Sometimes I feel like I never left Long Island! That's because so many of us are currently living, visiting or snowbirding everywhere I go down here.
My best friend from our East Meadow elementary school, Jane E., lives 30 minutes away. She also followed me out to Ohio State University some 40 years ago.
As I sit here, I'm thinking "40 years ago" - which makes me wonder if it's true that time really does fly. When we were teenagers and our parents were 50-plus, that seemed really old to us.
People born around 1947 (which is when I was born) are called leading-edge baby boomers. Next year, in 2006, the first of the baby boomers are turning 60 years old (or young, depending on your attitude). In 20ll, the first baby boomers will be turning 65 - which is what the government officially calls a senior.
Somehow, I try not to concentrate on aging in a negative fashion. Each year is an adventure, with some better than others. The concept of "positive aging" is catching on as people are becoming more active, inquisitive and creating better attitudes as the years go by. A writer penned the term "Putting Old on Hold." It makes sense - but each of us plans our own life journey.
So now let's go back to Florida, where so many people from Long Island meet their neighbors and often reunite with school friends from many years ago. Today, at the dog park watching Coco run to greet people rather than other dogs, I met a West Babylon, a Merrick, a Bellmore, a Roslyn, a Freeport, and a couple from Sayville.
I don't bother to count people from New Jersey, Philly, Boston and Chicago, because I really don't know their geography. I just know that the South is rapidly filling up with people from the North!
Even dining out, I see people from all walks of my former Long Island life, including people in their 80's and 90's who used to be friendly with my late parents. I have some unconscious desire to reconnect with my past,which is getting longer and longer. From what I hear,I am not alone feeling that way.
My husband and I are the minority in our active adult community. We still work. Good jobs are extremely hard to find (I'm beginning to think there are none at all!), so my husband has been cultivating the employment market with alot of discouragement. Recently, he found a job he really likes.
One way Palm Beach County (as well as the rest of Florida) is so similar to Long Island is that real estate has escalated to the point that the average home price here has jumped more than 36%percent in price from a year ago. The Florida Association of Realtors reports that those people who can afford larger homes often keep their original homes as investments. Million dollar homes are here to stay ---with asking prices in many Palm Beach mansions on or near the water going for well over $10 million.
The bargains of four years ago, when it was possible to purchase a new home for under $200,000 (without the extras which went on average for $20,000 way up)no longer exist.The South Florida Sun -Sentinel recently reported that the median home price in January 2005 was $361,800 for Palm Beach County.
Anyway, it's great to be from New York. Many of us are so connected to our pasts there that social fests become remembrance parties. It seems like those six degrees of separation make all of us one big family.
And, come March 5 and 6, I am recreating an event I started in Long Island. In the early 1990s, we called it "The 50-Plus Expo," which we later changed to "The 40-Plus Expo. Here we are calling it "Seniors and Boomers, Smart Consumers Expo." Same show, different places.
Some things never change. And I am really glad they don't.