We had lived in Tampa as newlyweds in the mid 1970's, then had moved. We didn't return for 30 years and when we did (it was for a college visit with our son) it was in August, definitely not our favorite time of year.
But now he's retired, and back in January, I had picked out a retirement date in 2020. We hopped on the Auto Train, spent two weeks in Florida, made contact with a real estate agent in Dunedin (the same county as St. Petersburg and Clearwater) and had high hopes. We concentrated on Dunedin after I asked my cousin in Tampa where he would recommend us to snowbird. We also checked out Sarasota, where another cousin's in laws had snowbirded for years.
The Dunedin agent (recommended by their Visitors Bureau) interviewed us over the phone while we were still in town, and agreed to put us on his list. We understood that his existing clients would come first but he would offer us (and other first timers) what he had left. He explained some of the rental laws and procedures.
Then, COVID-19 came along, and all we had left were memories.
Memories of dolphin art.
|Downtown Dunedin, Florida|
Memories of where we left a piece of our hearts.
We thought the dream was gone in the flood of Florida coronavirus cases. It's not a flood, actually - I need another word to describe what is happening right now. We never heard back. That didn't surprise us.
Incredibly, we heard from the agent last week.
And after some thought, we let go of the dream. We asked that we be kept on the list for 2021-22 but we were not interested in this winter.
It would seem the market for purchasing is strong. Rentals are a bit less desired, and I totally get that. Many people are prepared to go down there come whatever is to come, because none of us can see into the future.
But I am taking an educated guess.
I shouldn't say we've let go of the dream. We hope it is delay not goodbye. But we are seniors, both of us have preexisting conditions, and we had a family member (my spouse's developmentally disabled younger brother) go through COVID-19 back in April. We would have the trip down and back to consider, plus spending time in a state we are no longer comfortable with being in.
It's as simple, and as complex, as that.
It's going to be a long, cold winter. We're already trying to prepare.
Strangely, I'm not sad. Not yet. There has been so much change these past few months. We let go of this dream. Not the dream itself, though. We will just have to live that dream in a different way.
Have you let go of any dreams in the past few months?