By Fred Kusch —
“A lot of people like snow. I find it the unnecessary freezing of water.” — Carl Reiner
Well, I never thought I would be referring to myself as a snowbird, but here I sit in central Florida as I write this, a member of a growing tribe of baby boomers who leave the snow and cold of the upper Midwest for the land of the sun. It’s kind of like living in a diverse collection of white-skin refugees; even our black and Latino neighbors were bleached out by winter and seeking color replenishment from the sun.
It’s clear that the 55+ age group has taken over Florida, and there are many ways to observe this fact.
For instance, I would estimate that one in four cars appears to have no driver! I emphasize appears because, as you come up behind them, you cannot see a head on the driver’s side of the car. When you are next to them, you see it is an older person whose head doesn’t even come up to the middle of the headrest. My driving motto has become: “Beware of the blue hair.”
Also, the number of RV motor homes that populate the state increases exponentially in November when baby boomers circle the wagons and begin the trek southward, much like the wagon trains of yesteryear. Come April, the migration reverses. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more RV parks per capita than housing developments in Florida.
The south is also a haven for lawyers, doctors (especially plastic surgeons) and dentists. You cannot go anywhere without being bombarded with ads telling you how you can have “that youthful look” back. And, if I had a nickel for every shoulder, hip, knee, back or cataract surgery I’ve heard about, I would own an island and have no need to come to Florida.
I can only imagine what the denture business must rake in during snowbird season. Then there are the lawyers who advertise as much as the medical and dental community. I am not sure if I should be worried or feel secure that there is a group out there whose sole purpose is to protect me from the plethora of medical professionals as they dance their way to the bank.
In addition to the 55+ age group, the Florida gator (with its successful recovery from extinction) now pretty much roams the waters and shores freely. When asked if they are concerned about gators, folks here say, “Nah, you just got to be careful when you go out into the yard, on the golf course or near your pool. You know, just like you folks from up north watch for bears, wolves and cougars.” Yeah, right!
What’s wonderful about being a snowbird, besides the warm weather, of course, is the people you meet. RVers are really nice people.
I guess it’s because there is a feeling of “we are all in this together.” Folks come from all over the U.S. and Canada, willing to share their experiences and knowledge to help one another. Plus, they enjoy happy hour with their own choice of beverage.
Janet and I have become birds of a feather and plan to do so for the foreseeable future as we discover and rediscover the USA.
Fred Kusch, president and CEO of JFK Associates, is a well-known speaker, author, consultant and business coach. For more information, visit jfkassociates.com.