You might have noticed I’ve been absent from the blogging world for a couple of weeks. We explored and are making a significant shift in our retirement lifestyle.
I had always said we would eventually relocate to Florida. I was thinking in the 8-10 year range. That was a long time in the future. I have a whole litany of my own “reasons” (fears?) for putting it off – 1) feeling secure/comfortable in Cincinnati with established friendships and established routines (things like long-term Playhouse membership and Impact 100 involvement); 2) the responsibility of my SIL (from managing the guardianship to regular caregiving) is a big deal to me; 3) worry about creating a support system in Florida. OK, it’s just 3 big reasons, but they meant we bought our downsized home in Cincinnati and invested in it (built the garage, did the gutter/roof repair work, decorated it with new furnishings) thinking it would be a 10-year investment.
Then my hubby’s younger brother died this past June. Two years after his (Irish-twin) sister died. And I started thinking: the only dream hubby has for his retirement is to live in Florida full time. How horrible will I feel if he never gets to realize that dream? Because all the reasons I listed above are mine. What really is keeping us in Cincinnati except my mind?
But I also know that realistically, the beach house we currently have in Florida is not big enough (storage wise) for us long term. Hubby needs more space for all his stuff; he is not a downsize kind of guy. (He kind of believes that if one of something is good, five are better.) And if we were there all the time, it would be so nice to be on water but still close enough to the beach for beach walks. I’m not asking for much – hah!
And so with my shift in perception on timing, this past Florida trip we looked at houses -with me thinking it would take time (like a year or 2) to find something that fit all our design criteria, including price range. And there it was.
We’ve bought a 1900 sq. ft. beach house on the inter-coastal waterway, 0.6 miles to the walkable beach, with enough property to build a 2+ car garage (aka a huge storage shed). Hopefully, it will be big enough to absorb both houses of stuff. Not only does it have a water-view, it has its own private beach (the picture is of our inter-coastal view, but it’s the neighbor’s boat)! OK, it is only a 20 foot stretch of beach-front, but it’s easy to launch a SUP or kayak. No room for a dock, but we are not motorized boat people (and there is the neighbor!). No screened porch with fan (merely a wish for on the house design criteria), but I’ll get used to sitting under an umbrella on the patio with the off-the-water breeze in that amazing backyard.
So our restful yet active Florida time (biking, yoga, beach walks, seafood dinners, blogging) turned into a whole series of house-focused events: contracts, inspections, transition plans (house pictures and room measurements), and design meetings on a garage. I had no mind-space for blog creation!
I’ve still got crazy (and random) things going through my head about this move: What do I do with my northern clothes (I love my fur coats!)? Will all my favorite pieces of furniture fit? What will hubby willing get rid of (because the new space really can’t absorb 2 full houses & garages of stuff)? How do we set up the house’s main room so it’s both livable for us and OK for entertaining (my lifestyle vision!)? How much of a loss will we sustain on the Ohio house for only having it 3 years? And of course, the big ones: How will we manage the SIL guardianship moving forward? Do we keep a foothold in Cincinnati – an apartment or a condo?
Yes, I will miss the close connections to long-term Cincinnati friends, the longevity of our Playhouse attendance, and the familiarity of the Cincinnati lifestyle scene. And we still need to work through guardianship, the downsizing of stuff, and all the moving logistics (new medical care team, moving company costs, Ohio residence), which could take 2 years. I’m still mentally working through what this shift in location means to our on-going lifestyle vision.
I know many other people deal with retirement relocation, sometimes combined with significant health reasons. But all the logistics and unknowns to make this whole thing happen are simply scary for this security-based gal.
For the last few years, I responded to the regular “why don’t you just move here (Florida)?” with a “Someday” response. Well, “Someday” has changed to “Next year”. And that is a major shift in my retirement vision.
How have you managed through major shifts in your retirement thinking?
Picture: our new view, neighbor’s boat (yes, we’ve met them already!)