Where Do We Go From Here?

It’s a time of change for our sons, graduating high school and college, and a change for us as well.  Increasingly, I hear the refrain from friends, “Are you going to stay in town?  Or, where are you thinking of moving to?”  As my husband says, he realizes that shortly we can move just about anywhere, now that we are through with the school system. But, where else is better than here?

I have a friend who is quite clear in her plans: part of the time in France (with her French speaking husband), and a “pied a terre” in some great city, i.e. New York, Boston or Philadelphia.  Other friends have bounced around ideas, like, for instance, “further south”, but without specific destinations in mind.  Or, the idea of being a “snow bird” is a reality for quite a few older folks that we know, part time here in the north, part time in the south. For a few giddy moments, I dreamed of Costa Rica – where many American expats live. A truly beautiful country with a warm, temperate climate, and a fairly stable political and social climate.  And a little English. I’m quite taken with the idea learning Spanish, a second language later in life. But my husband, not so much so. In fact, he’s still recovering from the trauma of high school Spanish.

 Certain facts anchor us to this area, for at least a while longer. First that my husband is not likely to retire too early from his profession(s), lawyer and accountant – going by the history of his parents and relatives, who worked until ripe old age.  And that means staying with his clients, to some extent. Yes, some work can be done remotely – say at the Cape, 1 ½ hours away. But not everything, and not too far away. The other is my husband’s mother, now 87, who lives in town with us, still independent, with us as her chief support system.  Her health and friends networks are here, and she would not be happy to uproot to an entirely new place. And we would want to continue our close relationship as long as it goes – which could be quite a bit longer, going by family history.

 And then, the financial equation:  not a larger house; not a more expensive house; perhaps a smaller house closer to the more expensive city (net equal).  Or, what many around us have done, a smaller place in a less expensive area (southern New Hampshire, farther out in the burbs) to create a little nest egg, but essentially be more inconvenient to all the things we value: church; theater and culture; good restaurants, etc.  We did at one time consider moving home base to the Cape – where we have a vacation home. Still a possibility, but not sure of the tradeoffs.

 Maybe we’ll wait it out until after my husband’s mother has passed and see where our boys end up.  Always a possibility, especially, if that might make life easier for them, regarding us.  But maybe not. And someplace completely new to get used to.  And missing the things about New England I find that I truly love and value, including perhaps, the diversity and more liberal outlook. 

 Still, after this past long winter, I finally admitted to myself – I will need a respite from this. Not just the physical effort of dealing with lots of snow and ice. But the cold, especially in my bones.  I could give up some of my daily walks in exchange for Zumba and other aerobic exercise, but I missed terribly the fresh air in my lungs.  And my constant cold hands and cold feet were debilitating at times.

 So, what then?  I guess as yet, it remains to be seen. But I can definitely see a getaway of some kind in the coldest part of the year where I can walk outside without all the layers, just sneakers on my feet and a sunhat on my head.

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