Putting Down Roots

Happy Wednesday ladies. My posts have been sporadic lately and I thought I would explain why. My husband and I have struggled with where to retire for some time so last year we decided to kick ourselves in the pants into high gear. Although we had no clear vision of where we wanted to live, we sold our home and rented a house in an active retirement community. We wanted to be sure we liked the area and lifestyle before buying a house.

We haven’t rented since college so this has been interesting. It’s refreshing to simply call the landlord when the air conditioning breaks (twice), or the sink leaks or the blind breaks. Not having the financial or personal responsibility to repair things is lovely. What’s not lovely is being told your lease isn’t being renewed.

Two weeks ago our landlord let us know they plan to renovate this house and move in. Our carefree enjoyment quickly turned to anxiety and we recognized the major downside to renting is that you have no control over how long you can live in a place.

Never mind that you have to live with someone else’s tacky drapes, and outdated appliances. I ignored the boring white walls, but quite honestly… I hate not being able to put my stamp on a place. I also miss seeing my favorite things which we mercifully left packed in boxes, stacked in the garage.

Moving is a monumental pain and very stressful. We haven’t come close to finding our be all and end all house to stay in for the rest of our lives, but we sure don’t want to move often.

We started viewing open houses here a few weeks ago but things are pretty scarce. We’ve got a trip planned to Palm Springs and plan to look at houses while we’re there. Housing prices are lower in Palm Spring and many people happily retire there but I’m not sure I want to move that far away from everything I’ve known for the last 41 years.

My only grandson is here which is priceless and we have lifelong friendships we continue to nurture that are a short 2-hour drive away. Starting over where we don’t know anyone doesn’t really appeal but we’re keeping our options open.

I didn’t attempt to put down any roots here because I knew it was temporary but this has made me realize I prefer roots. Unlike my adventurous mother, I don’t have a gypsy type bone in my body. So although I love to travel, I am a homebody at heart and want a home of my own.

I’ll keep you posted on our adventures looking for a new home. Between you and I, I secretly hope it needs renovating so we can make it look and function exactly the way we like.

Have you moved in retirement?

How smooth was the process for you?

Thanks for reading and have a great day.



  1. Hi Jennifer, I am so sorry you are going through another move so soon. Since you have your grandson up north, doctors in place and many friends I would think finding a smaller home or place in a retirement community would be ideal. We have friends who just moved to downtown Benecia where it was more affordable, closer to family and they can walk everywhere. Good luck!

    1. We love love love Benecia! Such a cute town and close to everything.

  2. marlene alves says:

    Jennifer, I have not read the previous posts; however, being decades older than you, I am going to bring up a reality that so many couples face…one partner outliving the other. If one makes a list of priorities, I suggest focusing on that eventuality, along with proximity to family along with the need to be close to a wide range of medical services. Transportation can also become a challenge.

    Yes, moving is extremely stressful and expensive; to find a single level home that you can renovate and live in throughout the coming years as a couple…or as a single person… may be something that one wants to consider.

    1. Thank you for sharing Marlene. I am thinking of that and think being close to my son would be very smart. He’s a wonderfully supportive young man who we could rely on helping us.

  3. I have lived in the same house for 35 years. My children wail when I occasionally suggest we sell it. The best thing about it is that it’s paid for. It’s too big for my husband and me with five bedrooms and three baths, but the idea of sorting through 35 years of stuff is too much for me. Please come to Palm Springs. That’s just down the road, and we could go shopping together! LOL.

    1. Having it paid for is huge. Maybe we could meet up for coffee? Email me

  4. My husband and I also wrestled with the idea of where to retire but put if off because of the daunting job of downsizing and actually moving. Our decision was made for us in October 2017 as we lost everything during the Tubbs Fire in Northern California and made it out with just our dogs. Not wanting to go through the process of rebuilding we chose to move near our daughter in Arizona. I can say we are very happy with our decision but was a struggle to get our lives back together. Life is never as planned but we are very thankful. Good luck with your journey!

    1. Oh no Linda, I’m so sorry! It’s sounds like you’ve made the best decision. Good luck and thanks for sharing with us.

  5. It is -12 degrees with a windchill of -45 as I type this. We have had it. We will retire as soon as our youngest son graduates college. We have lived in the same house for 20 years. I don’t know if I could live in a rental. I would miss my garden!

    1. That’s too cold! Gardens can be replanted but people can’t be replaced. Good luck

  6. We moved from Santa Barbara to Palm Springs into a 55+ communitywhen w e retired 3 years ago. Best move ever. The sun shines every day! The summers are hot, the winter, spring and fall are warm, the houses are affordable, excellent shopping and healthcare, restaurants, entertainment, airports and the beach is only 2 hours away. But you would be quite a distance from your grandson. We are 2000 miles from ours but we see them several times a year but it’s not the same as weekly I realize. I just don’t want to live in the Midwest where they live and put up with winter!

  7. Oh my Jennifer, it seems you haven’t had much time in this rental. It’s difficult to know sometimes where to set your roots. I guess you could rent one more time, if you need to think things over. My advice, don’t rush.

  8. Julie Anne says:

    Once you’ve factored in all your wishes, add one more because you hate moving. Because of medical issues for both of us, the layout of our house matters now, or at least it soon will. The unexpected has happened and a walker or wheelchair make bedrooms on the second story an issue. We’ll have to consider other things too. A year ago we were both very fit and didn’t stress about turning 70.

    1. I’m so sorry you’ve got this struggle Julie. We are only looking at one story homes. My husband needs a knee replacement so stairs are out of the question. Wishing you the best

  9. Jennifer, you do know it is very hot and dry in Palm Springs, right? We followed my only child and grandchildren to CA from AZ. Despite some “friends” warning not to chase your children. I pinch myself everyday even after 7 years; we live in So Cal, 20 minutes from a beach, warm days, cool nights and I am able to see my grandchildren at least weekly. Happy Hunting!

    1. That’s part of what worries me about PS. I’m not a fan of hot weather and would far rather be near ocean breezes. Sadly my grandson doesn’t live anywhere near them. It’s a puzzle we need to figure out.

  10. I’m sorry you’re having such a difficult time deciding where to live in retirement. I know being close to your grandson tops your list of requirements. I know you wanted to be close to a good hospital, too. Do you want to live close to the ocean? Small town or big? Do you want a condo or single family home? Did you like the active community lifestyle? Do you want the heat of Palm Springs, or the cooling breezes of the Pacific? How many hours away from your grandson would be ideal? Then draw a circle around his home. There are so many things to factor into your decision. I guess you can only look on this as your gypsy years. Lol

    1. Great idea. I do feel our lives will be fluid for a few years now but I do want a home.

  11. It’s not easy to change ! But ,I wish that I had done it sooner !
    My time is spent enjoying life and all the new people that I have met ! It’s very freeing not to be tied to a home with its upkeeps and responsibilities!

  12. We downsized from Los Angeles when we retired a year and a half ago. We live in the Sierra Foothills, not far from where you are by the sound of it. We wanted to be closer to our grandchildren who live in the Bay Area, I wanted an art studio and my husband wanted dark skies for his amateur astronomy, and the home prices were reasonable. We found a great community – mixed, not all retired people, and has opportunities to be involved and meet new people. My husband is elated that he doesn’t have to clean the pool anymore! Plus I am now a lot closer to some good friends who live in Northern California. The house was a “flip” and it’s a good thing my husband was a home remodeling contractor – he is able to fix things or install bookshelves and whatnot. Anyway, so far, we don’t miss Los Angeles at all! Loving the quieter life.
    Good luck finding your happy place!

  13. Oh boy….following along. We are at the same place in our life trying to figure out what we want to do.

  14. Well, if you move to Palm Springs, I’m only a couple hours away and will happily come visit! 🙂

  15. I’m single and for the past eight years had my kids on my own in my big family home. Thinking about downsizing kept me stumped. I’m not yet ready to retire but I didn’t want to move closer to work because it’s not a great area for single people, I’d love to move downtown (I’m in Chicago) but my commute would be impossible and it would be too expensive to get a place where my three kids (20-25) could stay when they needed to, etc. In September, my oldest moved into his own apartment and suddenly I was alone in my five bedroom home! A few days later, the guy who lives across the street in a charming three bedroom brick Tudor knocked on my door and said that if I ever planned to put my house on the market they’d like to make an offer. Suddenly, a light bulb went off. I could stay in this neighborhood but have less house to maintain while keeping all my same doctors, cleaning lady, church, book club, bridge group, yoga studio, commmute! My prayers were answered and we bought each other’s homes. We already closed but we are renting back and forth because my daughter will be coming home from abroad in the spring and we can move once she sorts through her belongings. The new owners have three boys that are about 16 years younger than my 3, and needed more room. They get to still walk a couple blocks to the school my kids went to, same church, friends, etc. and I have everything I had before but 30-40% less space and lower costs. It’s pretty crazy! I’m planning to stay there until I retire and then decide if I just want to continue to stay there, move to a warmer climate, or get into a property with less maintenance. Sometimes there no place like home!

  16. My husband and I are just beginning to think of retirement. We are 60 and 61. At this point we don’t have any desire to leave our home where we raised our boys. We’re within 30 minutes of where we grew up and have lots of extended family. Our sons live even closer. We’re blessed with many dear friends. I can’t imagine not living near family and friends. The support and love that we have for each other is priceless. Once we do retire, I’d imagine if we want to spend a few weeks elsewhere, we’ll rent. One thing I’m sure of is that I don’t want the responsibility of a second home.

  17. My husband and I are 63 and 62 yrs old. We retired 3 yrs ago and have loved every minute of it. We live in an 18 hole golf community which also has a lake. We used to live on hole# 8 but 3 yrs ago moved to a house on the lake in the same community. We’ve had such fun. Our kids and grandkids all live close by so they enjoy the amenities along with us:)
    Although we hate the cold we do live in Missouri. And our winters can sometimes be brutal! BUT…..our Springs, Summers, and Autumns are the best!!!!

    1. Gloria N. says:

      Eva….Your situation sounds ideal, to me.

  18. We moved to a retirement community but not out of the area where we’ve lived and raised our children for 40+ years. Being close to the grandchildren is so fantastic, that i would have trouble moving to warmer climates (we live in upstate NY). I’ve made some wonderful new friends in our active condo neighborhood but love the benefit of seeing two of our grandchildren grow up. We once again attend recitals, soccer games and love watching them grow. But once they’re away in college or become busy adults, Florida might call to us for a few months in the winter. Big decisions ahead for you…. good luck! BTW…we own our condo, and I’ve had so much fun making it our home.

    1. I think this won’t be our last move either. Knowing that is a bit freeing.

  19. Come be my neighbor in Healdsburg, CA. We have plenty of lovely new houses.

    1. We love Healdsburg but it’s pretty pricey for us. Lucky you!

  20. Sarah Bonvillian says:

    Today is our moving day. I’ve moved multiple times during my 30 year marriage which ended in 2005. Part of my spouses work. Call moving company, search for a home and live in hotels! It was an adventure.
    I’ve since remarried in December and both of us lived in his condo knowing the stairs were a problem. So, God opened the door for us to move 50 miles away into my family home. Hopefully, our final move.
    Take it ONE DAY AT A TIME!
    Good luck and don’t stress!

  21. Stormy Smith says:

    Jennifer – I feel your pain. We have downsized and are currently renting a townhome. And yes, it’s wonderful to just call the landlord. But like you, I like to live in a space that reflects me. We are not quite retired yet, but think a lot about how to move forward into retirement and do it our way. No use hanging onto a house or “things” that my children won’t want and will just have to deal with when we’re gone.
    Anne Woodyard – It sounds like you’ve come up with a great plan. We’re working on how to spend a few months each year in France, Italy, Portugal or Spain. Like you – we are not ready for Florida. It’s a big world out there…

  22. Cheryl Ann says:

    Jennifer, we retired almost 10 years ago. It’s been a whirlwind of change. We sold our “dream”:home in Seattle and moved to Nashville TN. We have been able to see our grandchildren grow up and enjoy our family on a weekly basis. We used to have to travel to see everyone and now we have them over for lunch, go to ball games, know their friends and attend the same church. It’s been a blessing! We live a half hour from our children & grands. It used to be a plane ride that took most of the day and was tiring. The more we are here, the more we love it. We downsized to a builder grade home and remodeled it to suit our needs & some wants. We are in a planned community with no age requirements and love seeing the neighbor kids growing up. Most of our friends are retired & moved here to be with their grands, too. Others are lovely southerners who have been generously welcoming. We feel blessed! We have made lasting friendships that support us in need and celebration. You will find your home and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Be well…

    1. Thanks for giving me hope. It sounds like you found your perfect solution.

  23. My husband and I moved to a completely different community far from where we used to live, after we were both retired 6 years ago. When we were trying to decide where to move, a friend asked “What do you want to do in your new home? I wanted to be able to get involved in the community…a good library…be able to continue gardening…book club….make new friends….still be near our children and grandchildren. That is how we found our ideal home!

  24. We downsized 5 years ago from the home where we raised our kids. Our residence is now a condo townhouse in a small development of 12 units. Presently we are searching for a 3 season home on the shores of Lake Huron. As a family we have vacationed here for decades so it is a place our children love as well. Our plan is to keep a apartment in the city till my spouse retires and spend most of the year at the lake and 3 months somewhere warm and travelling as well.

    1. I’m from that area and understand why you love it. Hoping to retire in London but prices are up and supply is low for bungalows.

  25. Retirement living is HUGE on our minds right now – and has been a constant topic of conversation on our daily walks around Lake Anne for years! We’ve just decided that, rather than moving from the DC area that we really love to the central Florida home we bought 14 years ago with thoughts of retiring there (and have leased to others since then) we are going to move to our much-loved home in Aix en Provence. We had planned to spend 3 months there, 3 months in Florida, repeat as needed, but we just don’t want to live in Florida yet, and every time we’re in Aix we wish we didn’t have to leave….so decided to move there, returning to the US a couple of times a year to spend time with family. So that’s the plan – we’ll see if it really happens!

    1. Given your options I’d move to Aix too!! It’s a gorgeous spot and cute little town. I wish I had those sort of options. Enjoy!!

  26. Bonnie Hall says:

    We downsized twice from the house where our kids grew up. The last downsize was to the N.C. mtns where we had had a vacation condo, but best of all was closer to grandchildren! Now, they are almost all in college (the oldest in college in CA!). The other set of gtandchildren were in CO, but we used our motorcoach to visit them (and flew out too). Now they live in Ohio…much closer! We are now torn between our condo on the SC coast and our Mtn house. This latest cold snap is pulling us closer to the coastal condo! Isn’t is wonderful to have options!

    1. You are lucky to have options. I’d stay in SC too. Stay warm

  27. Good luck. Can you put your things in storage and do AirBnBs until you find the place you like? We live across the street from a retirement community, and I see the residents really look out for each other. That’s a big plus.
    Family also is important. Time can slip away without seeing them (grandkids!) if you’re too far away.
    Personally, I am itching to downsize. I don’t enjoy gardening and miss city life.

    1. That would be very costly as we have a lot of “stuff” Believe me I wish we had less. I want to downsize too

  28. I feel for you, Jennifer. No, I am still living in our first house. My hubby would love to downsize into a city side apartment, but I don’t want to give up my yard, my deck 3 seasons a year, closeness to my yoga classes, grandchildren…..and the thought of using common area washers/dryers? No!
    I might regret this stubbornness, but not yet.

    1. Paulette, as my children have moved from apartment to condo to apartment over the past few years I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the number of units that now have their own washers/ dryers! The condo my daughter just bought is in a 13-unit building that has a common laundry area but most of the condo owners have gone to the expense of installing their own.

    2. We retired when we turned 50, (10 years ago), but we really like living in our current suburb which is close to shops, doctors, the CBD etc. My husband would like to downsize to an apartment, but that is my idea of hell and since he can’t bear the thought of cleaning out his garages and shed, we will stay put.

      1. My husband can’t seem to get rid of anything too so I feel your pain

  29. Ha! No matter how we plan, envision and organize, life doesn’t always follow along. I had it all planned and then real estate sales came to a screeching halt and I haven’t been able to sell and now demand and prices have increased where I wanted to move to. My husband needs to retire and that will cut our income in half. I”m on plan “G” at this point. Keep your eye on the end goal to keep your focus and move forward. Something will turn up!

  30. Hello Jennifer. Although my husband and I have a few more years before we retire, I have begun the exploration into retirment. I am relating very closely to your post. We have five beautiful grandchildren who live nearby and see often. The thought of leaving them is daunting. We also realize they have a full life that will absorbe more and more of their time as their family ages too. I look forward to reading about your adventure!

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