Life has its passages, some more monumental than others. As of today, my wife Liz and I own an apartment in a retirement community in Annapolis overlooking the Chesapeake Bay (if you look closely enough).
Our move was originally scheduled for the past Friday. However, a major snafu by a New York bank caused the postponement of our settlements in Easton and Annapolis and hence our move. We become Annapolis residents on Thursday.
As both Liz and I said last week in “exit” interviews conducted expertly by Dave Wheelan, editor-publisher of the Chestertown, Cambridge and Talbot Spies, we are moving to be near family after 44 years living in a place that we have loved, and where we have set down deep roots. Our passage is geographic and emotional.
BayWoods of Annapolis is a continuing care retirement community. We will enjoy independent living until we can’t. We have accepted our increasing age and the desire—and maybe the need—to be near family as we grow older and infirmed.
These words do not flow easily.
On the one hand, it seems illogical to leave a place where we have established personal, professional and medical relationships. Friendships and comfortable surroundings contribute to pleasant living and mental well-being.
Why leave what satisfies your soul and gladdens your heart?
On the other hand, we will be able to spend more time with grandchildren, 10 and nearly 8, our youngest daughter and son-in-law and a sister-in-law. We will be 45 minutes closer to our eldest daughter, who lives in northern Baltimore County. The warmth of family caring has driven our decision-making.
What amuses me as we begin our last chapter of life, we will be living in a 1,380-square-foot apartment as if we were newlyweds. Instead of accumulating material items as one does in laying the foundation for years of nesting, we have downsized in ways that we never would have envisioned.
An inevitable aspect of this process is grieving. We are leaving one phase of our lives for another, realizing our years are diminishing on Planet Earth. Reality demands honesty and determination.
Giving in and giving up are not positive actions. Moving forward despite changed circumstances makes sense to me.
We will become part of a small community inhabited by some folks ambulating with the help of walkers and canes (I have one). BayWoods has no resemblance to a youth hostel. Women predominate. Reasons are obvious to anyone who studies actuarial tables.
I will continue to write for the Spy group, hoping I can observe and comment from the perspective of a longtime Shoreman and a new resident of our capital city. Readers will judge the results.
While I will keep looking east, where I’ve spent nearly 59 percent of my life, I will examine issues in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County that might relate to the Mid-Shore. To no one’s surprise, I will stay attuned to the political machinations entwined with the proposed building of the third Bay Bridge span and its impact on the Shore.
In two years we will have a gubernatorial election, in which I’m keenly interested. Who will vie with Comptroller Peter Franchot, an already declared candidate, for the Democratic nomination? Who will run for the GOP nomination and try to succeed the wildly popular Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican leader in a heavily Democratic state?
Neither my wife nor I will become mushrooms in what we understand is an active, engaged community. We will participate in the Annapolis community as long as we can be productive–and retain our ties to the Shore.
We are not entering a convent. We will not hide behind our chronological ages and decline to enter the mix. Hibernation does not fit our DNAs.
This arduous passage involves leaving behind a town and county filled with bountiful memories and wonderful people. We have an additional chapter to enjoy.
The Chesapeake Bay will remain our anchor. We will scan it daily, understanding it represents the heartbeat of Maryland. It may separate the shores, but the health of this estuary and its numerous tributaries affects all of us.
Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland. Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer. In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia.