Posted by: chlost | March 5, 2018

The Change of Life (No, not that one. This is a different one)

Last June, our youngest son, daughter-in-law and their three daughters, dog, cat and hamsters moved in with us. Our son and d-i-l started teaching jobs in September. They didn’t have a house, so it made sense to move in with us until they found one.

This week, they found a house. They are going to be moving within a month, as long as the inspection goes well . It is happening way too fast for me. I have enjoyed having them here, and the busy-ness of a family in the house.

It also means that Merle and I are going to be back in this big house all alone again. We haven’t had to make plans for ourselves as long as we were sharing the house with them. Now that they are going to be moving on to their own place, we are going to have to face some big issues that have been on the back burner for nearly a year. While our house was full, it was easy to ignore the passage of time and the life changes we are facing in the near future.

It’s that “R” word: Retirement.

Do we have to agree on  everything about our plans before we are allowed to retire? I hope not, or I will be working forever.  As we near the magical time of retirement, we have tried to negotiate and come to agreement on as many issues as we can. We’ve been discussing for over a year, and we still don’t agree on many things.

We do know that we don’t want to buy a retirement place. I don’t want to be tied to someplace, and feel guilty if we don’t use it. I want to be flexible, and be able to go somewhere, anywhere, with few complications.

We want to be near the grandchildren during the summers. Even the spring and fall would be wonderful. I just can’t do many more of these long, dark, cold winters. Sixty some years of six months of boots, jackets and gloves is enough.

At this point, retirement is approximately one year away. We have discussed spending two to three of the cold winter months in warm places, perhaps a few months in a different location each year. Southern Spain? Panama? Greece?  New Zealand? All of those, please!

We have agreed to downsize from our current home. Unfortunately, each of us has a different definition of “downsize”.  Still working on that. Today I took the first step, and called a realtor acquaintance, asking how to start the process of having someone keep an eye out for a smaller, hopefully less expensive home. One on a nearby lake? A wooded property? A hobby farm to have the cows nearby? Maybe we should buy a lot and build a new home we love.  We don’t agree on that yet. Maybe a realtor will help us make a reasonable choice.

All I know is that suddenly, we need to get going. We are going to get there very quickly, and now that the kids are moving out to the next stage of their lives, we need to do that as well.

Does anyone have any suggestions, ideas, thoughts on how to navigate this time? Have you gone through this pre-retirement decision-making with a partner who has totally different ideas than yours?

Perhaps someone should begin a new niche of marriage counseling for people in this stage of life. We can’t be the only ones out there.





  1. This is a very familiar discussion at our house as well. We are a bit farther away than you are but we are far apart on our ideas. I love your line “do you have to have a plan before you retire…”

    • Glad you are starting the discussions early. Seems that it shouldn’t be that hard, but it has been a huge struggle here. Good luck!

  2. Hmmm…we are a few years from retirement. Finances will keep us from any major travel. If health insurance wasn’t costing us $1,500/month, we’d actually have money. Sigh. But that’s an entirely different issue.

    I bet eventually you two will figure it out. You have to, right?

  3. We’ve just started that conversation, and retirement is more than a decade away. But even though we have some different ideas, we keep talking about it. I said something the other day in one of those conversations about “continuing to refine our vision” and my husband said, “Yes! I like that expression!” It made it feel more collaborative than combative.

  4. Sounds like the moving on of the family will focus your thoughts! We’d love to stay here as long as we are fit and able, we’ve been fortunate to be able to semi retire, we have weekends longer than the working week, Our camper van is great fun, but would be hard work if we were less bendy and fit! Health and family seem to be the key issues.

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