Want to know what it's like to retire in Athens?
Had someone suggested a year or so ago that I would leave the Georgia coast where I had lived for almost fifty years, reared three children, had many interesting jobs and completed many varied endeavors, I would have said, ”You have to be joking.” Thankfully, the move happened so quickly that I did not have time to question it. The trajectory of my travels has been north to south, then north again. Moving to the coast of Georgia, marrying, rearing a family, I never tired of the locale, its history, and its ambiance. Various interests led to various career experiences, in education and retail ventures. My undergraduate and graduate degrees were in English, affording me the opportunity to teach, work for a newspaper, sell advertising, have several shops, plus enjoy the art of writing. Graduating from Griffin High, I never thought seriously of going to UGA, as I had my heart set on UNC. However, I ended up at my mother’s alma mater, Georgia College and State University. Instead of going to Atlanta as so many of my peers did after graduation, I headed south to the coast. There I truly expected to stay. But I have always said, never say never. Athens did hold an appeal as my youngest and his wife have lived and worked here since 2004. All three children matriculated at the University and were graduated from there. Then, I am a middle Georgia girl, a native of Griffin, Georgia. It has been an incredible move for me.
For those just moving here, an initial appeal has to be that something is always going on. Georgia football, cultural events, volunteer endeavors-all are easy to find and participate in.
The one complaint that one may voice every now and then is the bliss of summer time when streets are thinned of students. With a population that expands like an accordion, Athens stretches herself annually with the beginning of school. As much as I, like others, might fuss about no parking spaces down town, the beginning of a new school year revives the local scene each fall.
As a newcomer, I find myself more engaged in making new friends and meeting others. With a son and daughter-in-law here, I am fortunate. However their lives are so busy I have had to be independent. Taking the time to meet others, to engage in activities and to explore new interests has become important to me once more. A new locale is like a shot in the arm, producing a zest for exploration. I have to admit that living in one place for many years made me somewhat lackadaisical about exploring new pursuits. Now I enjoy each day- the wonder of what the day may bring.
If I left Athens, I would miss the aspect of a small town that bustles, changes, grows. There’s a vibe here. Fueled with the history of an outstanding university, memorable bands and music scene, the natural beauty of a riverfront community, Athens is a classic. It would be hard to duplicate.
Don’t forget that in the state of Georgia, anyone with 62+ years may attend the University and others in the university system free. Fill out the application; get a measles shot, and re-matriculate. A course in International Affairs, one in drawing, I love being a student again.
... check out Sudy's day in the life.