Part 25: Homeward Bound

Happy Holidays, bloggers! As we wrap up Christmas and Hanukkah and celebrate the New Year, our thoughts may turn nostalgic. What did we do in 2014 that we prefer to do differently in 2015. Many of us focus on relationships and relationship-building.

For me, in a recent trip “Home” to Baltimore, relationships were the focus of my visit. I relocated from Baltimore to Los Angeles in January 2014, with the expressed intent to be close to my children and grandchildren. Moreover, I was ready to downsize from a large condo where I lived alone, to a senior living community with amenities that would enhance my quality of life.

These first 11 months at Holiday Villa East, a senior residence in Santa Monica, Calif., I remained closely in touch with lifelong family and friends back home. A funny thing happened during this time. I began to refer to Santa Monica and HVE as Home. I surprised myself when I first said to a friend, “I’ll call you when I get home,”—meaning California, not Maryland.

On the plane eastbound, I contemplated my emotions visiting the city, family and friends I have known all my life.

Home is Where the Heart IsWelcome Home

How would I feel? The answer is simple: Happy … Grateful … Loved … Nurtured, and most of all, blessed.

By and large, my family and friends are doing well. Yes, there is some sickness and some sadness. I am glad to be able to have shared these experiences in person. In between visits with family and friends, I dined on my favorite Italian and deli foods and Baltimore’s famous and savory Chesapeake Bay all-white-meat crab cakes.

My Uncle Al, 87, held a champagne brunch in my honor for an elite group—his children and me. A few days later, my visit culminated in a beautiful Hanukkah celebration hosted by Cousin Felix, 82. How very precious and priceless to spend in-person quality time with these folks. The week ended in a coincidence—the fabulous singer/entertainer at the Hanukkah event, Sam Glassman, noted that he had flown from his hometown of Santa Monica for performances on the East Coast. He lives blocks from my senior residence.

10 Lessons from Home

I’ve returned from my first visit home to Baltimore with 10 lessons learned:

1.            We can have many HOMES.

2.            Friendship and love grow wherever we live.

3.            Life moves on. Things happen.

4.            New experiences enrich us.

5.            Old friendships never die, as long as we nourish them.

6.            Changes happen wherever we are; embrace them.

7.            Time speeds by; plan, but don’t over plan, accordingly.

8.            Frequent communication encourages ongoing relationships.

9.            Carpe Diem—seize the moment.

And most important:

10. HOME is where your heart is. and I invite you to share your thoughts for the New Year? Are you or a family member considering a move in 2015 to senior living? If yes, what topics would you like to read in upcoming blogs? To share, click on the box below.

Until the next Joan’s Journey, enjoy the trip, day by day.

Joan London, a former Houston Chronicle correspondent and noted magazine writer/editor, specializes in freelance writing/editing of issues relating to seniors. London moved to a senior community in Southern California, where she has enhanced her quality of life and is close to her children and grandchildren.

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