The last few days have been quiet news-wise so I haven’t had anything in particular to write about. I hope everyone had a good holiday yesterday and at some point reflected on the man and ideals that brought that holiday about.
Today’s topic is simply a little about my life. Sorry if it's less interesting than my normal topics.
I lived in Miami, Florida, from September, 1999, until June, 2006, almost 7 years. It’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere since I was 19 years old (I’m 53.) My career with the U.S. government, both military and Civil Service, kept me moving just about every 2 ½ years, on average. Between 1977 and 1999, the longest I lived anywhere was just under 4 years on two separate occasions. But I also lived in two places for less than 18 months so the average worked out. My point is that I moved around every 2 to 3 years during my 30 year government career.
I don’t regret those moves. I’ve lived in some very interesting places. I lived in Colorado twice. I lived in California twice. I lived in Germany and Puerto Rico. And I lived in Florida. I also did some time in Alabama and Kansas, two of my least favorite assignments (although, I have to admit, Alabama was a very interesting and friendly place and it’s a beautiful state.) In my lifetime I’ve lived in 18 different places, although a couple of them have been in the same state, just not the same, exact place. That actually averages out to moving almost every three years throughout my life. I personally think I’m a much more rounded and knowledgeable person for it.
I know people, my sister for one, who have lived in the same town for most of their lives, if not their entire life. And while I don’t disparage that in any way and sometimes envy it for the stability and the lifelong friends they have, I prefer to have lived my way. I have enjoyed the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen and done. I’ve truly enjoyed the people I have met along the way. I have friends in half of the states in the Union and outside the country in at least two different places. Most of my friends and family don’t know what that’s like.
And now I’m back in Florida and it’s time to settle down. Barrie and I are in the right part of Florida. We’re not close to the beach but close enough. We’re an hour away from any major city but that’s close enough for us. (There is no traffic, no crowds and no noise like in Miami.) We could be a little further South where it would be warmer during the winter months but there isn’t anything in the center of the state South of Okeechobee except the Everglades so no place to live or work.
I loved the Miami area with all the things to see and do. South Beach was just up the road, the Everglades were the other way, and there were hundreds, if not thousands of things to see and do all over town. Fort Lauderdale was a great place to go for a day and Key Largo was just an hour to the South. However, the number of people and the traffic often destroyed any fun you might have. I lived 18 miles from downtown Miami, where I worked. If I left my house at 6:15am it took me about 28 minutes to get to work. For every 15 minutes later that I left the house you could add about 15 minutes to your drive time. If I left at 7:30am it took at least an hour and a half to drive the 18 miles. The freeways and US-1, the main thoroughfare from Homestead to Fort Lauderdale, were parking lots after about 7am. Driving home in the afternoon took at least 45 minutes to an hour, depending on which route you took. I found back roads that added 5 or 6 miles to the distance but cut the drive time because there was less traffic.
When I moved to Ohio a few years ago and people complained about the traffic I just laughed. I wasn’t trying to be mean or condescending but after living in Miami and Puerto Rico (where it once took me 3 hours and 45 minutes to go 8 miles), traffic in Ohio just wasn’t all that bad.
Barrie and I both love the ocean and the beach. As the crow flies we’re about 22 miles from the Gulf of Mexico however, there is really no good beach closer to us than about 90 minutes. We can be in Clearwater in less than 2 hours and in Daytona in just over 2 hours. Beach trips will be day-long excursions but I can live with that. In fact, I plan to live with it.
We’re where we want to be in a state that has warm, sunny weather at least 10 months a year. The colder temperatures in December and January only serve to remind us why we left Ohio and Kentucky. We plan to stay here after Barrie retires and travel to the other places we want to see. Moving to Florida was like coming home. All in all, life is good.