Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 549 Relocating (2)

This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery

Relocating seems to be all around me. I have relatives and friends deciding on a change of place. Maybe something is wrong with me. We still like it where we have lived for thirty years. This residency started one year after we retired. So I guess we can still identify a little with those that have recently chosen to move. Let me tell you of their efforts.

First my brother and wife decided to join the wave that flys south each winter. “T-shirts and shorts all winter”, my brother says. “What is not to like”. I got a text message from them today as they cruised just north of Des Moines, Iowa on their way to Phoniex.

They are in their late seventies and they just sold their house; furniture and almost all else. They have lived in this one town in northern Iowa for over forty years. Why move? Well, the weather is one thing. He is a biker and loves to do that on roads free of snow and ice and dressed in something other than a parka.

They have wintered in Apache Junction the last few winters. A friend of theirs even sold them a very small Mobil Home there. They have enjoyed being their. Now they have bigger plans. They sold a condo in Healey, Alaska where their son has a lodge just close to Denali National Park. They summered their the last ten or fifteen years. Then they sold their house in Iowa that they had lived in for all those forty odd years. The new owners will take possession in the spring. That will give them time to find a new house in Arizona.

One factor in leaving the Iowa place was that all of their children have grown and moved to other states; Oregon/Alaska, North Carolina and Montana. Then they have lost touch with their own community in Iowa. He use to be the high school principal and knew everyone in town. Then he retired and traveled. Now he says that when he walks down the street he hardly knows anyone and it seems no one knows him. So - goodbye.

They plan on finding a house in Green Valley, Arizona just south of Tucson. HIs wife has a cousin who lives there. It is a community for those that are 55 and older. It is a community that offers warm winters and great biking. They want a house that is already furnished if they can find one.

My wife’s brother is also on the move and their experience contains a good lesson for all of us. They are, or were to be on the road tomorrow. They prepared for this moment throughout the last year. A year ago they loaded up their van and took a ten or twelve week drive across America. As a side note: he walked across America almost 40 years ago - coast to coast. He met this girl when he was taking a coke break just twenty miles from the Atlantic. They married and have lived in that community ever since. Now their children have grown and left. Their working life has come to an end. Their boys live in the west. One in Denver and one in Portland. They decided to venture forth.

They liked Oregon best and that is where they are headed - if the problem with the sale of their house is solved. They advertised it. Found a buyer and packed up everything they owned. They sold a lot of stuff and stored the rest in a container stored in Baltimore that can be shipped to wherever they land. Then the time for closing on the sale came. Opps.

There was a hitch in the financing at the very last minute. They had to rewrite the loan. Now they are in their house with all of their beds in Baltimore. They new buyers stuff is in a container that sits in the front lawn. They caught the electrician just in the nick of time so they still have electricite. There is no food in the house. And even no TV. They are on hold. So fellow thinker of relocating - be careful of packing your bags too soon.

Another friend of mine relocated just across town. They had a beautiful house on the hill with a view of the bay and the seemingly whole world. But, The kids had left. He and his wife agreed that if one of them were to die the other would move. My friend thought Paris. His wife thought Texas. But togather they wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest. They decided to downsize while they could help each other.

My friend has always been very community minded. He likes working with people. He is a retired city planner. They choose to move into a co-housing project that was less than a year old. They would live with lots of neighbors in their own unit but yet a lot of common property, amenities and responsibilities.

They plugged right in and he became a real leader, mover and shaker in the communal neighborhood. Then she died of cancer and he remained and was thankful for all of the close support.

We introduced him to another friend of our later and they ended up getting married in our living room. He was like 80 years old and she was right at 60. They still live in the co-housing project. Now they have both relocated. They are content living right here in the same town but in a different neighborhood. They kept their old friends and added some new ones.

Retirement brings lots of options. When I consider them I always come back to a neighbor of mine named Mary. She died just a few years ago.  She lived with in one block of her birthplace all of her life. She was 86 when she died. She chose to not relocate and she seemed be very satisfied with her decision.

Relocating is an option. It isn’t for everyone but is a dream come true for many.

This is Retirement Talk.

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