Dad, Tricia’s retirement, moving to France – 2022

For many years I have followed Jimmy Buffett’s musical advice regarding New Years resolutions, “Yes, I’ll make a resolution/ That I’ll never make another one…” Yet that does not prevent a bit of reflecting on the past and glancing down the road ahead.

As 2022 begins I am reminded that with the passing of my mother in June of 2021, and my father in 2017, I am the oldest living member of the Christopherson line, there was a time that was called the patriarch, which is neither the role I play nor a well received term these days. My parents taught me a lot, this morning I am reflecting on 2022 with the wisdom of three of my father’s memorable quotes.

“Anticipation is always greater than realization.”

In March 2005 Alexis, Tricia, and I visited the Louvre (for the geographically challenged it is in Paris). We strategically arrived a bit before it opened so as to avoid the crowds that form in front of the Mona Lisa. Inside we made a dash past centuries of the best art in the world, made a right turn into a large, green walled room. We had beat the crowds so there were just a few of us face to face with one of the most famous paintings in history, our already eloquent 13 year old daughter succinctly expressed our shared impression of the Mona Lisa, “That’s it?” (Check out Tricia’s blog for more.)

Alexis at The Louvre

The reality of life is that we tend to build up our expectations, and too often the reality is quite different. The danger then is that we become disillusioned and stop dreaming. Robert Ringer wrote of maintaining a positive attitude by accepting the reality that much of what we attempt in life will not work out as planned, so he advised to not let that dash our positive attitude.

Many of us looked forward to 2021 with high expectations, yet the virus continues to rage, our country is more divided than ever, and our environment continues to be the victim of greed and power – anticipation has given way to realization.

One thing is certain, 2022 will be quite a year for us. Tricia retires in 10 days, our condo goes on the market in 24 days, and if all goes well we move to France in about 80 days. We have dreamed and planned for all of these long before they were put on hold in March of 2020. Our friends Shirley and Jim gave us a pillow for Christmas that describe the next phase well, “notre grand aventure.” We know it will not be exactly as we visualize it today, there will be detours and frustrations, but we are committed to take the rest of Jimmy’s advice, “Just enjoy this ride on my (our) trip around the sun/ Just enjoy the ride till it’s done.”

“Fear of loss is always greater than desire for gain.”

At this stage of my life it is a challenge not to reflect on my past and the things I wish I had tried. With a lot of encouragement from Tricia I harbor fewer regrets than if I was left to my own imaginings, thankfully. One thing is clear is that it was either comfort or fear often reared its head which prevented action on my part.

Though I have traveled to five continents I have lived only in Oregon and Washington. The prospect of living in another country on another continent is both exhilarating and a bit frightening, thankfully the desire for gain outweighs the fear of giving up the familiarity of the Pacific Northwest.

As theTravelsketcher I frequently encourage hesitant sketchers, who are convinced they “are just not artistic,” to overcome their fear of failure and give it a try, thankfully the majority have found they actually could produce an adequate sketch, it is worth trying.

My first “Yes! You can travelsketch!” Workshop

“What would happen if?”

Of the three quotes this is the one that irritated me the most and which I also heard most often. I usually heard this when I wanted to do something but had not considering the pitfalls – it confronted me with reality. At my more advanced age I realize it is most likely some of the best advice dad could have given, not that I always took it.

Disappointment from inflated expectations is mitigated by asking, “What would happen if?” “Fear of loss” is reduced by asking, “What would happen if?” As any project manager will tell you risk analysis is critical.

We ask this question often as we plan for 2022. We love France, and after many trips there know it pretty well, yet living there will be quite different from just visiting – Dad would approve. Dad’s question is not about avoiding notre grande aventure, it is about being prepared for les petits problèmes that are sure to arise.

Here is where we will live in Normandy. Though the sketch is certainly my style it is not mine, it comes from the website for La Thebaudiere. Our cottage, the Boulangere, is the first one on the left, just across the small bridge.

We are counting the days to Tricia’s retirement and our moving, realistically expecting a wonderful time, letting loose of the familiar, and planning just enough to make it work. Hope you will follow along with us here and at Tricia’s blog Travels Throgh My Lens.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. I am so excited for you guys! What a lovely cottage … I can’t wait to read about when you arrive there and to see more of your beautiful sketches!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, been a long time coming, we are ready

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bizzy says:

    Wow. Good luck. If it’s good enough for David Hockney, it should work out for you. You don’t say what condition your cottage is in. If you need to get out for a while, which you will if there is much construction, you and Tricia are welcome to stay for a time in the apartment adjacent to my house. I live a couple of hours south of Normandy, not far from La Rochelle. I’m here from California and, for all the hassles, would never willingly move back. I hope all goes well for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, it is move in ready, visited it in March 2020, but thanks for the offer. We do like France


  3. Janice says:

    It’s wonderful to actually begin to see a dream coming to reality. I’m very happy for you. Funny how Dad’s philosophies sound better here than when I listened to them with heels dug in. Having just returned from England, I share your enthusiasm for living in another culture. Hopefully, the slower, more thoughtful pace will be just what you want at this stage of being. You will encounter new people and friends who may benefit from your American past and gained wisdom. I hope you don’t hesitate to share it.


    1. Thank you for your support, this all started as a practical solution to a pressing problem three years ago, now it is more of a dream for sure. I get what you mean about dad and mom’s advice, with years it has become a lot more wise, hope our kids think the same of us in yeas to come. We will continue to blog, separately and we are contemplating a joint effort, we will see. Thank you for the support.


  4. Lori says:

    I’m still coming to terms with losing my teacher and friends. So much has gotten thrown to the wayside because of the Covid-19 restrictions and a round of cancer that spanned February through December 2021. My grandkids have the Procreate app and the Apple Pencil do I will be able to entertain a new medium as you have. But my newest delight is practicing homes in the snow…. Send me a pic of your stateside home in the snow.
    Excited for your new adventure!!! Thank you for giving me the joy of watercolor!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lori, thank you for being my friend, that has been a real treasure. I am so glad that we explored watercolor together, and i am at time humbled by how well you paint. Yes COVID and cancer did mess up a lot of things, but thanks to the technology we can still stay in touch, maybe one day a Zoom of Skype from France. Please send paintings anytime you like by email, or post them. I love to see them.


  5. Shirley Riley says:

    A thoroughly enjoyable post—and pretty exciting, too. I see a book in the Christopherson’s future–co-written by two of the most creative people we know. And it will be filled with photos and sketches by, once again, two of the most creative people we know. It’s going to be a momentous year!
    Shirley & Jim

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Christie says:

    Wow. this is the great move! Looking forward to hear about your journey!
    My husband wish is to move to Provence when we retire, yet, a lot to process to do such a move. Wishing you a smooth transition!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is a lot to process but so far it is coming together. Will be glad when it’s done and we are there

      Liked by 1 person

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