A New Start

Is it possible to start a new life at the age of 93?

What prompted my decision to move from a comfortable home with lifetime friends close by to a smaller home two hours away? Still healthy and able to navigate well from room to room and even climb the steps to my second-floor bedroom, why disturb a satisfying way of life?

Indeed, I had become dependent on the use of a cane when outdoors on uneven terrain, and it was impossible not to accept the reality that the stability I enjoyed would not last forever. The decision was not an easy one, and I weighed the pros and cons.

When young, my mother’s advice, which was somewhat cryptic at the time, was, “There comes a time in life when you just have to let the wind blow.” Was this such a time? I thought not.

This was a time when I was still in full control of planning the direction of my future, so not a time to just let the wind blow, but a time to take charge. So, weeks later, when my daughter arrived for a visit, I told her of my thinking. Without missing a beat, she picked up her laptop and started to research retirement communities in Seattle where she lived with her family. And an email was sent to bring my two sons into the picture.

In the end, it came down to which of my children lived closest, so I would not have to move too far away from friends, and also who was best able to offer help if needed.

The old-aging process is essentially a time when, little by little, we relinquish control over some of life’s major decisions. Perhaps this is the moment, now comfortably settled in my new home, when I must simply let the wind blow.

But must I? For my entire life, maintaining control over my decisions, both the mundane and those of  great moment, contributed to my sense of well-being. Yet, surely we are impacted by events over which we have no control. That is when wisdom gained over many years distinguishes those times when we can still choose the direction life will take from those times when we must just let the wind blow. Perhaps the wisdom gained in advanced years is knowing how to tell the difference.

42 thoughts on “A New Start

  1. Great to to read your report. While I hate to see you leave Cincinnati, I’m glad that the decision was yours to make. All the best in your new home!!

  2. I wish you peace and comfort in your new place. I think we get a tad closer to discerning the wisdom of the serenity prayer with each mountain we move. Good luck.

  3. Bea,

    Best wishes for good luck. Cincinnati will miss you. Thank you for everything you have done.
    Best regards, Susan Dlott

  4. So happy you’re posting again. We have a little experience with blowing winds and I know you do too. Soon the wind will blow our plane to Bloomington to visit!

  5. I certainly have always thought of you as a venerable person with sound and insightful judgement, able to discern many things about life. Now I will add to that long list the ability to use the wisdom of aging to know when it is time to take charge and when it is time to let the wind blow. I hope you are enjoying your new home and surroundings. So glad you are still blogging!

    1. Bea, I have valued your posts over the past few years and I felt compelled to reply to this very pertinent one. I fondly recall your mentoring me at my first legal post after Vietnam when I didn’t know the way to the courthouse, as Howard Fields used to say of new lawyers. Now after a few blinks of the eye, I approach 80 years with partners half my age. .But your wisdom and advice continue for which I am grateful. So please continue to share your thoughts and experience with your fellow lawyers and friends

  6. Good luck with your new adventure. We will miss you in Cincinnati but are not too far away!

  7. Thank you for including me in your post. At 72, I am now beginning to think about the same kinds of things. It was not long ago that I thought I was indestructible. Not so much anymore. Yet, like you, I am reluctant to relinquish control, though I know that day will most certainly come. I appreciate the wisdom in your posts, and this one did not disappoint.

  8. Dear Bea, I completely sympathize with your decision to move. Similar thoughts have bubbled through our house from time to time. But I congratulate you on making this major transition and I certainly hope all goes well for you and your children. I particularly enjoy Grey’s music.

  9. Kudos to you for making this difficult, but necessary, decision. It is much better to have this kind of control rather than others deciding for you. You continue to be an inspiration.

  10. Dear Bea, such resonance! If you move to Seattle I hope you love it. I went to UW, married & had first son there—& still have friends. One,, Betsy Hanson , is in downtown Sr bldg, and I’d be delighted to introduce you. We both worked for IBM in 1960! I stopped in Seattle 2 years ago on my way to Canadian RR trip, & always have a meal with two old friends there. Be sure you can see ( my beloved ) Mt Rainier some of the time.
    Probably very smart move, I’d go in a minute if I had family there.
    Dot Christenson

  11. As is the case with all of your writings, Bea, this one is beautifully written and thought provoking! Although you do have a few years on me (and I stress “a few”, at least relatively at our respective ages), I can understand the decision you were struggling with, and can somewhat appreciate how difficult it was to make. I am sure though, that now that you made your decision, you will allow yourself to fully enjoy it. I wish you the best, and hope you will provide us with many more wonderful writings!
    John Heilbrun

  12. I’ve missed your posts. Was hopeful to have lunch with you someday. You were such an inspiration in the early days of my career. Glad you are bending and flowing with life’s changes.

  13. Good for you! It seems you have made perhaps the most important decision under your control by CHOOSING to move, where, when and why with respect to your own reality. Perhaps, building on the image of the wind blowing, another image might serve: use the wind that is blowing to fill your still ample sails as you venture into this new territory. As I just downsized my art studio by half i feel a renewed sense of life and purpose- this space, this scale suits me better now. And no doubt at some point will relinquish this too as i sail on. Blessings.

  14. Bea, thank you so much for sharing your thought process as you contemplated moving. I’m delighted that your new life includes a continuation of your writing. As you’re willing, I look forward to hearing about your way of engaging your new home and community. You have such a refreshing perspective!

  15. So thrilled to find that you have returned to writing/blogging! Let the wind blow, but keep wafting your thoughts and sage reflections our way too.

  16. Bea, your wisdom has been an inspiration to me. I’m glad to see you blogging again. With so many things in our lives being out of control, it’s a welcomed reminder that there still are things we can control. I remember my own mother waiting till she had to let the wind blow and it was devastating to watch. I learned from her experience and now I have been encouraged by your sharing. Thanks!

  17. Dear Bea, I am impressed with your self-awareness and your realistic approach to getting older. I hope I am as wise as you are if/when the time comes for me to make those decisions. Looking forward to future posts about your new city and your new home. Take care!

  18. So glad to see a new post from you, Bea, and to know that you are settling in to your new life and enjoying just letting the wind blow. As I get older I find myself doing a bit of that too, and am really enjoying it.

  19. Sounds like a good decision that was well thought out considering the best options. Life is precious and this seems the best way to live your life well . Ted Winkler

  20. In your life, Bea, the wind will never blow. Just consider it a gentle breeze that comes along every now and then.

  21. Bea, you are my mentor as I watched in awe your wisdom and practicality. We miss you so much in our little shangri-la but know you made the right choice for you.

    1. Charlene, my life here is good, but how I miss being able to step out my door and walk a few steps to have dinner with you and Jack. Were you planning to come with Jeannine? I must let her know that the time was now be right.

  22. Bea: I loved your post and am glad you are now settled in your new digs. I was intrigued by your mother’s advice/wisdom that sometimes in life you have to just let the wind blow. My mother, in her later years, once told me that it was a sign of maturity to be able to accept and adapt to the limitations and changes that getting older bring. I remember that practically every day now as the travails of aging beset me. In any case you are one of the most mature and wise persons I have ever known, and it sounds as if you have the strength to begin again with a new and different life. Ninety three is the new eighty! Along with your many friends I send warm wishes for you happiness and well being in your new circumstances. Best, John

  23. Bea –

    You continue to inspire and set just the example needed by those of us who are trailing just a little behind you! All my best wishes to you for a smooth and positive transition to your new home—and for some wonderful new friends and adventures as you settle in.

    For a vote of confidence that your decision to make this current move is a sound one, I will offer that my mother started a new life at the age of 92 in 2012 when she moved from her own home into the independent living area of a CCRC in Charlotte, NC. Despite some serious misgivings on her part, her knowledge that she was relieving anxiety for her only child in Cincinnati and her openness to accept new circumstances in her living situation meant that she was able to start a new life that worked relatively well for her until she died in January, 2022 at the age of 101-1/2 years, after only about one month of being seriously ill.

    I’m hoping, along with my fellow commenters, that your new life will be accompanied by a sense of well-being that will keep you busy sharing your wisdom and insights with all of us fortunate enough to be your friends.

    Love, Doloris

    1. Thank you so much for this thoughtful comment, Doloris. It brings back memories of our conversations over lunch a few years ago. Happy and rewarding times.

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