ThrowbackThursday Blog Post - Is the Grass Always Greener?

green grass off a deck in a scottsdale home for sale

When I switched to my current website I went through every single post I've ever written to update and transfer over to the new site.  Some of the posts are timeless, even if they're older.  This is one of those and I felt it was appropriate since we're going through some cold weather here in the Scottsdale area.

I network with a lot of real estate agents around the world, although mainly it's the United States and Canada.  I try to follow tips for good blog writing.  I read a post in a Facebook group I belong to that we should take some of those older posts that withstand the test of time and re-date them.  It's good for people reading the blog (some visitors will bypass old posts) and it's also good for search engines.  

The following post was originally written on November 17, 2005.  

I read a short article a while back that really interested me. Unfortunately, I didn't save it as I didn't have a blog and didn't think I'd use it for anything. So this is not scientific and I don't have any source or statistics. Basically, the article asked the question if people living in warm climates are happier than those that don't.

It interested me because I hate winter and cold weather. I don't think I would ever miss snow or slush. I certainly feel different in the winter; I almost feel like hibernating at times. I can feel my endorphins rise when I see a palm tree, even in a photo.

The one thing I look forward to about aging is having a "winter home" in Arizona or New Mexico or someplace similar. Since writing this blog post, we did purchase a Scottsdale AZ home Scottsdale townhouse. My Mom, who lived in Arizona for more than 20 years, referred to part-time residents as those damn snowbirds. Unlike my folks, I waited to leave Illinois permanently after my grandchildren were older. It wad difficult leaving my friends from 6th grade and high school that I still hung out with. But, I worked a lot of hours selling real estate so I didn't get to see them all that much. And now I still go back to visit Illinois to see my adult children and my two grandsons that still live there.

The photos here are two I took while walking my dog in a neighboring subdivision of single-family homes in Scottsdale.  This was a beautiful November day.

There is some documentation that weather does have an effect on a person's mood and we've all heard about SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). But the question was alluding to the fact that some people that feel depressed might think if they lived someplace else that they would no longer be depressed.

In other words, let's say a depressed, or just an unhappy person that lived in Chicago felt that if they moved to a warm location like Arizona or Florida they would be cured, or at least be happy. The article pointed out that there are depressed and unhappy people in every single state, including Hawaii and California. Same with different countries in different climates.

I know some people who love winter and snow and cold. They wouldn't be happy in an area that didn't have four-season weather, like the Chicago area. Since moving to Arizona full-time, I can say I still don't like winter. Although we have a solar-heated pool and cover, once temps get down to the lower night temps in our Arizona winters, the pool is just too cold to use. With that said, I don't miss snow, slush, and ice that we faced in Illinois, not to mention sub-zero temperatures.

It does make sense when you really think about it. I also tried to read through some really technical studies on the subject and what I gleaned was that in an area where seasons don't change as dramatically as others, such as Chicago, there isn't the "boost" associated with entering a definite Spring season coming out of an extreme winter. So people in an area of very similar weather throughout the entire year don't get any type of weather-associated mood upswing that others might experience when one climate changes into another. The weather definitely does affect our moods and some people can be affected more dramatically than others. But living in a nice, warm, or even-tempered climate does not prevent depression nor does it guarantee happiness.

Here's My Update on This

Since originally writing this article in 2005 and taking trips to our Scottsdale townhouse, I can definitely say that my mood is uplifted as soon as I get off the plane Scottsdale valley of the sunin AZ.  When I get in a car to get to our place I just look into that beautiful blue and sunny sky and can't wait for the time when we can retire there.

We have a friend that has lived in Arizona for many years.  He keeps wanting to move back to Chicago. He has told me that Arizona residents get as depressed about the coming hot summer as we do about winter.  

My logical take on this is that Chicago winters can be downright unsafe.  I've had a couple of car accidents because of sliding on black ice.  I've witnessed even more.  Showing condos and having to trudge through deep snow to find the lockbox in the back or side of the building can be treacherous.  I almost broke my ankle a couple of times.  And let's not forget about the many heart attacks that occur while shoveling snow & people that can die from very cold weather.

I've been in Arizona when it was above 115 degrees.  That's even too hot for me, even if it's a dry heat.  But there are choices.  If you don't have to go out during the day you wait to do shopping or whatever at night after the sun has set.  I know if you work full-time during the day that isn't an option, but you don't have to worry about ice and slush.  Summers in Chicago can be brutal with high temps and humidity.  It's definitely the humidity that gets me.

In fact, the only bad driving in AZ and times you need to stay in your home are during bad dust storms.  I was caught in one once and there was zero visibility.  The friend that was driving a van with 10 women in it did a fantastic job and got us through it safe and sound. I'm a baby about mountain driving but there are many areas where it is what it is.  My husband drives and I close my eyes.

As I've thought more about retiring to Arizona I'm not sure I'll keep a 2nd home in the Chicago area.  I'm also contemplating getting my real estate license in Arizona because I know I'll miss selling, especially in a place I love so much.  My dilemma is to get it now while I can hopefully pass the test as real estate is much different in Arizona than in Illinois - we use attorneys in our transactions in Illinois, states like Arizona & California don't.  So it's like learning a whole new way of selling real estate and getting transactions closed. 

As I mentioned above, real estate is a career without forced retirement.  Unlike in Illinois, there is no real estate course for Arizona online.  You have to attend classes for six weeks in person.  So I guess husband Jimmy Herter and daughter Renee Milan will have to hold the fort down here while I spend 6 weeks in AZ going to class.  I better not wait too long!

Posted by Judy Orr on
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