Happy New Year to all my Pocono Scribbler friends. I imagine most of us are reflecting on 2013 and imagining what wonderful things we will experience in 2014. Reflection is something I have a lot (perhaps too much) time for so I am going to share a few things about retiring, selling, moving, and adjusting. The impetus for this is a Skype call on New Year’s Eve with my friend, Beth. She was telling me about her good friend who is going through many the same things that I went through when making decisions about where I would live and how I would live (widowhood, retirement, fixed income, relocation). My response? “Tell her not to rush into anything!” so this blog post is for her.
Yesterday, my good friend Kim and I had a wonderful Skype conversation and we laughed long and hard over the fact that I was questioning how quickly I made decisions in the spring of 2012. We laughed because I said, “Why didn’t someone stop me from doing everything at once and so quickly?” Kim replied, “I tried, believe me, but you were stubborn and sure that you needed to do it all.” So true. If I had it to do over again, I probably would end up in the same place with the same issues, but I would have done everything more slowly, with more thought and I would have been better informed about what to expect.
I looked towards retirement that spring and felt like I had to make other changes as well. So, I sold my home of 37 years, threw out and gave away lots of stuff, packed up what was left and moved to the mountains of Pennsylvania. That’s three major decisions made quickly. Looking back, I wonder why it felt so necessary to do it all at the same time. The three events seemed to be related in some eway that I cannot articulate and I couldn’t envision doing one at a time. Don’t ask me why — or ask me why but I have no good answer! Now, don’t get me wrong — the result is fine, I am many hours closer to my children and have the option to visit Tallahassee whenever I want to. I wouldn’t trade the experience of the challenge of getting things done in the mountains, the strange address — one for mail and another for packages, all the blog-worthy diner visits, and being close to New York City. Would trade the winters of course, but that’s another story for another time. So my advice to my good friend’s friend is to take it slowly, maybe downsize before selling up and moving away, and adjust to not working before doing anything drastic. And any one of those decisions is drastic, believe me! It’s one thing to be alone but close to good friends and most definitely another to be alone and 1000 miles away. Take it from one who did it and knows (at least I think I do!!), take it slowly and weigh each decision carefully. Sounds simple doesn’t it?