The tremendous response to that post was also extremely helpful in giving me support and insight. Actually, it generated more comments as anything I have written over the years.
One of the ways I crystallize my thoughts and come to some conclusions is to write about them. This forces me to think through all the pros and cons of something, evaluate the costs (both financial and emotional), and begin to focus on what seems best. The advantage of a blog is you can come on this journey with me and offer your input and counsel.
Let's start with the biggie I am exploring: where to live. Our house has been our home for 12 years. This is our third house in the Phoenix area over the last 29 years. All three have been within 5 miles of each other, so obviously we like this area. We have a large backyard that Betty, Bailey, the rest of the family, grandkids, and I love.
Shopping is very convenient. Our primary care physician and eye doctor have an office within three blocks of our home. We are close to several excellent hospitals, including the famous Mayo Clinic. A large neighborhood park is a 10 minute walk away. Our church is 15 minutes away. All our friends live in this section of town.
So, what's the problem? Frankly, there will come a time when our two story home becomes a big problem. Betty already has struggles with her knees and I am not that far behind. The house is 30 years old, so maintenance is a constant. That beautiful yard takes a lot of work, water, and money to keep it looking nice and I am getting tired of worrying about all the things in an older home that might fail next. It is a chore to get this house ready for the 2 months we are gone each summer.
If your family lives thousands of miles from you this might cause you to question our sanity, but Betty and I both feel the 45 minute drive to the grandkids' home is too far for us to see them and the family as often as all of us would like. Our other daughter and my dad are a bit closer to us, but everyone lives in the same direction: south of where we live now.
The idea of a move to a new area of the city, closer to family, and to a home that is easier to care for and suitable for us as we grow older is enticing. Downsizing again is attractive to both of us.
At the same time, a move is a major headache. It is expensive, stress-inducing, and causes serious disruption for months at a time. Changes in shopping behavior, doctors, health facilities, and strained friendships based on the extra driving time must be considered.
Our first step to see if a move makes sense is to consult with a friend who is a real estate agent. We want her feedback on the value of our home and what we should do to maximize its selling potential. How much will we need to spend to get it sell-ready? Then, we will start to look at various areas of the city to see if the type of home we'd be happy with exists within our price range.
The end result of all this may be that we fix up where we are and stay put for several more years. Or, if we find the perfect place then we begin to pack. At the very least we will find out the true market value of our home and what could be done to make it a better match for our needs and desires at this stage of our life.
So, at this point we are in the information-gathering stage for where we will live. I'll let you know what we decide when we decide! But, with "move" being my focus word for 2015, this seems to be a nice place to start.
I will save other parts of our life that are under review or have just been changed for the next post.