Saturday, January 9, 2010

Decisions, decisions - part 4

Decisions are made virtually every second of our lives. Even when we sleep, decisions are made which effect our lives.

My first life-changing decisions were previously posted separately. This post combines three major ones within five years.

In the summer of 2000 we were to take our three (at that time) wonderful granddaughters on individual vacations of their choice. We always tried to have quality one-on-one time with them individually. So a great time was had with with 9 year-old Josie in historic Northumbria. A couple of weeks later, an equally great time with 7 year-old Asha in East Sussex exploring "Pooh Bear" country. On return, and before we had a chance to take dear Caitlin, then 5, anywhere, I suffered a mild, but nevertheless frightening, heart attack. Don't jump to any conclusions here - it was nothing to do with our girls - if anything, they helped me relax from the stresses of my work.

On recovering, thankfully fairly quickly, I was fortunate to be given the chance to take early retirement. An easy decision? I now think it was, but I'm not so sure I felt so then. After all, nine years early? With the support and encouragement, as always of Gail and our son and daughter, decision number 1 was made.

Before this, on various vacations, we had fallen in love with the southern Iberian Peninsular, and had talked about retiring there, either the Algarve or to neighboring Spain's Costa's. We now had an opportunity to do so, but would we take the plunge? It may have been brave, it may have been foolhardy, but finding on retirement that during my previously working hours the sun really didn't come out all that much, and that perhaps our finances could go stretch a little further in Andalusia, I started the research. There, decision number 2 made. Following our visit to North Carolina for our son's wedding, we did for a short time consider the possibility of moving to the US. However we stuck to our original plan, put our home on the market, sold most of our belongings and took a flight to Spain to check out the property in and around Málaga. UK property sold, Spanish property purchased, legal work completed and decision 2 carried through.

A good decision? Yes, although after four years and having visited North Carolina for an extended stay (Leslie, our daughter-in-law deserves sainthood for putting up with us), we realized we could never have made Spain our permanent home, even though we managed to have the quality time with each of our girls in turn, . . . so, let's start preparing for the big one - Decision Number Three!

This really was a big one. We really liked NC and after spending time here in the summer and winter months, checking out property (and the locals, and liking both), I still wasn't convinced. It took Gail quite a bit of persuasive argument to win me over. There was a great deal of agonizing, but eventually Gail's logic was spot on.

I have not regretted any of these decisions. Yes, we miss our family in England terribly, how could we not? But which one of our granddaughters spent nearly a month with us this past summer? If you are a regular reader you know the answer . . . . Caitlin had her quality time with Nan and Granddad after all.

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