In this forum, we enthusiastically write about where we will re-locate in order to be closer to activities we may have long put off, or weather we wish we could enjoy immediately. I want to reflect upon one of my decisions that was taken thinking of the longer future. It has had an impact upon my immediate living situation, but there were other considerations too when I chose it. One idea in my head was with whom I would celebrate holidays in my retirement. I have let my job dictate where I lived, and I know that being alone for holidays like Thanksgiving is bearable, but not much fun.
I am now not that many years away from retirement, and that led me to change jobs a few years ago so as to be closer to my relatives. In my case, it meant moving to Portland, Oregon. It is so much easier to get together with relatives for holidays now. But, in my case, the majority of my relatives are elderly. I'm enjoying them now, but I do ask myself what I will do when they are gone. A solution I found for myself was to move into a co-housing group, Daybreak Co-housing. We are a multi-generational group who have all expressed interest in connecting ourselves as a community. I have all the independence I want in my unit, but I have access to community meals and community activities by simply stepping out of my front door. We have begun to hold holiday celebrations, as well as pre- and post-holiday celebrations for those who want to spend the actual day of the holiday with other relatives. For example, a core of the group had a Thanksgiving dinner. I wasn't there because I traveled 300 miles to have dinner with relatives in Seattle, but I came back a day later. Then I got to have a reprise of Thanksgiving dinner with my Daybreak family on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The plain reality is that most of my Daybreak "family" members are likely to be around longer than my blood relatives. I think this is an indirect advantage of choosing co-housing now. By the time I am retired I will have gathered around me a "family" that will be there for me in the future when, sadly, my blood relatives will have passed on. I am building ties with them now.
Our circumstances are going to change in retirement too. I think it is important to think ahead, and put multiple support systems in place. A group to celebrate holidays with is very important.
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