Reviewing My Options

I know I’m ready for a change after I sell my house, and I have to figure out what that means for me.

I’m definitely ready to retire from my job, but I often wonder if that would be financially reckless, especially if I retire before I’m 62.  My government job will provide a small pension, and between that and early Social Security, I could be reasonably comfortable.  No extras, but I would have the basics.  Still, I’m only 61.

I’ve considered staying in the same area, buying a home locally, working until I’m 62, or even 65, and then being free to do my genealogy business full time. I have a terrific network of genealogy friends and I feel optimistic that I could build a successful genealogy business here in Bucks County.

However, I’m not sure I want to continue to live here.  I’m surrounded by memories in this area.  I’m asking myself, is this all there is?  After losing both of my brothers when they were 44 and 56, I have an extremely strong sense of how short life is.  I have the urge to start over and create my life exactly how I want to live it, in a new place.

But I don’t know where that would be or what that would look like at all.  With my family gone, there is no place that I consider “home” anymore.

I’ve considered Florida, where a much-loved cousin has a second home.  But, I’m not sure if I could be comfortable in the heat and humidity of the Florida summers, and would I miss the change of seasons of the northeast?  I do love the beach, sunsets on the ocean, and the comfortable winters, though…

I’ve considered Richmond, Virginia, where the same cousin has her primary home – but eventually she will retire to the second home in Florida.

I’ve considered Seattle, where my daughter lives, but 1) it’s too expensive, especially when one is living on a very modest retirement income, 2) not sure I could handle all the cloudy days and rain, and 3) what if my daughter leaves that area – would Seattle still be my choice?

I’ve considered the southwest – I spent a couple of fall semesters during college working at the Grand Canyon, and absolutely love it there in Arizona, as well as in New Mexico.

I’ve also thought of California, where I lived for 20 years, but it’s certainly not a good choice for a retiree on a budget.  And – the southwest and California are really far away from friends I know and love in the northeast.  Won’t I be lonely?

I’ve tried visualization: what does my new house look like?  How do I feel in it?  What is around me?  I like historic, more traditional homes, but I also like one-floor living.   I envision myself near an historic downtown area, so I can walk to shops and restaurants.  Perhaps it’s a row house in a medium sized town.  But an older home needs a lot of maintenance – and that means time and money.  I won’t have much money, and I don’t want to spend the time to take care of a house.  I’m tired of all of that, and I want to be sure that I live within my means.  On the other hand, the idea of living in a modern maintenance-free condo just makes me feel claustrophobic and sad.

After going around in circles for a while, I realize that I am just unable to decide where I want to live, and to retain my sanity I have to be OK with that indecision.  But all of the thinking and visualization DID help me to come to some other firm conclusions:

  • I am more certain than ever that I needed to sell the house.
  • I am certain that I want to retire when the house sold.
  • I am certain that I want to leave Bucks County.


And THAT is progress!!