Staying put: ‘Why I’m not moving closer to the kids now I’m retired’

Oct 13, 2019
"Retirement does not mean that one becomes less independent," says May. Source: Stock Photo/Getty Images

Since my retirement almost 12 months ago I have been amused that friends and family have assumed this change in my circumstances means an automatic relocation to be closer to my children. “When will you be putting your house on the market?”, they ask. Never, if I can help it!

Don’t get me wrong. I adore both of my daughters and we enjoy a robust relationship. We chat weekly on the phone, send intermittent text messages and photos as well as small parcels through the post. “Mum, thought this might be a good book to recommend to your book club,” or “Found these new treats in the pet aisle at the supermarket for the grandfurbaby”.

Recently we all travelled to Sydney from different parts of the country for a girlie weekend where we enjoyed big breakfasts, long walks around the harbour, investigating markets and frocking up for a night at the theatre. Chocolates and lots of laughs featured prominently. Girlie weekends have long been a tradition in my family, keeping us buoyed when the business of life gets frantic. They are all about spoiling each other and reconnecting. And what’s wrong with good chocolate anyway?

Both my daughters have rewarding jobs and relocate every few years to enhance their careers, or for the benefit of their partners. Sometimes they just relocate ‘because they can’. I envy them that.

I downsized three years ago in preparation for retirement, though I remain in the same locality. Having resided in this area for two decades I have a support system in place that aids my social, emotional and mental wellbeing. I have my friends and I have colleagues with whom I attend workshops.

” I utilise the cafes, libraries and galleries, and support the local entertainment venues,” says May.

I have a place in the local community as an advocate, as a volunteer, and as a representative. I utilise the cafes, libraries and galleries, and support the local entertainment venues. Being in my own home allows me both the freedom and the opportunity to undertake hobbies I was too busy to attempt while I was working. The prolific vegetable garden is testament to this.

May has rediscovered her green thumb in retirement. Source: May Green

Why on earth would I consider moving closer to my children who have their own busy lives to lead? Retirement does not mean that one becomes less independent, just as distance does not equate to a toxic relationship.

Is the constant heckling about moving closer to children gender-based? Just pointing out here that as the daughter of Depression-born parents I have been mowing lawns and painting houses since I was 16 years of age. Anything I am incapable of fixing I at least know how to contact someone who can.

Gentlemen, when you retired was this question ever put to you? Did you feel heckled?

This does not rule out considering a relocation in the future. Down the track when I am old and feeble in 30 years’ time or if my daughters for some reason require assistance, I may well look at the situation again.

For the moment I am independent, healthy, busy — and grateful. Extremely grateful. Just leave me alone. I love my house, full of its books, movies, freshly picked veges and photos on the fridge of my girls and the Labrador. I love my life. Real rstate is a banned topic at Chez Moi.

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