Lesson #18 – Decisions Decisions

pT58L58T9We have all seen, if not read, the articles entitled, “Ten Best Places to Live When You Retire”.  It seems as if the magazine stands have at least one cover per month telling us where to live, where to go, what to do, how to live,….and on and on.  Really?  If you read one of these articles the suggestions where to live are normally based on taxes, activities available to stay young and in good shape, cost of housing, hospital location, weather, an airport locale…..what is up with all of this free information?

It’s as if when you read these articles all your decisions will be made.  Not so.  I’m sorry but the decision where to live is very very complicated…..yes VERY.  There are a million moving parts to be put together prior to moving to your retirement ‘home’.

Highly recommended is to know where you want to live prior to selling that large family home where you saw your children grow up and leave the nest.  We didn’t do it that way.  If you have read earlier blogs I wrote then you know we landed here at our lake house after selling our family home.  I wouldn’t suggest what we did but I would recommend knowing where you are going to live and be looking forward to the move and, preferably, buy that next home and have it pristine prior to the big M.

Think about those articles.  All points mentioned in those articles may be very important but not one of those articles in all those magazines (that I have read anyway) ever mention that, perhaps, we should live rather close to where our family lives.  Where do your children live and where do your grandchildren live?  If you are lucky enough to have your parents still living, then where do they live? Do we go home? Do we live where our children live?  Gone are the days when families all live in one town.  Oh YES I know!  There are exceptions to everything…..

Chances are parents of most of the newly retired probably live far away from them.  We are the generation that took off from home and found our way.  I will venture to say most of us wanted to move away from parents and the faster the better.   My parents didn’t think much about where we lived and where our children live.  They migrated to Florida because the cold was chilling their very souls.  Cold is apparently bad for arthritis, bad knees and bad hips and hurting backs.  Come to Florida where all your aches and pains will disappear.  There probably was a television ad years back that beckoned our parents to move to sunny and warm Florida.

I know my grandparents moved to the Gulf coast of Florida when they retired and never looked back.  In fact, the town where they moved did have advertisements on television enticing retirees to move to Florida and live a wonderful life.  The area was undeveloped at the time.  Can you imagine?  At the time their only child, my father, still lived and worked in the Northeast.  They probably only saw each other once or twice a year for the holidays.  Ouch.

My parents, too, retired to Florida.  They loved the warm sun, the beach and never thought for a moment that they may wish to move closer to their children!  Yes, it was a different generation but if my thinking is correct most of that generation wanted to live just where they wanted in their golden years.  I’m really unsure if they thought about it much.  I find no fault in this believe me.  It’s just the way it was.

It just doesn’t seem that way today.  Luckily, our children seem to have settled close to where they grew up.  That is not to say they won’t move out of the State at some point.  I realize that but it won’t make it easy for me.

This couple just cannot decide where to set up shop for the next ten years or so.  We have been at this retirement business for about nine months and we have talked about where to move ad nauseam and have also looked at various abodes…. small homes, condos, townhouses, old homes and newly built homes in the ‘Active Adult Over 55’ communities.  One thing is for sure.  We want to live close to our children.  We just can’t find the right spot.  It’s difficult deciding where to move this time around.  This time we won’t be packing up my children and having them come along.  Quite different.  I do not want to make any huge mistakes.

But no matter where we look and what we think about we always come back to living here in our lake house… for the time being.  The views are spectacular, the air is clean and it’s where we have been coming for the past sixteen years.  It has familiarity, a bed I know and am comfortable in and most important memories of family weekend fun in the summers.  It’s not the place we want to be for the next ten years.  For the moment I can overlook the problems of a small one pony town.  Heck, it’s the summer and the lake is all about summer.

Most important this house is only 2 1/2 hours from my children and grandchildren and friends.  It is not a plane ride and not a major trip.  We can drive to my children’s homes and back again in a day with no problem if necessary.  Luckily for us both my son and my daughter have a bed ready for us if need be.  My good friends also offer bed and breakfast when needed!  I certainly don’t want to take advantage of the situation but it is nice to be wanted and not to be seen as a burden by my children or friends.

At this point in our lives I can’t imagine being in Florida and so far away from my children and grandchildren.  I wouldn’t even think about it seriously. Nor would I think about moving to the States listed in those articles because the taxes are better or because they have great hospitals.  Both are important I know but…

I’m not sure what this says about me but I think family is important and even more so as the years go by.  I want to be part of my children’s lives as much as possible and not just plan a once a year trip to get reacquainted with grandchildren growing up much too fast.

These decisions we face are not easy and we all have to find our way.  We sold our family house because we didn’t want to take care of it anymore.  NOW I know it was the right decision.   Where we live is a decision that can be all-consuming.

Don’t buy that magazine staring at you with an article tucked inside about which States would be great to retire to.  Think about where you are truly happy and let that be your guide.  And don’t rush.  Lord, don’t rush!!  Yes, indeed, we may eventually decide to sell this house and move to sunny Florida.  After all, my arthritis may kick up and I may be in constant pain but, for the moment, I have decided just to chill!  Ahhhhhhh, nice!

Leigh

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