Confronting the Decision to Move: The Journey Ahead
by Betty SoldzA number of years ago, when my husband retired, we decided to move from the East coast to California. Now we were agonizing over whether or not to move back East.
We moved to California from Washington D.C. after having paid several visits the state and falling in love with the weather, the scenery, and the ambiance. At the time, we had two married sons. One lived in Boston and the other in Washington, D.C. Although we dearly loved our children we were looking for a change in our life pattern. We hoped that if we moved and they visited us, they would fall in love with California and also move here. Although they have visited numerous times, this did not happen. They and their wives were committed to their work and their communities. So this dream did not work out the way we hoped it would.
Life here has been wonderful, especially for me. I returned to school to obtain a degree in Social Work. I have held some exciting jobs and actually still do. I have made numerous new friends. Why then would one want to make such a drastic change at this time of life?
A number of things happened which led to this agonizing question. When the Loma Prieta earthquake hit in 1989 we realized the enormous danger in living so near to several earthquake faults. Since Northern California had not had a major earthquake in many years we hadn't even considered this danger when we moved here. People who grew up here seem to be able to put this out of their mind but not us. We feel terribly vulnerable. Then we lost our home in the terrible Oakland Firestorm of 1991 when 3300 homes in our area were lost. Although our home has been rebuilt, it has never been the same. Having lived through the last nine years since our big fire and putting up with the reconstruction of the neighborhood, which is still not complete, I know I don't want to go through that kind of devastation again. A large earthquake will certainly cause much more damage.
What really started us agonizing over the question of whether to move back east was when six years ago a wonderful little grandchild came into our lives. We were now grandparents. This was something we had hoped for but had begun to believe would never happen. We realize that visiting once or twice a year is not the same as being a hands-on grandparent. We may never have another chance to be a grandparent and we are feeling that this is too wonderful a part of life to give up. When the weekend or holidays come and our friends spend them with their family we feel a great sadness that we cannot share this time with our own children and grandchild.
Then one of our family back east had a stroke and we felt so far away. We felt the need to be closer to our children and grandson, to help ease their worries. Lastly, we are fifteen years older than when we moved here and are giving thought to our old age. Who will be here for us when we need help? Thus, we began our odyssey.
I would like to share with you the process we used to make this decision and in a later articles I will share how it all worked out. I started by listing the reasons to consider moving using some of these reasons listed above. Then I included my thoughts on why we should not move and shared these thoughts with my husband, who then added his own. When the list of reasons to move was much longer than the list of reasons not too, we decided it was time to investigate homes in Boston. We chose Boston so we would be able to be a part of our grandson's life and because we would be a family again. We would also be close enough to our other son and daughter-in-law to see them often.
Our next step was to consider the factors that would be most important to us in a new community. What type of neighborhood did we want to live in? Was public transportation important? Was it important to be near a community center where we would hope to meet and make new friends? What kind of lifestyle did we want? What are the health care options? Would we be able to remain in the house if our health situation changed? Lastly, what compromises would we be willing to make on these factors.
Our son Stephen, excited about our possible move to the Boston area, gave us many books on the area. We spent much time devouring the information in them. We spent many months checking out real estate on the Internet. We purchased a subscription to the Boston Globe and communicated with real estate agents. We arranged to be pre-approved for a home loan so that when we found a home we would be ready to purchase it. At the same time, we interviewed several real estate agents about selling our present home and began making repairs and improvements as needed. It is good that we started on this project early because none of the repairs have gone smoothly.
We were however, off to Boston on the first chapter of this journey.