When Memories Replace Movement – What do I want?

 

This morning I’m looking out a frosty window at a world as far removed from my tropical home as it could possibly be and I’m pondering a question that I answered six years ago:

What do I want?

Moving to Bali was a fabulous decision then. There were no grandchildren. One daughter lived on the West Coast, one on the East Coast, and one in the Midwest. None had married.

Everything changes. I’m here in Minnesota in the dead of winter because my youngest just gave birth to twin boys. Eighteen months ago I was in New York to meet my first granddaughter. All three of my children are beautifully partnered now and their lives have taken on new dimensions. They’ve indicated that my physical presence (more often and prolonged than it has been) is very much desired. They want me to be an integral part of their lives. What a beguiling draw that is.

Yet my love of Bali hasn’t diminished. If anything it’s deeper now than ever. I have an intimate circle of friends. I’ve created a life around writing that nurtures me as does the warm climate. I love the exotic landscapes, the thunderous rains, the balmy winters and the Balinese families that have claimed me as their own. The two scenarios couldn’t be more different or compelling.

There’s a ‘knottier’ question though, and I suspect I’ll resolve my dilemma as I reach conclusions about this:

At the end of life, what will I regret NOT doing?

That’s the game changer and it’s a tough one. The unknowns are problematic. There are no guarantees. Anything can happen at any time to alter circumstances. There’s a haunting sense of carpe diem. Time is running out but there’s no way of knowing how much is left.

I want it all of course! I want to experience the joys of participating in the lives of my children and grandchildren. I want to continue my Bali adventure. There are still places in the world I want to see, and some I’ve seen that I want to revisit. I’m fortunate to have those options and the good health to pursue them…now. But most of all, when I approach that future time when memories replace movement and possibilities have reached the age limit, I want no regrets.

 

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28 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mike2all
    Jan 31, 2018 @ 04:06:50

    I loved this.

    Mike

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  2. stevecastley
    Jan 31, 2018 @ 04:07:38

    Loved your post and your conflict. The juggling of two worlds is never easy, but a wonderful challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jan 31, 2018 @ 04:15:57

      Thanks for commenting, Steve. It’s strange how perspective morphs with age. The changes always seem to catch me a little off guard and I find myself in an all-or-nothing mindset. Then when I calm down and contemplate possibilities, they’re endless!

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  3. Cathy Inzer
    Jan 31, 2018 @ 04:27:42

    I’m very interested in your journey as Mother, Grandmother. I,too, am away from my grandchildren and children and see time ebbing away and I feel at a crossroads too. My children live in a very expensive area to live and it would be a financial hardship, so I’m looking forward to seeing your process!

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jan 31, 2018 @ 10:08:19

      Thanks for commenting, Cathy. There are creative ways around expensive living situations. If your children are in a larger city, housesitting can be a way to have your privacy yet be nearby. It isn’t a permanent solution but could allow you to spend longer times near them. Believe me, I’m looking at ALL the angles!

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  4. Anonymous
    Jan 31, 2018 @ 04:33:13

    Indeed a dilemma that I too have pondered and wrestled with. I’m sure you will figure out what works best so you can have a little of both, with no regrets. In the end, you have to be happy with your decision. Loved all the photos of your family!

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  5. shanemac
    Jan 31, 2018 @ 05:42:13

    You’ve expressed that dual pull so very well. But aren’t we so fortunate to be pulled in two directions. Aren’t we lucky to be living such a rich life. And thank you for reminding me that the possibilities are endless.

    Liked by 1 person

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  6. sageblessings
    Jan 31, 2018 @ 11:58:52

    I know you’ll have support for whatever decision you make…perhaps not either/or but the richness of both.

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Margaret Manning
    Jan 31, 2018 @ 23:25:43

    Hi Sherry – perhaps consider alternating between locations every 3 months? ❤

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jan 31, 2018 @ 23:49:30

      Sounds perfect, Margaret. But what about my month in Italy, Portugal, or France, and a jaunt to Cambodia and Thailand thrown in for good measure? A little more time at the drawing board and I’ll have it DOWN!

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  8. Anonymous
    Feb 03, 2018 @ 10:58:59

    Thank you for sharing your internal struggle so eloquently, Sherry. Denise W

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  9. anonymous
    Feb 19, 2018 @ 21:52:11

    Thank you for your blog, your adventures and the connection you have with yourself and others. It’s an amazing trip that you have journeyed. I too really do want a place to live where I can say that it truly is a place that I love and can live out the rest of my life. I have so much fear in doing that. Why? Maybe it has to do with health issues, leaving family, money. Would really like for something positive to happen in my life like moving to Bali and living a happy life is really all I ask.

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Feb 20, 2018 @ 09:59:02

      There will always be fear. For me, the fear of NOT living became so much bigger than the fear of the unknown that I was able to take that leap. You say you really do want a place to live that you love. The true test is whether or not you want it badly enough to actually give yourself that gift. Your life will never be the same if you honor your own desires in that way.

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  10. Cathy
    Feb 23, 2018 @ 09:07:21

    I just reread this post, because I am still wrestling between what do I really want and is that getting confused with what I am expected to want. (Moving closer to children/grandchildren) But something new caught my eye this time in your blog. It was that you “created a life around writing”. Would you go more into depth about that? How does writing come into your daily life? I have started a common writing practice of writing in the morning and find it very rewarding, and I’m curious how you have created your life around it? Thank you!

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Feb 23, 2018 @ 10:35:59

      I’d be happy to tell you about my writing life. But first a few words about expectations.

      Expectations, especially those of family, make it hard to distance yourself from what you think they want and really hear your own heart. But I know from experience, if you sacrifice your life to do what you think you’re expected to do, nobody is happy, least of all you.

      When you move away from family it’s important to have a passion to take with you. No matter how exotic and exciting the new place is, the thrill isn’t sustainable unless you bring something of your own to it.

      As for my life, I’ve always loved to write but didn’t make it a career. About a year before I retired I had an idea for a novel and began working on it. When I knew I wanted to live in Bali the first thing I did was research online for a writers group in Ubud. Shortly after I arrived I joined the group. I finished the novel, then wrote a memoir, and then started another novel. At the same time I was posting to my blog and writing articles for several publications. I wrote every day sometimes for many hours.

      I’ve been doing that for six years and my passion for words is stronger now than ever and by taking to heart the savvy critiques of the writers group, my skills have improved exponentially.

      I can’t tell you what to do, Cathy, but I can tell you what not to do: Don’t waste your life in indecision. Make a choice. If it doesn’t work out the way you’d hoped, make another choice. Everything changes and time is passing…

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  11. thomasthethinkengine
    Mar 19, 2018 @ 07:35:06

    Hi Sherry

    I’m a freelance journalist writing a story about retiring overseas for a publication called In The Black.

    You seem very well positioned to talk a bit about why people retire overseas – and as this post shows, some of the complicated emotions doing so can cause.

    I’d love to see if I can get your voice into the story! Would you be willing to help me out with a few questions I have?

    1. Who is retiring overseas? What kind of people, from what countries, and what’s their motivation?
    2. What’s the best part of it? What are the downsides?
    3. Does anyone ever move back home?
    4. What are the risks and traps that people don’t think of?
    5. Do the local people welcome retirees?

    If you’d like we can chat by phone or I’d also be very happy to just correspond by email. I’m on jasemurphy@gmail.com.

    Thanks!!

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