I live in the tropical jungle and dream of cities and cold. A friend lives in an Edwardian, Edinburgh townhouse and dreams of a chic, modern glass dwelling at the beach.
Another friend lives in suburban New Jersey and dreams of life on a ranch in Wyoming. Whilst a friend in Vancouver dreams of life in Italy. And who doesn’t want to live in Paris?
For many years I thought my desire to plant myself somewhere else was only silly me, wanting what I didn’t have. I thought it had to do with my restlessness, my internationality, my dual city/country nature. Or to be perfectly honest, I blamed it on my tendency to be not satisfied.
So, I recently wrote an article about feeling homeless and the response was so huge that it made me realize I touched on something.
I discovered that it is not uncommon for women in their 60s to be soul searching for a place to live. During our lives we live where we grew up, or we live where we get jobs.
Sometimes we live at a place where we ended up through a combination of university, marriage, family and work. And we don’t think much about it – it is what it is.
But suddenly, in our 60s, it is not uncommon to feel that our soul doesn’t feel at home there. It is restless. The feeling gets urgent.
We’ve outgrown our home for a variety of reasons. Divorce, death. Maybe it’s too expensive and we need a lower cost lifestyle. We begin dreaming of where we want to live. Which is, it turns out, “anywhere but here.” Lucky are you who love exactly where you are.
Age is pressing, and now we do have the freedom, time and money to move. We begin fantasizing, rationalizing, looking for our soul’s home. After all, why not live exactly where you want to live?
Then, perhaps we do pull it off – the big move. We think everything will be great. But maybe it’s not. So, we realize new things.
I’m thinking of the transplanted Atlantan who moved to the wild mountains of Montana with her husband and realized she can’t shake the southern girl inside of her. As much as she loves it in Montana, she lives with a heartache for her southern, city roots.
Another hotelier friend often gets transferred to glamorous vacation destinations like Vietnam, Majorca, Crete, but craves only her hometown of Amsterdam.
I have analyzed what I want, exactly, and suggest you do the same. What I want is: a midsize city, sophisticated, with excellent public transportation, international airport, world class culture, with close and easy access to an extraordinary countryside.
I have just described Zurich, Switzerland. Stateside, I would say, Chicago, Illinois. The countryside outside of Chicago is not as dramatic as the Swiss countryside, but it’s wild enough.
For me, there’s something marvelous about having a city perched on a lake – or in the case of Chicago, a magnificent ocean-sized body of water called a lake.
But the price to pay for living in Chicago is the severe winter. Who moves from the tropics to Chicago? No one. The price to pay for living in Zurich is the high cost of living, and well, the Swiss. Sorry!
So that’s question number one: are you willing to pay the price to live where you want? All the costs are different for each locale. If you want to live in the tropics, the price you pay is serious scary bugs, mold, undrinkable water, no sewage, etc.
The tropics are fine for vacation, but when it comes to living here, not for sissies. Also, everywhere is far from somewhere. Living where you want may require several plane connections. That’s a price to pay.
How do you start over at 60 plus? How do you make friends in a new community when you no longer have a work community to expand your social circles? Or having children in school which helps you to meet other families?
It’s daunting, this idea of moving, being alone and starting over. So if you are aware of the realities and up to the challenge, go for it!
Where you have lived your life determines your new fantasy location.
I’ve lived in a tropical city for decades and dream of returning to the U.S. while boomers are pouring into my city thinking they’ve found nirvana.
I dream of sweaters and taking frosty walks, and they want nothing more than to enjoy the sun and heat. I dream of going to a U.S. supermarket, and they thrill doing their shopping in the mercado.
In the end, if you stay or if you move, remember this lovely fact: The desire to be somewhere else is why airplanes exist! Maybe you’ll have to stay where you are for whatever reason – the cost of living is good, you can’t sell your home, whatever. So you get on an airplane and go! Enjoy!
Are you happy where you live? Where do you want to move? What’s stopping you? Do you think you’ll have adjustment problems when you arrive there? Comment away below!