• Susan L.

Destination Unknown

It all started with a conversation my husband and I had several months ago about getting an early start on our retirement plans. Even though we are still several years away from retiring, we had been pondering the idea of buying some property out of state where we planned to live permanently once we retire. In the meantime, we would use it as a vacation getaway while continuing to work towards paying it off. We had always dreamed of living in Arizona, and the idea sounded very appealing. We soon began researching the area, as well as the cost of living and real estate market.

A small community in the White mountains seemed like the perfect place to spend our golden years, and we excitedly made plans to visit the area. We couldn’t wait, and made arrangements to look at real estate right away!

Our destination was about 11 hours away, and we planned to drive over the course of two days. We were only 2-1/2 hours away from home and hadn’t even crossed the state line when we hit a mammoth sized pothole that blew out the front tire. Since we have run-flat tires which allow us to drive on a flat for at least 50 miles, we got off the interstate at the next exit. We were sorely disappointed however when we discovered the only tire shop in town was closed. Since most new cars like ours don’t come with spare tires anymore, we now had a real dilemma on our hands!

Long story short, we had to get towed 35 miles back to the town we had already passed over an hour ago. To make matters worse, the mechanic didn’t have the right size tire in stock and it would be two more days before he could get one delivered. That meant losing two days of our carefully planned trip. As I look back, I believe this was an omen!

Soon we were back on the road again and were more than ready to get to our destination. When we finally arrived, we were surprised to find that it was cold and rainy in Arizona. We checked in to our hotel and quickly unpacked and settled in before contacting the real estate agent.

It didn’t take us long to fall in love with the charming little community just outside of town, and we both agreed that it was perfect! But before doing anything too impulsive, we told the agent that we wanted to sleep on it before making our final decision.

Needless to say, it was a very sleepless night! Instead of feeling excited about the possibility of owning some property, all we could think about was all the reasons why we shouldn’t. Once reality set in, we sadly agreed that it was too soon to be making such a big investment at this point in our lives.

The next morning, we called the real estate agent and told him what we had decided. Soon after, we packed our bags and left. On the drive back, we both felt let down and disappointment hung over our heads like a thick black cloud.

By the time we got home, we were both edgy and irritable. Our wedding anniversary was only four days away, and all we seemed to do lately was argue. I felt terrible! We finally sat down that evening and had a long talk about what was really bothering us.

We both agreed that our lives had become mundane, and somewhere along the line had lost its luster. Somehow, we had rationalized that planning prematurely for our future in Arizona seemed like the solution to all our problems. It was a relief to talk things out, and we made some necessary changes in our day to day lives and soon had a better perspective.

I believe this experience has brought us closer, and consider ourselves very lucky to avoid having made a potentially unwise decision. Although planning for your future is certainly necessary, it is also something that cannot be rushed.

Just the other day, I came across this meaningful quote that fits this story quite well:

Beware of destination addiction: The idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job, or even with the next partner. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are.

~Robert Holden

Wishing you all a wondrous week!