Heading Back to Columbia, Missouri in 2023

November 14 2022

My adventure in moving from Columbia, Missouri to Middleton, Wisconsin in July of 2021 has been wonderful, but more importantly, it has been an interesting learning experience.

Here are the wonderful aspects:

My first cousin, Bob, and I have had time to reconnect and bond. Since he doesn’t drive, we’ve had fun adventures exploring some restaurants, getting to and from various appointments, and doing errands. Plus, he’s had a chance to meet various friends and family members who made it up here for visits. We are the last two of our core family. Our mothers were sisters, so this time reconnecting with him has been golden.

Lakes. I wanted to live near lakes, and it has been fabulous to be in this area where there are several small lakes and then Lake Michigan less than 3 hours away. Not only lakes, but this area is famous for its outdoor activities made possible by so many parks, conservancy areas, hiking/biking routes, water sports, winter sports, etc.

Culture: Symphonies, Broadway musicals, local theater, regional festivals, outdoor markets, live music in so many places every night of the week, a huge variety of restaurants, botanical gardens, art venues, the University of Wisconsin and all that it offers to the public and located right next door to the state Capitol which is just a few steps from groovy State Street and all its retail, beverage, and eatery options. Lots to do in the greater Madison, Wisconsin area. I will miss the options, especially the Overture Center for the Arts.

Some new friends: Neighbors Jill and Peg have invited me to join them on some outings for fresh corn, apple cider donuts, and Friday fish fry. Yong Joo and Jan are two ladies who also transplanted themselves to the Madison area in 2021 and because Jan and I met at a Panera’s, the three of us have enjoyed some outings, coffee chats, and meals together. I will miss them, but we will keep in touch and my plan is to return for visits since this lovely lake area is only a 7 1/2 hr. drive from Columbia, MO.

Spring, Summer, and Fall: Outstanding weather. Gorgeous landscapes. For decades I have hated the hot/humid summer months of July and August in Missouri. It’s not going to get any better with climate change, but at least I found a place to retreat to if I want to visit some lovely lake areas in the future.

What I’ve Learned:

I miss my family and friends far more than I thought I would. I thought it would be easy to travel back and forth and to have visitors, but it’s not so easy. Road trips at my age require getting out of the car every hour or so to stretch and get blood back in circulation. Traveling with a 17-yr-old dog who is deaf and mostly blind has many challenges. Friends and family are busy with their own families, travels, jobs, and hobbies.

Although I knew the population of this area was a bit over twice that of Columbia, Missouri, I didn’t realize how big that would actually feel. Although things are not rushed and hectic as they would be in cities like Chicago or Milwaukee, I learned that I missed the slower pace of Columbia as well as the quaintness of downtown, despite the ugly student high rise apartments that have gone up in recent years. The same thing is happening in Madison and its suburban areas.

Also, the medical system here is HUGE. Columbia has an excellent teaching/research medical complex, but it feels much more manageable than what I observed here in the Madison area. I’ve had excellent doctors here, and I especially like my allergy/asthma specialist. Thankfully I’ve had no major health issues to deal with. But I will in the future, and I learned I want to be where buildings and medical systems are familiar…where I’d have more of a support system when needed.

What I Will Go Back to:

Friends and family.

There is a “sense of place” I have when I think of Columbia, Missouri. I am too old to acquire that here in Wisconsin. I would be a permanent tourist, and that is not enough, I now realize.

I will return to familiar grocery stores, streets and neighborhoods, Rag Tag Cinema, easy drives to the homes of family and friends, and some cultural events sponsored by the city of Columbia or the University of Missouri. It was good to be in a college town vibe up here in Wisconsin, and I will enjoy the same in Columbia.

It will be necessary to explore Kansas City and St. Louis more if I want to enjoy Broadway shows, various museums, and major symphonic/live entertainment experiences. Both are easy drives from Columbia, so enjoying some weekends in those locations is quite doable.

What Am I Doing Now?

Purging, of course. Donating books and items I moved here but haven’t used in the past few years. Selling some furniture that I don’t intend to move back to Columbia.

Researching apartment communities and duplex neighborhoods for rentals. I’ve learned that I like both environments because they have a sense of community; plus, it’s easy to chat and get to know people. I found that owning or renting a home requires more work. I’m old and lazy now. I want fewer responsibilities.

Researching moving company options. Will get some estimates. It will be an easy move because it will be minimum stuff for a 2 br apt.

Packing. Yep. Stuff I won’t be needing over the winter is getting packed. I’ll be moving in late spring or the summer, depending on when I find something, so whatever I can get done now will mean less purging and packing later.

Thank You, Gail

A couple of years ago, it was my good friend, Gail, who mentioned the idea of “having one last adventure.” That was the seed that sprouted into the idea of moving to a different college vibe location with lakes and saner summer weather.

I am very glad I had this adventure. After over 40 years in the same small city, it was wonderful to live somewhere else for a while. I will return to Columbia to be closer to family and friends and to make it my home base from which to have other adventures.

About jjmummert

This blog was originally titled "Drifting Toward Planet Elderly," and it shared a journey I had with my elderly parents as they both finished their lives battling the complexities of dementia. After both passed on, I changed the title to "Living on Planet Elderly." I am a retiree who is reluctantly adjusting to the reality that she is now elderly. In July of 2021, I relocated to Middleton WI after living in Columbia MO for over 40 years. I'll go back and visit friends and family in Columbia, and I hope they will visit me. I decided that I want to experience a new and vibrant location in a cooler climate with lakes...a bucket list item of mine. I have a first cousin who lives in Madison. We have nice childhood memories, and it will be wonderful to spend some time together as elders. A new chapter begins. It's my last chapter.
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4 Responses to

  1. Gail Hauswirth says:

    Yes, let’s keep the adventures going for as long as possible. Love that you will be near. I know we can find much mischief and adventure to explore. Let me know if I can do anything to help. xoxo


  2. Rebecca Schuder says:

    Jenny, I’m so excited to read about your return to Columbia. You are always so mindful when you make decisions. You had a fabulous adventure. I look forward to meeting you for lunch.  If there is something I can help with let me know.  Hugs,  Becky

    Sent from AT&T Yahoo Mail on Android


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