Considering Snowbirding

I don’t think I have been less enthused about winter before this year. When the first snow fell a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t get that cozy feeling I always get looking out into our yard from the warm living room. Driving the roads with its surprise icy spots feels more threatening than in the past. I am losing confidence. Every time I make a commitment I feel tentative. “If the weather cooperates,” I always say. The idea of becoming a snowbird is getting more and more attractive.

Bernie and I talked about it the other day and he said, “I can’t think of a place I’d want to stay for two or three months other than home.” I know what he means. Could we feel at home in a small camper or a condo along the southern coast? What would we do? Who would replace our friends? Would we miss the grandkids? I know we would. The outdoors we prefer is what Minnesota offers – green and woodsy with lakes and rivers. I am intimidated by the ocean though I have many friends who can think of nothing better than to walk its sandy beaches.

This is our lifestyle: We are both involved in volunteer work, mostly for the Boys & Girls Club (Bernie more than I) but we offer to help once in a while for other organizations like Habitat or the food shelf when asked. Bernie attends meetings with a local service organization and I go to a couple of support group meetings each week and a monthly book club. I have female friends I like to drop in on or that come to my house to chat and drink coffee. Once in a while Bernie and I go to a local play or concert and we can always depend on running into people we know to add to the pleasure of the event. The same is true when we attend events like annual fairs or parades or fundraisers. It is far from a lonely existence.

In addition, our home offers lots of involvement – too much sometimes. I am not a fan of house cleaning or decorating but Bernie loves his outdoor work, gardening, mowing the lawn and cutting and stacking wood for our winter heating. I can’t say cleaning gives me the pleasure the outdoor work gives him, but there is some satisfaction in nesting.

We babysit pretty regularly the three closest grandchildren, especially the youngest. We make sure Jackson gets to preschool and I watch him all day on his school days. We often stop by our daughter’s house when in Little Falls and she often brings the kids by for dinner or just to hang out.

As I write these things, I realize I am afraid of loneliness and boredom. We would probably make friends wherever we might go, but intimacy takes time to build. We aren’t interested in some of the things many snowbirds are interested in such as golf. I am not a drinker or shopper. We like touring but are pretty specific about the kinds of things we like to explore. History and culture are especially interesting to us.

In a new place there would probably be no yard work to do and in-house duties would be minimal. But the crafts I enjoy are mobile and I love to read. I can do anywhere. I can imagine that no matter where we would go, we could find some place to volunteer our time. One town in Florida, I visited the local library and noted the many book clubs, speakers, and workshops available. We could do some touring. It would be interesting to experience more deeply at a different culture than you might do in day. One could get acquainted with the people who live in a place rather than listening to tour guides.

Perhaps our children and grandchildren would come to see us in this distant place. This is true for our snowbird friends.

Hmmm. Things are looking better.