How Joy Ends Up at The Jersey Shore in January!

Most people do not spend the winter on the Jersey Shore They retreat to warm climes like Florida, Arizona, or in our case, Mexico. Parts of Jersey are absolutely beautiful and not at all what my brain visualizes. As with many people, my vision was based on the popular TV program of 2009-2012 (did it really run that long?!!) with characters like Snooki and JWoww portraying a stereotypical Italian family of beach vacationers. I watched the show once. Not being a reality TV fan, it wasn’t my bag. I digress…

This was to be my husband’s and my fifth winter in Ajijic, our little ex-pat home in Mexico. Two weeks before the departure date, as David went to pack, he noticed (quite to his surprise – make that, disbelief!) that his passport had expired in November!!! It was almost 11:30 on a Friday night, so after a series of expletives left my lips, we realized we had to come up with a solution to our new-found predicament.

Why do problems always arise on a weekend?! I scoured blog after blog and the entire U.S State Department’s website looking for information detailing what a renewal of a passport means in the time of Covid. Expedite takes on a totally new meaning. Everything I read indicated the renewal would take between four to six weeks, rather than the 72 hours it used to take if you paid extra and went directly to a passport office. Oh so long ago! Covid has turned everything on its head.

Monday morning, we found out that everything I had read was indeed the case, so after filling out the application and taking the requisite photo, as well as paying an additional fee, there wasn’t much we could do but wait it out. Me, being an action driven person, knew I had to figure out a back-up plan. Small detail, we had rented out our primary residence for the first time ever and those people had given up their lease to move to our house the following week.

Thank God I am blessed with wonderful friends and family members. I made several frantic calls explaining our soon to be homeless situation. Lesson to be learned, always make friends with beach houses! You never know when they might come in handy. We wound up with several choices, all excellent, but my good friend A suggested waiting out the passport delay at her place on the Jersey Shore – Long Beach Island, or LBI for those in the know. Not a bad option!

So, dog in tow and bags packed with sweaters instead of bathing suits and shorts, we wait for the passport. With vaccinations rolling out for us “elderly” folk, we hope to be inoculated before leaving the United States for what might not be winter by the time we get there!

Life throws us curves constantly. We must be ready to catch them, pivot, go with the flow. If we don’t, we will be miserable and grumpy, a state of being I can’t be with a name like “joy”! So much pressure.

So, this morning as I walked the dog on the beach with the sun rising over the beautiful Atlantic, I thought to myself, how lucky am I? Winter at the Jersey Shore, a wonderful surprise!

Today’s Takeaway.s..

-Be flexible. Go with the flow. Embrace what life tosses your way.

-As my daughter, Dana, said to me when learning of the passport fiasco, “No one died. No one has Covid. You will or you won’t get to winter in the Mexican sunshine this year.” Not so terrible. For sure, first world problems!!

Again, thank you, A, for being our savior!

Enjoy the ride.

xox Barclay and Joy

2020, Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

Barclay here.

My bangs were too long and refused to be swept to the side. It was time to show them the scissors. Now in the past, this has resulted in short, uneven locks, so before chopping, I decided to consult an online expert. I found a cheerful YouTuber with a confident air and perfect, wispy bangs. Her first bit of bang-cutting wisdom? Don’t go near the scissors if you are drunk. She was quite serious about this. She said that this past year many people tried to cut their own hair during and after happy hour and the results were not pretty. Isn’t that so 2020? Cocktails have been starting earlier and earlier, bringing with them the temptation to create a new you, forgetting the small fact that you were not a rising star in cosmetology school, for the simple reason that you did not attend one.

I took the YouTuber’s sage wisdom to heart. But I still wound up with non-wispy bangs.

2020 has brought us not only uneven hair, but also a nostalgia for former days when we did not have to scurry across the street at the sight of another dog walker heading our way, or glare at that Costco shopper whose mask kept slipping below his nose as he drifted into our six feet of space. We are yearning for normalcy. We are ready to welcome 2021 to the stage and boot 2020 out the door. Here at Revisionist Retirement, we wish for you –

Family get-togethers where old gripes have dimmed because you are so appreciative of seeing each other in person and not as postage stamps on your laptop screen.

Dining and shopping inside, flashing your teeth as you smile broadly at pure strangers, sparking conversations, just pleased that your smile is visible.

Walking in the company of more than one person, side by side, not separated by the entire street and not having to yell through a mask.

Freedom from fear. Not thinking a sneeze is a straight shot to hospitalization and a ventilator.

Seeing a movie. In a theatre. With people around, munching greasy popcorn.

Attending church in person, sweating through a yoga class, gabbing with your hairdresser. Traveling to see friends and family for big turkey dinners and lazy TV watching.

And a deeper faith in your God who sees it all – the scary sneezes, the tired dogs, and the choppy bangs.

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Joy here.

On the hair note, let me add, that I’d never seen that much grey in my hair. In May when I began to see it glaring back at me, I texted my good friend, Bruce, for help. He styles and colors hair for a living and has for decades. He very sweetly came upstate, over two- and- a half hours away to rescue me from old age! Outside in the fresh air with accoutrements packed neatly, he restored my youth! Boy, was I thankful for having a colorist as a friend!

2020 also meant not seeing my family. I missed my older daughter who was in lockdown abroad. I hadn’t seen her in nine months – the longest I had ever gone without seeing her. My heart ached for a hug, a smile, a Zoom-less get together. As for my younger daughter, she was hunkered down for three months in California learning to adjust to living with her boyfriend. (If that isn’t a way to speed up a relationship or destroy it, I don’t know what is!)

The pandemic taunted us and played with our emotions. Would I get it? Would my friends or loved ones get it? How could we, who are now considered “elderly” (only chronologically!), protect ourselves from something that seemed to stymie even the most brilliant scientists and research?

Barclay and I are looking forward to 2021 which represents a light at the end of this long dark road. We anxiously await hugs upon hugs. Kisses too. Human touch. (Please don’t make hand shakes a thing of the past.) We find peace knowing that we have not gone through this alone, but have been surrounded by so many who share our state of mind. Eventually, the vaccine will be given to all who want it, whether you are next in line or 20 groups behind. There is hope that this too shall pass and enter the annals of history, as did the 1918 Spanish flu, SARS, MERS, H1N1, and Ebola.

So, good-bye 2020. We don’t love you; we only knew you for a couple of short months before you turned ugly. But thank you for reminding us to be grateful for people, family, and faith.

We wish you, our readers, our loyal followers and those who have just read us for the first time, peace, joy, good health and, of course, perfect bangs!

Enjoy the ride.

xox Barclay and Joy