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On Snowbirding
January 24, 2022

Who Really Qualifies as a Snowbird?

As I mentioned last week, I’m newly 65 years old. I used to think that was old, but old is a weird term. When one steps into the generally accepted parameters of the word, those parameters morph. Its boundaries are fluid. 

With every stage in life, there are tremendous benefits, and flying south for the winter has been a goal of mine since I was about twelve. A week or two at the beach has never felt long enough. 

Beach Hide and Seek

In fact, I’ve been practicing being a snowbird for a while now. Over the last few years, I’ve spent a few Novembers on St. Pete Beach. Last year, we followed kids and a grand to Venice, FL, extending our stay to two months. This year, we’re back in Venice for three. 

I’m not even sure we can technically claim the snowbird title just yet. I think The Season is at least four months long. Plus, we still have a workday/weekend schedule of sorts. We’ll get there eventually.

And there’s the whole thing about not fitting into the traditional snowbird mold. But then, I don’t see that many people down here who do. Once again, I’m reminded that attempting to pigeonhole people based upon general assumptions will bite us. And we risk losing out on fascinating nuances of individuals. 

The Law of Attraction

Furthermore, I believe wherever we are, in whatever stage we happen to be in, we will find what we’re looking for. We attract what we put out there. 

Sure, we went to dinner at 4:00 the other night, but we went with Linda and Karl from Boston. Fun, new, interesting friends we met here at Bird Bay Village. We laughed and shared stories. Enjoyed gin and tonics and fresh grouper together. 

Villages

Have you noticed how many mature living complexes use the word Village in their names? Don’t be fooled. The most constant sound in our little village is the professional whack of pickleballs, the water aerobics class broadcast at 10:15 A.M., and the cheers coming from the bocce ball court. The outdoor yoga is excellent!

My observation is that snowbirds are happy. It’s a settled kind of happiness that comes from knowing what matters and a deep appreciation for each new, healthy day. And they are active. And curious. And fun. Energetic. Friendly and welcoming. This whole snowbird thing, which I’m coming to believe may have a bad rap as an old person’s gig, may, in fact, be a secret to staying young. 

Packing up half of one’s belongings and relocating 1000 miles south for several months is not for everyone. I get it. But for now, as I figure out this not-really-on-vacation-sort-of-living-here thing, I’ll volunteer to be your reporter from the field. 

Fun sidenote: 

If you think snowbirding cuts ties from home, not true. As we were seated at our waterfront table at Casey Key Fish House at 4:00 P.M. with our new Florida friends, I glanced at the table next to ours and what do you know? There sat Tracy Buck, my teacher friend from Center Grove High School.  

The Indiana/Florida Connection

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3 Comments

  1. What a lovely story, Joni. Thanks for sharing! And, yes, I’m noticing how much contentment can be had here in humble surroundings.

    Reply
  2. Debi, My Dad used to say when I called and asked how he was doing, “Just another day in paradise!” I am so glad you get this amazing opportunity. My Grandparents moved to Englewood when I was 5 years old. Then when we visited Gulf to Bay mobile home park. I learned that the retired chef from the Waldorf Astoria had a specific place to find oysters and no one got to go with him! That is only one story. They lived in a very humble small trailer with a cabana and it is there to this day!!! The trailer park is divided in two due to the highway. The gulf is on one side, the bay where there are docks and boats on the opposite side. All within walking distance. So many fine people doing lots of stuff together.

    Reply

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Debi Dixon

Debi Dixon

The Universe is guiding me on an incredible adventure: my Plan B. I write here to share bits of my Odyssey, hopefully to inspire, encourage, or extend the virtual hand of friendship.

When I quit teaching in 2014, I could never have imagined the growth I would experience through travel, writing, reading, therapy, and introspection.

I believe human connection and compassion will go a long way toward our healing, and the best way to connect and feel compassion for one another is through the sharing of our stories.

Thank you for joining me here. I appreciate you and may we grow together.

Inspirational Quote

“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”
~Joseph Campbell

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