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Still vivid in my mind is that beautiful spring day driving into town with a perfect view of Mt. Hood's majestic glory.

I'm celebrating an anniversary this month — 30 years of being an Oregonian! It was April 14, 1992, when my husband and I began our new life in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Travel-weary after four days on the road with our son and daughter-in-law, who assisted with driving, and a dog notorious as a rambunctious car passenger, our Iowa citizenry had expired 2,000 miles ago.

Still vivid in my mind is that beautiful spring day driving into town with a perfect view of Mt. Hood's majestic glory and heading to the home we'd purchased in January. It must have been an early spring that year as the rhoddies were in full bloom entering our new neighborhood.

Making this move ranked high on the list of "Major Decisions" made in our 42 years of marriage. He was from Nebraska and I had spent my 61 years of life in Iowa. Our roots were deeply embedded in the Midwest. So why the big move at this stage of our lives?

It came about because of another bold decision. This one was made by our daughter in 1985 when she left what we assumed was a perfectly fine life in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, and moved to Seattle. The next year she migrated to Portland and in the following year, when she married, it seemed this was where she planned to settle in, especially after our first grandson arrived in 1990. During this time we had made a few trips to visit and felt it would be a fine place for our retirement years which became a reality in 1992.

The move had been overwhelming both physically and mentally. There were doubtful times as we downsized possessions accumulated in 34 years in a three-story home. We closed two businesses and left long-time friends and family members. It had definitely been a bittersweet time in our lives.

But it was a decision we never regretted. A second grandson arrived a month after our move and we happily assumed our grandparenting roles and enjoyed being close to our daughter and son-in-law. We made friends through our new church, volunteering and community activities and thoroughly enjoyed our new life.

Recalling this era, and how some of our friends questioned the sanity of the move, it has made me wonder about the life-altering decisions we all make through the years. For most of us it probably starts with the career we want to pursue and where to get the education we need for it. Then it's who to marry, or if to marry; if and when to start a family and how large it should be; where to live — which house to buy and in what neighborhood; to pursue a different career, make a job change, start a business; when and where to retire; and how and where to spend that final chapter of our life.

Our lives can go in so many different directions depending upon the decisions we make, and it's impossible to know if we made the right ones. Since I had no siblings to set examples for me, I more or less blazed my own trail and tried to make wise choices. I'm not saying that I never made hasty and unwise decisions, nor does one live a full life without some regrets along the way. But now, at age 91, I am content with the paths I chose to follow and thankful for the one we took 30 years ago.

Jo Ann Parsons is a member of the Jottings Group at the Lake Oswego Adult Community

Center.


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