Preyor-Johnson: Living downtown isn’t perfect, but it’s close and a fun adventure

Photo of Nancy M. Preyor-Johnson

I closed 2022 with a column about how my husband and I were deciding whether to stay in our Cibolo home or downsize and move downtown, where the Express-News office is located.

We struggled, but realized there was privilege in having a choice. I concluded that column by writing: “I don’t know where we are going to end up, but I know home is where we make it. It’s where my husband is, where we will live our lives and make more memories. It’s where our families will gather. And when we finally make a choice, it will be the right one.”

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Then came many reader ideas and suggestions. One reader offered to let us check out their home before they put it on the market. Another reader suggested moving into an RV. Others told me about their neighborhoods. Friends and family offered their advice, too.

After months of home and soul-searching, we finally made our decision: We opted for an apartment downtown.

We moved in a month ago, and it hasn’t been perfect. Purging our things, packing up our house and moving was no fun. We still aren’t finished clearing our house or preparing it to sell. When we return to work on it, we are sometimes hit with sadness. It was home for seven years.

“Hello, beautiful house,” my husband says as he enters.

I get sad, too.

Sometimes, I look around, think of our memories there, and lament: “What have we done?”

Sometimes, I wonder if we got it right.

Our apartment isn’t the most peaceful or serene of places. Parking in a six-level parking garage has taken some getting used to. A food truck spot across the street plays loud music until 2 a.m. most nights. We struggle not to feel like grouchy old people as we listen to the music get louder. We are surrounded by construction that covers my black car in dust and forces tiresome detours.

Living downtown isn’t perfect. But it’s close to so much. I know we won’t live here forever, so I focus on the good, savoring each experience as long as we call our apartment our home.

I am a 15-minute walk or 5-minute drive from our office. No more I-35 commute. What a relief! Sometimes when my husband takes walks with our twin grandbabies, they stop by the office to say hello. It’s better than any coffee break!

Our two-bedroom/two-bath apartment with its open layout has a stunning view of downtown. The sunrise and sunset as seen from our windows and balcony are lovely. The closet space doesn’t compare to what we had in our home, but for an apartment, it’s not bad.

We can walk our city’s beautiful River Walk any time. It doesn’t feel like exercise, especially at night, which is my favorite time to walk.

There is always something to do. Two weeks after we moved downtown, we joined locals and tourists to watch the Western Heritage Parade & Cattle Drive. Afterward, we walked down the River Walk to the Pearl with a coworker friend. On Valentine’s Day eve, we enjoyed dinner at the Palm. Our apartment is surrounded by places to eat and hang out, so it’s easy to entertain guests, friends and family. We recently celebrated my mom’s 66th birthday by simply hanging out outside our apartment.

We started attending a nearby Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, which I love. I was raised Catholic, but hadn’t practiced for many years. I’ve found going to this church restores me. The church members and the priest have made us feel welcome. Their faith and work inspire me, and I’m excited about my future there.

We see the twin grandbabies more often. They’re growing so fast. Their giggles and smiles fuel and ground me. I’m grateful.

Home is where we make it. My husband and I are making new memories with families and friends. This choice is the right one for right now.