How would you feel about retiring to a completely new location, away from family and established friendships? It can be a daunting prospect, especially if you have lived in the same location for many years. It can also be difficult if you are in a relationship and one partner is happy to continue living in the current location, but the other partner yearns for new surroundings.
My next guest in the Over 50 & Thriving series has experienced all of the above and more. I met Tamara from My Retirement Project through link ups such as Wellness Wednesday and she and I have much in common, including our love of being near the ocean and keeping fit and active. Tamara shares her story with us and explains how she and her husband made the move are now enjoying and thriving in their new environment and home.
As you read her story you will see that it was not easy on so many levels, however, there was a positive outcome and message to us all about never giving up on your dream.
Thriving Over 50 In A New Location
When my husband and I retired some six years ago, we assumed we were settled in our home for the duration.
Turns out we weren’t.
Let me back up and start at the beginning. I grew up in S. California within easy 30 minute access to the beach, and really never gave much thought to living any closer because in my part of the state the beaches were often foggy and cold, and the towns adjacent a bit too laid back for my tastes.
However, all of that changed when we moved 100 miles south to Orange County in the early 1990’s. The first time I set foot on one of Orange County’s gorgeous, sunny and full-of-fun beach towns I was hooked, and an intense yearning to live closer to the coast took root and began to grow and grow.
My husband and I had settled in Orange County in an area that was only about 20 miles inland, but traffic patterns were such that any trip to the coast had to be carefully considered in order to avoid getting stuck in traffic. So I satisfied my longings to be closer to the ocean with lots and lots of coastal RV trips after we retired. They were all lovely, but each and every time we headed back home afterward, my longings to live closer grew even stronger.
I’m not sure what finally flipped the switch, but one day after returning home from a series of oversea trips completely exhausted, I told my husband that in spite of having enjoyed our travels immensely, and in spite of having a beautifully fixed up home in which to live, I could not get over my desire to live along the coast and would he pretty please give the idea of relocating there consideration?
To my surprise, after years and years of communicating to me that he was completely satisfied in our current location, he changed his mind and said he would.
Well, that was all I needed to hear! Within 24 hours I had appointments set to interview two realtors. And shortly after that we had our realtor selected and were signing realtor forms.
Turns out that was the easiest part of the whole process.
What followed was stressful beyond belief – listing our home, keeping it tidy, and vacating it as often as possible for buyer walk-throughs, receiving multiple offers within days of listing, well before we’d even decided what coastal city we’d be living in, having the first accepted offer fall out of escrow within the first week, lining up movers once we went back into escrow with a second set of buyers, working with a realtor in our new location diligently, daily, for almost a month before finding ‘the one,’ a fixer upper within two miles of the ocean, the agony of going through home inspections on both ends, the sheer work involved in paring down our current belongings, arranging for all of the closing and buying details (so many details!), the emotion of saying goodbye to friends and familiar places, and the fear mixed in with the excitement of actually realizing a 25 year dream.
Looking back, I’m really not sure how we managed to get through it all. There were days that I was such a puddle of uncertainty and fear I wanted to cancel everything and just stay put. My dear sweet husband pulled me up and out of my fears each time, assuring me that it would all work out. Our realtors on both ends did same, picking me up and pushing me forward each time an obstacle that appeared insurmountable would arise. And there were many!
The lesson I learned during this process was to just keep trudging forward, even if I was full of fear and uncertainty, and to trust that if I kept putting one foot in front of the next it would all work out.
And it did all work out, of course, because everybody involved kept moving forward.
Moving day was exciting and nerve wracking. I’d never lived in a home as long as the 25 years I’d lived in the home we were leaving, and I had no idea how settled I’d become until it was all taken away. Even finding a location for our belongings in our new home created stress, never mind all the fixing up of it we needed to do. And finding our way around our new location was stressful as well, not the fun I’d imagined it would be. I also missed dearly not seeing familiar faces everywhere I went, something I hadn’t realized was a big and pleasant part of my daily life until I no longer had it.
Oh my, so many stressors in spite of having achieved my dream!
So when and how did it start to get better?
Well, in addition to working feverishly to turn our fixer into our dream home, we began to work just as feverishly getting acclimated into our new community. We joined a spiritual congregation, we signed up as volunteers at a nearby harbor, we joined groups for hiking and biking, two of our favorite pastimes, we joined a lifelong learning program for retirees, we invited all of our longtime friends over to visit, we continued to engage with our county-wide activities from before, and we worked to find and experience the many entertainment and cultural activities we were discovering on an almost-daily basis. It took a good number of months, but little by little we began to feel settled into our new community.
And we had the ocean. The ever-changing, always beautiful and mesmerizing ocean. We could see it from our upstairs, from our backyard, when approaching our home in our car, when running errands, when hiking, walking, biking and kayaking, when dining, when volunteering. It was everywhere, and it soothed my soul each and every time.
So now, almost one year in, it’s hard to imagine not living where we do now, in spite of the agony we underwent to get here. Each day I wake up excited and thankful all over again to be living where we do.
And I’ve learned that when due diligence indicates all fears to be unfounded, you just push through. Because what’s waiting on the other side just might take your breath away.
Don’t forget to post your Instagram photos using the hashtag #over50andthriving.
Let’s Keep Sizzling & Thriving!