Everything can change in an instant. A week ago, on Tuesday morning, my dad called me. He told me that the company that he works for, New England Motor Freight, is shutting down. He is, or was, a truck driver. He worked there since before I was born. By the end of this week, my dad will be out of a job.
I never thought that my parents and I would end up going through the exact same situation. It has made me think about all that has transpired in our lives the last few years.
We thought life was great in Pennsylvania. We had good jobs, and a brand new house, bought in our first year of marriage. Then I got laid off from my job. We both bounced around with other jobs after that, and nothing was ever the same. We were not happy. We decided to go back to school and get bachelor degrees in graphic design. That was when Derek knew that graphic design was what he wanted to do professionally. There was nothing holding us back in Pennsylvania, so Derek applied to graduate schools. Even though it was a three-year process, me getting laid off lead us to Houston. We had no idea what was going to happen, but we knew we could no longer stay where we were.
Now my mom and dad are facing that same dilemma. They live in New Jersey, which is one of the most expensive states to live in. Property taxes are high. Like us three years ago, they can no longer stay where they are. They are planning on putting their house up for sale next month.
They do have a plan in place. They want to move to Maryland. For the last few years they have been volunteering with the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. Through that, they have become familiar with the area. They have their favorite coffee shops and restaurants, and they have made friends with other railroad workers. This was always their retirement plan, but this was not supposed to happen for another few years yet. Dad is not quite at retirement age, but at least he is close. He has looked at all of the figures, and although the budget will be tight, early retirement is doable.
There is some comfort that they are not going to this place sight unseen, which is what happened to us when we moved to Houston. We had absolutely no idea what we were getting ourselves into. It is still going to be scary for them though.
They have a really nice home that they moved into when it was brand new, (when I was 11 years old) and it was customized for them. They might have to move into a less than ideal home in Maryland, to keep costs down. Dad is a handyman though, and he is capable of fixing a lot.
Again, this is also similar to what we went through. We loved our house in Wellsboro. It was the perfect size, actually, almost too big for just the two of us. It was pretty too. I still mourn my beautiful knotted pine kitchen cabinets. It was hard to downsize and get used to a new, cramped setting.
Since then we have worked our way up, and we are in a nicer apartment, and I know mom and dad too, will make a new house a home. Everything gets easier with a bit of time and hard work.