When I first started dating my husband, it was a cold, blustery February and there was a fresh dusting of snow on the ground. I remember we got on the topic of moving to warmer weather. After all, I was not made for cold days! Every winter since, he has listened to me complain about the cold, coats, cold rain, and generally anything about my absolute hatred for the winter season. (Except for skiing—I have no problem visiting winter weather in small vacation settings!)
I told him about those few years I lived in Florida and how I missed the one-month winters. As time moved on, we began dreaming of drinking our morning coffee along the water with a tropical breeze and pelicans swirling in the air. He couldn’t yet move because of his daughter’s mother, and I couldn’t move as I promised the boys we would stay put after their dad died.
We Jumped At the Chance To See Our Dream Through…
Thus, the dream of skipping winters was permanently on hold—or at least for 10 years. We began designing the perfect home in our heads, talking about options (downstairs master bedroom for when we are old, detached garage with an apartment for the kids and grandkids to come visit, dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows revealing the most beautiful view) and dreaming of Floridian life down the road.
Fast forward to when the countdown dropped to 7 years and the housing market had substantially risen and interest rates kept going higher and higher and higher.
Worried about being priced out of our dream retirement home, we began to seriously look at waterfront property in the Sunshine State and the potential of buying and building years down the road.
On a whim, we flew out, explored the area, and looked at countless properties. I knew we were looking, but buying? I honestly didn’t think we were at that place. But, as we looked around we zeroed in on a few areas that met both of our desires. Next thing I knew, we began putting in offers.
When the first one didn’t accept, I was almost relived. After all, I had asked God to shut any doors that weren’t right and open the doors that were. But then, as we moved on and decided to move forward on another, we signed the paperwork and I couldn’t help but think, “What are we doing?”
..And Began Questioning the Unknown
I began to panic. How in the world can I leave the place where I grew up? Are we abandoning our kids? What about those friends that I prayed for for so long—can they come with us? What about my parents? It’s my job to take care of them! Instead of being excited, I began to swirl in a storm of fear and anxiety of the unknown.
Those feelings continued as others asked us about the kids. What if they wanted to stay put? Shouldn’t we stay put too? After all, if we moved we might never get to see them, or our grandkids! They were not wrong in their line of questioning. They are far from their own grandkids and see them rarely. I’m sure that they didn’t want us to end up in the same situation.
But then I was having breakfast with a friend who is like a mom to me. They have stayed put, and their family has not. She mentioned how many of her friends were in that exact position, never making the move to be where they wanted to be and not being near their kids and grandkids either.
Her advice? GO. Go be anywhere you want to be. You never know where your kids will end up as they chart their own paths.
So now, fear of walking away from what has been home for so long has dwindled. We are planning on a place that will allow us the life we have always dreamed of with those tropical winds and one-month-winters. At the same time, we are designing an upstairs with plenty of space that allows for visiting family to have all the comforts of their own home.
When Your Life Change Affects Those You Love
But, if they don’t? That’s OK. We will make the effort to visit our kids and grandkids, wherever they may be. We won’t see them rarely. We will put in the effort to meet them where they are or bring them to see us. After all, we have earned the life we are planning for and so have our kids. I have no idea where their paths will take them just yet.
But whatever they decide to do with their lives, I will not stand in their way or encourage them to continue living at home. My job as a parent is to encourage and prepare them to go out in to the world and do what they want most. I want them to pursue their dreams and do the things that make their hearts soar.
You are only young once. Take the risk, go after the job, travel the world, retire where it’s warm… That is what we all should be doing.
You might hit some opposition when taking a chance on a lifelong dream. Listen to this podcast episode to learn how to find the confidence to speak up when others disagree: Are You Afraid to Speak Up When Others Disagree? – 224