Recently, I asked my granddaughter, Frankie, “On a scale of one to ten, how happy are you?” This bubbling, smiling voice answered quite emphatically, “twelve.” I may not be a “twelve” but my happiness quotient surely is a “ten” on a scale of one to ten.
I love living in our community, Sun City Shadow Hills, 15 miles east of Palm Springs and 130 miles or so from both Los Angeles and San Diego. Nine months out of the year, the weather is fantastic. Granted, the summer is bearably hot. Yes, the Chamber of Commerce calls it a dry heat but, on those few days that reach 115 degrees, it’s just hot. About half our population leaves for the north for those three or more months. My husband Robert and I take this time to travel.
Our community has given me an opportunity to pursue my love of writing. I’ve taught a writing course for residents and I write and edit for our magazine, the View. Although I volunteer my time, being a member of the Communications Committee enables me to contribute to producing a magazine of superb quality. This may sound like it’s all work for this retiree, but there’s plenty of fun.
One of the joys of living here in our desert community has been the dear friends I have met, especially my women friends who accept me for who I am. We talk about our lives, our loves, our struggles with children, health, our failures at new endeavors we try, our common interests of golf and bridge, and our spiritual lives. We discuss the books we read plus the plays and movies we see, often sharing those books, scripts, and DVDs with each other, delighting in those that agree with us and despairing about those who don’t. I have found a valued treasure in an intellectual community that loves learning as I do.
We have wonderful neighbors. When we travel, our friend and neighbor, Joy, cares for our house and our mail and handles any emergency that arises. We return the favor joyfully. Our friends Bill and Jennifer always make sure we have a ride to and from the airport. This generous and supportive neighborhood provides us with a very secure feeling.
Twice a month I meet with a group of women to play bridge. In addition, Robert and I play couple’s bridge with friends at least once a month. Although I have played bridge for over twenty-five years, I still have much to learn — not because I wish to be an expert with Master Points in ACBL but because I want to challenge myself to get better. Most of all I want to grow in appreciation of the friends that I play with each time, enjoying the laughter, the learning, and the love that pervades the atmosphere.
With our fitness center only a quarter-mile away, working out at least four times a week helps to keep us healthy. But this is not my only exercise. Even though I consider myself a fledgling next to the three women with whom I play nine holes of golf each week, this does not negate that I have been practicing this game on and off for twenty-five years. Having the time now to get more consistent, I’m getting slightly better although this week may make a liar out of me. But I’ll keep showing up because I love the game and my friends.
How did we meet these wonderful friends? In addition to getting the Bridge Club started, we got active immediately with the Community Singers, Performing Arts, Computer Club, Tutta Bella Vino (the wine club), and the Democratic Club. Robert, a photographer for the View, also belongs to the Camera Club. Now there are fifty-two clubs here to stoke one’s passions. These clubs are formed by residents who have a specific interest. If you’re curious about our community, go to scshca.com and read the View. Sun City Shadow Hills is a Del Webb community but, because all of these developments are designed around their environment, they differ radically. Our community has been named by Where to Retire magazine, as one of the “Top Fifty Best Places to Retire in America” and the only community to make the list in Southern California.
If you visit here, you may meet me on Sun City Boulevard walking our standard poodle, Olivia, testing our endurance with long morning walks through the three sections of the community and getting to know the smells, the flowers, the verdant landscapes, and our fellow walkers. In the hotter months, we enjoy the evening darkness with shorter walks, feeling very secure even though many times we are the only ones on the street.
Yes, I love where I live: my friends, my neighbors, my fellow volunteers, my clubs, and, of course, my home.