year anniversary of my move to Emerald Heights. Looking back, I am struck by how much my life has changed -- how what was once hard (downsizing) now seems so easy and rewarding, how new friends I didn't think I needed have become indispensable, and how once unattainable goals now seem to be in reach.
First, there was the hard part: Downsizing. Or maybe it was really just the idea of downsizing that was hard. Actually doing it has been quite liberating! Even though you could say my downsizing is done, I still get the bug to clear out what I am not using. There is really something quite therapeutic in dumping the extra burden of things that “I might use in the future.” Moving here has given me a purposeful place to transfer these things—the Thrift Shop. And I feel good about it because the profit goes into the Benevolence Fund. What seemed like a huge obstacle to the first step to making the move, became a healing project to beginning a new lifestyle.
Next, there came the unexpected friendships. Before I moved, I didn’t feel I needed a new circle of friends. I had many dear ones that I still drink coffee with. I was busy. I was still working at my business to boot. But as we were welcomed into the community, I found new conversations and fascinating stories that enhanced my dinner time. Then when my husband fell ill and died, I found the conversations normalized my daily routine and I was grateful to live closer to my neighbors. Those conversations while I emptied my garbage gave me a touchstone to the outside world. It kept me from becoming too self-absorbed and left little space for self pity.
Then I was diagnosed with cancer and the challenge of treatment and sustaining my lifestyle occurred. I found I was surrounded by friends eager to walk my dog, pick up groceries and do my laundry. What a loving gift those folks gave me! I learned to nap to regenerate my energy while they took daily tasks off my list of to dos.
Recently, when I took a three-week trip to France, I discovered the luxury of turnkey living. There were no worries about the safety of my apartment. The cat was cared for by my friend up the hall. Things were secure without me.
I enjoy keeping busy here, and there is no lack of opportunities for meaningful projects to undertake. There is always an opportunity to photograph something fun going on, a trip to go on, a movie to see with others or a musical to attend downtown Seattle.
As we update and renovate this 20-year-old community, I have had the chance to serve on two Task Forces to review plans and décor for the new Pavilion and Dining Venues. The evolving plans should be attractive for all of us and attract new residents to join us.
I am also delighted to say that I have been able to share my enjoyment of games with other residents. I have organized a Hand and Foot Game (a form of Canasta) every Monday and Thursday evenings and Mexican Train Dominoes on Tuesday evenings. More than 20 folks participate regularly in Hand and Foot, and several are always willing to play with a phone call. Dominoes has a regular group of players too.
And this year, my New Year’s resolution to get fit and thin will be much easier with the short distance to our new Fitness Center. I have a buddy to exercise with and a lovely, well-equipped place to do so. I am expecting 2013 to a fabulous year with new challenges and the chance to finally meet some longtime goals of wellness.