He has me thinking. I am 66. My husband is 67.
We have been discussing moving to New Zealand, assuming they would take people our age, but we have a multitude of skills and he is still actively working. His work could continue in New Zealand.
What is motivating this discussion?
We pay taxes. We are thrilled and honored to pay taxes that support education, infrastructure, parks, the environment, health care, and kind and compassionate care for the elderly and those who cannot provide for themselves.
Instead we live in a country where the defense budget is out of proportion to anything else, and is unrelated to real threats. We are a nation of fear. We promote fear. We stomp around like bullies. Yes, once, the U.S. was "number one" and seemingly "in charge" of taking care of the world. I was deeply touched by my visit to Bastogne, Belgium, and the memorial to the American soldiers wounded or killed during the Battle of the Bulge in WWII.
But lately we seem a country so divided that we can't even have a reasonable conversation around the ownership of guns. In other countries, a college education is free. Here, our students emerge in serious debt. How can that possibly be a way to begin the journey to a productive and fulfilling life? Where is our focus, our vision, and integrity?
We will visit New Zealand this spring. Perhaps it will seem confining and not for us, but we need to look. When I was in fifth grade going to Buffalo Bill Cody elementary school near LeClaire, Iowa, I had a teacher from New Zealand. He introduced the class to poetry. I'll never forget standing up reciting the then memorized John Masefield poem, Sea Fever. "I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky."
At the time, our home overlooked the Mississippi River. There was an island protecting our stretch from the main body of water. We had a dock for our boat, a boat my father built by hand, and we could ice skate over to the island in the winter. I could go alone, and perhaps felt at the time, I was going down "to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky." i had quite an imagination, was a great reader, and felt we had a forest on one side of our property. I could go there and be with the trees.
Though I love the stir of imagination, I don't believe in escape or jumping ship, but two of my mentors were German Jewish women forced to leave Nazi Germany. They came here to the U.S. Though they created a productive and fulfilling life here, they always missed their home, and they had no choice but to leave.
We have choice, and perhaps that is what this is for my husband and me, a need to constantly renew and research our choice. We were in New Zealand over thirty years ago. We were looking for a place to raise our sons. At the time, we realized we couldn't take them away from a country and a place where so much was happening technologically. Perhaps that is still true. When our son and his wife were in London for 18 months, we Skyped with them once a week. On the day of the American celebration of Thanksgiving, we saw their turkey enter the oven and emerge richly golden. It was like we were there.
I understand the internet is slow in NZ. Imagine that. Hmmm! Again, who knows, but this idea of the homestretch is with me. How I do I stretch and fully utilize with the greatest of my potential these valuable, final, and expanding years?
I'm with this poem today: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/242552