Be as happy as you decide to be

In 1966, our young family sadly decided to leave Edmonton, Alta. because my husband had accepted a teaching position in a small church-related college in Kansas.
Designed by British city planners, Edmonton is a wonderful place. At the time, the streets were all numbered. The north-south streets were called “avenues” and the east-west streets were “streets.”
As a result, you never needed a map. You could just drive to any address in the city.
But there was one problem. The North Saskatchewan River flows through the city, so sometimes when you were just a block away from your destination, you realized the street ended at the river gorge.
On the other hand, the river was part of the charm of the city. And city planners made the most of the river valley. There were hiking and biking trails, ski and toboggan runs, and many parks.
In the summer, we often went to Kinsmen Park for supper with friends.
Nestled deep in the valley, Kinsmen had something for everyone. There was a wading pool, playground equipment, and a Pitch ’n Putt golf course.
High above the park is the spectacular High Level Bridge which crosses the gorge. Built of steel trusses on concrete piers, the bridge was finished in 1913.
It towers 156 feet above the river, is one-half mile long, and has two levels.
At the time, the top level accommodated trains while the second level had a two-lane road.*
How could we leave such a wonderful city? We would miss our friends, our church, live theatre, and daily skating on our local rink.
To make things worse, our eight-year-old daughter emphatically did not want to move. And our son’s five-year-old friend, Corrine, announced to their Sunday School class, “Poor Conrad is moving to Kansas and he’ll have to stay in the basement all the time because of tornadoes.”
Yet, I was sure everyone would love living in a small college town, where we would know our neighbours and could walk to church and the post office.
Indeed, we soon were settled happily in our new home. And by December, our daughter declared, “Now you have really ruined my life. If we moved back to Edmonton, I would miss my friends here!”
Last weekend, we played Rook with our friends, Evelyn and Ralph. Evelyn talked about how much they had hated leaving their long-time home in St. Louis, but they wanted to retire in her hometown, near friends and family.
Once here, they bought a beautiful house, complete with a jacuzzi. Later, they moved to a small duplex in a retirement village.
She said that every stage was great, but they’re very happy where they are now!
A long time ago I heard this story: a woman was moving to a new city and she asked a person from that city, “Will I be happy there?”
In reply, the person said, “Are you happy where you live now? Well, you’ll be just as happy or unhappy as you are here.”
Many post-retirement people need to move from long-term homes. Some move closer to their children; others move to retirement facilities.
If you face such a decision, keep this thought in mind. When you move, you take yourself along, so you can be just as happy as you decide to be!
*To see pictures of this impressive structure, search for “High Level Bridge Edmonton” on the Internet.

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