I’m seriously considering retirement.
I know what you’re thinking. Why would someone who’s obviously decades too young and in better shape than most of our Olympic athletes be thinking of hanging up her spurs?
Well, like one of my favorite cowboy musicians likes to sing “If you wait for the dinner bell to ring to wash your hands, you end up with leftovers. And that’s how I met you.”
Since retirement won’t happen immediately, I thought I should do some research to find a great town in which to spend my golden years. And the many years leading up to them.
So, here are my criteria for where I want to live and not work.
Friendly locals. “Good morning,” “Thank you” and “Excuse me” go a long way in my world, even if you don’t know someone. In my retirement destination, my off-leash dog will be scratched behind her ears instead of being the cause for a call to the dog catcher.
Friendly visitors. Most people traveling in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country are curious and open to conversation. My landing spot will attract the same type of visitor.
Entertainment. Since Dan Miller’s wife probably won’t let me take him with me, I need to find a place with good local music, art shows, fun runs, lectures, festivals, cattle auctions, rodeos and holiday gatherings.
Cultural attractions. As I was attending the Plains Indian Pow Wow at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West a couple of months ago, it occurred to me that I was immersed in an event featuring multiple languages, traditions, dress, dances, and more. Maintaining cultural identities helps us to understand how our ancestries shape the world. I will also want museums, historic sites, artist galleries, regional activities and the occasional music festival.
Historical significance. This one should be easy. I believe every place has an interesting history. Sometimes it takes more effort than an online search, but I love old archives in the library and tracking down a story by interviewing community elders.
Food. Good food is usually the result of local ingredients, ethnic traditions and techniques and recipes taught by somebody’s grandmother. I’m not a fan of processed food or meals that have been hauled in a freezer truck, but I will work hard to find the local restaurant that deserves to succeed.
Great weather. I love sunshine and dry air. And snow. And cool mornings. The changing of seasons is always welcome. Snow creates opportunities like skiing and snowmobiling. Rock climbing gives way to ice climbing. The same hiking trail is a new experience throughout the year as the temperatures change and different vegetation appears.
Am I asking too much for my retirement?
I don’t think I am, and because I already have all of these things I know places like this exist.
Umm, never mind. My search is over. I am staying here.
Until next week, I am lovin’ life – and enjoying some extra time now that I don’t need to move – in Cody, Wyo.