Coming Here Is a New Beginning
This area for many of us is as close to paradise as we'll ever get. Folks who come here to escape bleak and snowy winters when they retire can hardly believe the new life they've fallen into - mild winters, blue skies and sunshine almost every day.
And if you like to play golf, this is the place to be. There are lots of beautiful homes on or near golf courses and country clubs are affordable for most. It doesn't take long for newcomers to begin shopping for a golf cart and practicing to get their handicap down to where they think it should be.
Sounds a little like heaven on earth? For many, it is.
Do I sound like Mr. Chamber of Commerce? I don't mean to. This area needs no introduction.
But pulling up stakes and moving to a new place, even a place that seems to have everything, is not as easy as you might think.
Leaving family, friends and neighbors behind requires courage and willingness to begin a new life in a different place where the culture is different, accents are different, things are a little slower and folks are more laid back.
In some ways, Southerners are a little different. Not different in a negative way - just different.
Even with terrific weather that permits outdoor living pretty much year around, it's still difficult to make the necessary adjustments.
During our years with Union Carbide, Pat and I lived in New York, Connecticut, Ohio twice, and North Carolina. When we retired, we came back home to North Carolina.
We were glad to get back home, but we enjoyed the different places where we lived before returning. We were fortunate to have great neighbors everywhere who loved our Southern accents (or said they did) and accepted us without reservation. We discovered quickly that your neighbors will accept you if you meet them half way. It was true then. It's true today.
We're glad we live in Seven Lakes and are happy we came here. Even so, thoughts often return to our family and friends who continue to reside where we used to live.
We think more about the way things were before we moved here. We still miss our neighbors and friends and wonder how they're doing. We think less about the future and more about the past, and the way things used to be. I guess that's the natural way of things.
When we were thinking about moving here from Charlotte, we decided that a major attraction of the area was the excellent medical facilities. They're even better now. They're complemented by Duke and Chapel Hill, both excellent and nearby. Good medical facilities are increasingly attractive as we find ourselves facing knee replacements, hip surgery etc.
Forget reducing the golf handicap to a new low on beautiful golf courses. Think about old bones that can hardly sustain us through nine holes.
Perhaps the most worrisome issue of all for many of us is loneliness and boredom. Many of our friends and associates have passed on. Our phone directory has more and more strikeouts, and the phone doesn't ring as often.
We find ourselves watching too much TV and not getting out as much as we should. We dwell too much on the past and the good old days. We think less about the future.
Visits to the doctor's occupies more of our time. We aren't able to travel as much and suddenly our grandchildren are growing up and live too far away.
Well I don't want to leave this writing on a negative note. The challenges that come with moving to a new area and beginning a new life are many, but there is a way to make it easier.
Share your life with others. Volunteer to help others. When you can, reach out to those who are less fortunate. By helping them, you'll help yourself.
Try not to look back so much. Try to lean forward.
Robey Howard is a local freelance writer.
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