(Leaving) California

A week ago, we packed both our cars and drove down Weir Canyon Rd. from our empty house at the top of the hill. Even though California has been our home for over fifty years, there were no tears, at least for me. Id been saying goodbye to people and places for weeks and I haven’t teared up yet. Selling our house, getting rid of stuff we no longer need, then packing and moving the rest has been an incredibly stressful process. The way I am, I tend to get through stressful times by putting emotions on hold and toughing my way through. The way I am, I know that once we are settled into our new house, I will have sit down, put on some sad music, and melt down.

California isn’t for everyone. I know lots of people who just want out. For one, housing is outrageously expensive, as are property taxes. We were fortunate to get into the housing market before prices took off, so we’ve been OK, but for those starting out, prices practically demand two income households. Traffic is horrific, worst during rush hour. Rush hour now runs roughly from two to nine as people shift their hours to avoid the worst of it. Certain stretches of freeway (like the 91 Freeway near our house) are always stop and go. We learned to time our travel to avoid rush hour or leave in plenty of time, checking GPS for the fastest route. Even the climate, which is fairly close to perfect, brings difficulties. Warm summers fill the hills with vegetation that become fodder for wild fires when the Santa Ana winds blow hot and hard in early autumn. We were evacuated from our Anaheim Hills home three times … the last time the fire came within one row of houses of our home. Then the winter rains bring mudslides.

But I will miss California. I will miss our beautiful house in the hills. I’ll miss the enclave we built in our oversized master bedroom and the lovely neighborhood we lived in. I will miss Yorba Regional Park which was like a second home to us where I could exercise, read, meditate, write and take photographs. I’ll miss the beaches, the sound of the surf and the sunsets over the water. I’ll miss the access to dozens of theater and concert venues and hundreds of restaurants that brought variety to our weekly date nights. Mostly, though, I’ll miss the people who inhabited our lives. Couples we met fifty years ago when we first arrived and those we gathered along he way. Friends and acquaintances I met through my Thursday Men’s group and through volunteering at the Service Office and the cat rescue. There will be holes in my week … Tuesday when I walked with my friend Ralph, Wednesday when I would take care of the kitties and Thursday meeting night … that will need to be filled. My wife Muri and I had hundreds of routines built around the people, places and things of our Southern California home and now we begin the process of building new ones here in Utah. Why is it that so often we don’t fully appreciate the fabric of our lives until we leave one tapestry behind to begin another?

So, goodbye California. Hello, Utah. I’ll be talking about the latter in the days to come.

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One Comment on “(Leaving) California”

  1. barrythewiz Says:

    Lots of great CA memories. Time to start making new ones. Enjoy!

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