What I Discovered About Moving After 50

February 11, 2018 Published by
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Moving After 50

Some of you know my husband, Shelly, and I are thinking about moving away from the ‘desert of California’ to the ‘Sea of Somewhere.’ The Atlantic? The Pacific? When we made the decision to put our home on the market in order to live near the Sea, it never entered my mind that making new friends would be difficult because we are moving after 50.

We are both extroverts and adapt well to new surroundings. Then one day my extrovert husband said to me, “It’s difficult when you move to a new city to make friends,” I felt a shiver run through me because my husband is wise and thinks before he speaks. His statement gave me room for thought and I wondered, “If he thinks it will be hard for me, what about the reserved women in the world?”

I wondered how reserved women who are moving after 50 deal with their feelings when they move to a new community and try and make new friends. The newness of everything is daunting, especially when older. It must be especially uncomfortable for the women who are reserved by nature. It takes a lot of emotional energy to put themselves out there. But they can, once they establish their manner of connecting with the right people for their happiness.

I continued thinking: When you are under 50, moving is less daunting because you have many opportunities to meet new people and make new friends through your full-time job or the parents of your kids’ friends. Because of those circumstances, you can more easily create a circle of friends and have a sense of belonging.

When you are moving after 50, the spin on life takes on a new approach. You are now retired. You are empty nesters and you no longer ‘hang out.’ Meeting people isn’t easy and often times is uncomfortable; especially for reserved women. A reserved woman is just as happy curling up with a great book.

A RESERVED WOMAN MUST GET INTO THE RIGHT ‘MINDSET’ IN ORDER TO ‘VENTURE OUT’ TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS.

1. I think taking a class in something new that excites you gives out ‘happiness vibes’ and you will be more apt to join in a conversation.
2. A book club is a great way to connect with new people. Conversation through literature. I have found many different types of women join book clubs. You will find your type.
3. Of course, volunteering is a great opportunity for the reserved woman to meet others who share the same common goal.
4. By joining a church or synagogue not only do you gain a reassuring destination, but they also all have Newcomer Clubs. This is an ideal opportunity to make new friends who share your same values.

AN EXTROVERTED WOMAN SHOULD NOT MAKE QUICK MOVES

I am a sunny side of the street extrovert, ready for any new adventure, but I am not foolish. My husband’s statement rocked me because I respect and look up to him. “It is difficult when you move to a new city to make new friends,” he said.

The statement is logical and makes good sense, so I am going to stay grounded and not make any decisions until our ducks are in a row and I feel we will be happy in a new community.

When we listed our home, a month ago, we hurried out to bury a Saint Joseph statue. We found a little shop with a charming owner and bought the Saint. The tale says to bury Saint Joseph face down in the front yard and your house will sell because the Saint is not happy in that position. As soon as your home sells, you dig up Saint Joseph.

I recently decided I would not bury the Saint because the last time my young daughters and I buried one, years ago, our home sold in a week. So, he is still boxed and rests on a shelf in my closet. I decided I don’t want the Saint involved with the sale of our home. In other words, I want to let what is to be…be.

Going back many years, my young daughters and I buried a Saint Joseph Statue. We were moving to Honolulu, Hawaii and we wanted our home to sell fast! Within one week, our home sold to our friends who had sold their house to move to Florida. They did not like Florida and moved back and bought our house. And off we traveled to Honolulu.

Fast forward many years later and I realized I am feeling somewhat vulnerable and hesitant to move at my age to a new city. Yes, my extroverted self even feels hesitation about meeting new people after 50!

I have decided to solve this by having a solid plan laid out for my ultimate concierge and myself. And so, I am planning. I am preparing. I am visualizing. I will not let fear hold me back, but I will recognize the emotion and work with it as I embrace new adventures… and new friends.

I am not ready just yet, but I will get there. After all, life is a journey and I love taking the road less traveled. And when I’m fully ready to depart, Saint Joseph will find a spot, face down in my yard and I will start the journey to find a new home by the sea… somewhere.

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17 Comments

  • dc says:

    Your words were something I had to hear for myself-you are so on target! My work necessitated a lot of my moving in the past and I never gave a thought to moving again but every word you wrote was dead on-I am still contemplating the “move” at this time. Thanks for the good inspiration.

  • GA Girl says:

    Making this transition an adventure can be extremely challenging, no matter what amount of planning you do. My husband and I transitioned from a part time residence in NJ, back to our long time home in GA. He passed away 6.5 years after our return, we had joined a new church. We were in a new community, might as well have been in another part of the world. Our children and their families live far away. Every little thing has been new and no where near easy, especially after his death.

    It’s a couples world. Your couple friends move on and socialize with their couple friends. You find yourself making a completely new life in a new place at a time when you are far from being able to “ put yourself out there” and enjoy adventures.

    Plan, plan and plan again. Be sure you understand the realities of this type of transition. Talk to people you don’t know who have made similar changes to get the real perspective on what could be ahead.

    Even outgoing women can be overwhelmed with transitions after 65, depending on curved balls that may come your way. There is no way to fully anticipate what’s ahead. Isn’t that best?

    Best of luck with your transition. This posting is one of your best. It’s very realistic and not about fluffy stuff but the realities of our lives as we age, not necessarily in place. It’s rare to find articles that address life’s realities.

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      You are wise and living proof that man plans and God laughs. That is why I am treading slowly. No fast moves. Thank you for enjoying my musings. I will continue to write realistically. You are right about that too. Life is not about fluff but about reality. Warmly, Honey

  • K Hurley says:

    It is far easier to make the move with a spouse/partner, so go for it! Even better when you are able to travel. I am a widow at 63, moved to be near family 4 years ago – have gone through most of the suggestions to build a new friend community, and have not been successful. This New Year’s resolution was that I no longer put energies into gaining new friends, but finding ways to continue happiness, and it has worked! I am finding amazing things to do on my own and know myself now more than I ever have. ‘Having the courage to change’ as you wrote, is what it took to move forward. Good luck to you, and your journey. Do it now while you can, no future is ever guaranteed. Thanks so much for your blog!

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      I love your story. I am so impressed you decided to follow your own journey. How resourceful of you. I spend time alone and enjoy finding my own happiness, too. I enjoy everything in life to include, myself. Warmly, Honey

  • Karen Jackson says:

    I love your St Joseph story! Three of my friends and I were in Maine at the coastal summer house of our friend’s when she decided to sell it. She was getting older and lived “days away” in Mobile, AL. We buried St Joseph with much fanfare and prayer. Her house sold quickly and her burden was lifted, but she was sad that the house she and her husband built was no longer hers. The story comes full circle – her sons have recently purchased it and it is back in the family! God IS good all the time!
    You mentioned the Pacific and the Atlantic, don’t forget the Gulf Coast! With your graciousness and charm, you could make lots of new “southern” friends with no problem. Just let us know you are coming and we will “leave the light on”! ????

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      Where do you live on the Gulf? I will not forget. And thank you. How kind and gracious of you. Your story is very touching and I am so glad you shared. I will ‘leave the light on’ for you if you come through my beautiful Chicago. Warmly, HOney

  • Mary says:

    Will you keep your Chicago place? We lived in Chicago 20 years, Dayton, OH for 14, then, as empty nesters, moved to Pittsburgh for 2 years and now Madison, wi for 5. We always had more friends than we knew what to do with. We both love a new adventure. We are both very social and do all the things to meet people and get involved in the community. This last move has been the hardest and not exactly sure why. In Pittsburgh we lived in a city neighborhood and loved it and met lots of people. I think one thing about moving to a new place is that people have their friends and with grandkids and aging parents, they don’t seem that interested in making new friends or have the time. We stay connected with our close friends from all the places we’ve lived through visits and traveling.
    I know you will be fine where ever you end up!

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      Yes, we will keep our apartment in the sky in my beautiful Chicago.A lot of planning goes into a move. It is one of the biggest and important decisions we make in our lives. Thank you for sharing your story. Warmly, Honey

  • Suzie says:

    As a previous comment stated, it is easier to move with s spouse to a new place. You are lucky to have that option. I am widowed and moved halfway across the country to be close to a family member due to my health. . I vacationed many times in this small beach area, staying with a brother and his partner, so thought I knew the place and could be content. I mistook a relaxing beach vacation in a rural area for longtime content. I moved from large metroplex to a small rural beach town thinkingbthe financial gains would allow more of a life. I was wrong. Cost of living is actually high due to tourism being the major industry in summer. Prices don’t drop when tourists leave! I am isolated and have found very few people who are not part of a couple- including my brother. I am farther from my children and financially not able to see them more than once a year.. I go to a community center 5x a week but most women I meet are retired here with spouses or newlyweds with young children. I would advise a woman moving without a spouse to research carefully. Money issues for women alone are real. This probably doesn’t apply to most wome here but there’s a big difference between loving a place on vacation and actually living there when you are alone, whether you have financial security, good health or not.

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      No one should move without a plan. You are not alone. So many women have done exactly what you did. I hope several women read your comments to me. You sent them a very good lesson. I am sorry you are upset. Warmly, Honey

  • Susan Cohen says:

    I have to say it is easier for you because you are not alone. I am alone with my pup, no significant other. I left the DC area 3 and a half years ago to come to Raleigh, NC to be with my sister and her grandchildren. I had just come off of chemo when my sister announced she was moving. I panicked thinking what if I got cancer again. I didn’t want to rely on friends so I made a very hasty decision to move. I left a wonderful job in a great boutique (you would have loved the clothes) and lifelong friends. What a terrible mistake I made, I never hardly see my sister because she moved to a lovely retirement community and fell right into new friends and loads of activities, I lost a lot of money selling my house and could only afford a rental. The women I have met are really not interested in meeting new friends, I go to the gym for classes but those women have husbands and are not interested either. I tried to go back home but can’t afford too, Trying to get a job but I get rejected. I feel stuck with too much time to think about illness and money issues. I’m not one to go places alone. Any suggestions?

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      I think you should go home, where you belong. First of all, find out if you can have your job back at the boutique. You need income. Secondly, realize you might have to lower your housing standards for a time but that does not mean you will be unhappy. You need to be with your old friends, your old job and live in your hometown.If you want it bad enough you can figure out a way. Kepp me posted. Warmly, Honey

  • Jeanne says:

    Great blog and extremely real. My husband and I have always had many friends and an active life. We moved 4 years ago to be near our children and grands. We love being near our family and are continuing to make new friendships. Meeting many people but wanting to be with people who are genuine, kind, authentic people makes it difficult to develop meaningful relationships. We continue to persevere and find activities we enjoy doing. I am thankful for my sweet husband and our enjoyment of time spent together. Have met many people but slow finding people we want to spend much time with. Moving in our 60s has been a new challenge. I am interested in more information on beginning a focus group and deciding who to include in the group.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Three years ago I retired and moved from the town where I was born and lived for 64 years so I could be near family. I planned extensively for what I would do to meet new people. I thought I knew exactly how I would structure my life here to make new friends but those plans did not work out at all! Although I had not been a member of a church for many years, I was drawn to a nearby small neighborhood church. There I have met some of the most amazing people and have made several new women friends who “mirror” me (like Honey says). We encourage and support each other in being in service to our lovely little community as well as having some wonderful adventures that extend beyond our church and community. One thing I enjoy so much with my new friends is their love of exploring. We frequently plan and set out on a “day trip” to explore other cities and towns, museums, festivals, unique attractions and always look for the most scenic route. Honey, you are right and very smart to plan, but as you also remind us – also be open to new ideas and possible changes. I wish you the best in selling your house and finding the perfect place by which ever sea you decide on.

  • Sherry says:

    I started my “adventure” in June, 2017. I moved from my home of 30 years, away from my daughter, but closer to my son. The distance is a 5 hour drive from one side of Georgia to the other, Savannah. I left a 3500 sq ft home for a 985 sq ft CONDO. My husband had passed two years prior and I knew I would be very lonely in our small town, even though I knew everyone! I love Savannah and especially Tybee Island 20 minutes away. I am a ocean person, having lived in Oceanside .Ca and Naples, Fla also. I have met many great people in my condos, single like myself. I plan to either return to work part time, doing something I have never done before, r ecplore volunteering. I spend time with my 2 yr old grandson weekly, (Dad is a soldier) I still get to plant flowers around my condo, which I love, and the conveniences of a big, beautiful city vs a small town of approx 1000 are fascinating. I have my “moments” and i also had them before i moved…side effects of being a widow. But I would do it all over again tomorrow.
    Life is too short to waste a day, look to enjoy every moment. My favorite is a beach walk, where u never meet a stranger…

  • Pepper D says:

    We moved to an active over-55 community about 10 years ago. I thought, once we hit that age group, that being around people the same age, meaning same place in life (no more working full time, no more PTAs and soccer practices, etc.) that it would be easier to make new friendships. Although we have made a few, what I have come to realize and see is that one has to be selective as to what community one moves to.

    The community we moved to (in the PNW), has over 1,500 homes with the average age of about 60-65. However, even though there are many residents here, the majority of them moved here to be closer to their kids and grandkids. So, they spend alot of time babysitting and involved in the grandkids activities full-time, not leaving much time for doing things with other residents or neighbors. They want it that way and like it that way.. AND then when the kids get transferred to a new job in a new city, the grandparents move with. Knowing this, people tend to shy from getting overly involved in new friendships – whether single or not.

    What I am told by people who have homes in other active over-55 communities, say in California or Arizona or Florida, is that the people move there to start a new chapter in their lives. They love their kids and grandkids, but want to now do things for themselves. They moved to these communities because they were active over-55 communities that have many activities going on, where they can meet others who have common goals and interests, and whereby residents don’t isolate themselves from their neighbors and actively participate. They desire to make new friendships and relationships. Doesn’t matter if single or married.

    I, personally, love to move. Whether in the same area, across town, different state – doesn’t matter. I love the change a move presents and the new opportunities that are. New home, new neighborhood, new neighbors, new places to explore and try. It is a refreshing change. But I know not everyone feels that way.

    We are thinking of moving to a warmer climate, and feel that moving to another active over-55 community will be the best way to meet people who are in the same place in their lives as we are. When one moves to a home in a neighborhood, yes, there is the diversity that keeps it interesting, however, trying to find the commonality to share, can be challenging in these times.

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