A few years ago, I told my friends that in response to health-care issues related to aging, I had come up with what I called Alternate Plan B….B for bacon, that is. After watching beloved relatives suffer through hospital stays and side effects of medications and medical treatments that only resulted in a small delay in the inevitable end, I decided that I would not go on medications that “treated”, but didn’t cure any condition I might have. No cholesterol or blood pressure medication for me. Who wants an extra ten years that would probably be spent in a nursing home anyway? Instead I decided that if I was diagnosed with some incurable condition, I would start to eat bacon and foods laden with high fructose corn syrup every day. Hell, I might even start smoking again. If the end is inescapable, why not go out enjoying all my guilty pleasures?
At the ripe age of 64, I recently implemented another Alternate Plan B. After living in northern New Jersey since 1965, I retired this year and relocated to Mauldin, SC. I always thought I would retire in the two-family house I owned for 25 years. I only came up with this Alternate Plan B after two hellacious winters, two difficult tenants, about $13,000 in home maintenance and repairs, and a scheduled property reassessment that promised to raise my already $12,000 a year property taxes. Finally, I decided to take Oprah Winfrey’s advice. Instead of continuing to swim upstream, I turned around. I sold my house and bought a nine-year old, three-bedroom condominium for less than half the sale price of my house and one-sixth the property taxes. The Home Owner’s Association monthly fee here is $100! I couldn’t get a teenager to cut my grass in New Jersey for that amount. Oh, yeah… in addition to cut grass and trimmed shrubs, that $100 includes water sprinklers for beautifully mulched flower beds, a swimming pool, and I never have to worry about replacing a roof again.
I admit that during the process of selling and moving, I had moments of sheer terror. Was I making a mistake? A move from New Jersey to South Carolina would, after all, involve some cultural adjustment. Would I regret it? This was, for all intents and purposes, an irreversible move. Well, I’m happy to report that though I have only been here a few months, I’m fairly certain I’ve made the right decision. So far the biggest adjustment I’ve had to deal with is that people in my condo development wave when they drive by. They also smile and say hello when they walk past me. Just amazing! Best of all, on Labor Day I attended a most wonderful event… Simpsonville, South Carolina’s second annual Bacon Festival. Yes, I think I’m going to love it here.
I’d love to hear from you, so please leave me a comment by clicking on the balloon at the top of this post. Check back here for future reports on my new life in the South as I adjust to retirement and work on getting my cozy mystery “Second Bloom” edited and published.