When Baby Boomers were growing up, most families stayed in the same area and lived their whole lives with most family members nearby. That changed significantly in the last 50 years, and many families are now spread all over the country... or even around the world.
As Baby Boomers retire many are considering options on whether to stay where they are, move to a favorite location (often in a warmer climate) and/or move closer to family... both younger and older generations. I have worked with many people moving for many different reasons, but family is the most compelling reason and one that moves many.
Some clients have moved away from Minnesota to retire in different places away from family... only to bounce back a few years later because they missed everything they left behind. The pull to be close to family was stronger than the allure of living in a dream location.
If you are planning to move closer to family after being apart for many years make sure you are moving for the right reasons... be sure to ask plenty questions first, both of yourself and your family.
- Are you sure you are moving because you truly want to be closer to them and not because of guilt?
- Do they want to have you closer to them?
- Are you ready to make new friends in your new location or will you be relying totally on your family relationships?
- Will you end up being a caregiver, babysitter, cook, cleaner, etc for your parents or children/grandchildren? Be sure to consider and discuss these things in advance so everyone has the same expectations.
- What if you move to be close to your kids and they don't have time for you?
- How do you want to spend your time?
- Will you like living in your new community? What conditions must be met to make it the right move for you apart from your family?
- Does it make sense to live part time in different locations... have multiple homes near different family members, favorite vacation destinations, etc?
Living close to family can be a wonderful thing... but if you move closer to them it can be important not to overwhelm your family by expecting too much from them... and they too much from you. It is vital that you maintain and respect each other's personal space and private lives as well as enjoying your time together. In looking for a new home in your new community look for a place where you can also build a life and friendships separate from your family.
If it feels right, seize the opportunity... there is nothing that can equal the joy of being close enough to spend ordinary days with your family. In the words of Laura Ingalls Wilder, "I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."
It's amazing how many families I am working with right now who are making this kind of move to the Twin Cities. Their children went to school here and liked it so much they decided to stay... makes sense that their parents should spend at least part of their time here, too!