I love living vicariously through Kathleen Peddicord’s retire abroad posts at U.S. News. I’m sure I’m not the only one that thinks it would be fun to ditch suburbia and retire overseas, spending the rest of your days exploring the world.
I used to have a fantasy about selling our house after we retired, and using the proceeds to finance year-long rentals in various locations, both in the U.S. and abroad. Or mix those up with some six-month stints, spending the winters on sunny tropical beaches and the summers in some vibrant, fast-paced cities. My favorite travel is the living-there kind, getting to know a place at a very slow pace. I prefer that to the frantic pace of trips squeezed into the two-week allotments of my past.
Besides the complications and logistics of such a jet-setting lifestyle, my biggest barrier to this dream was that my husband Doug did not share it. At least I thought he was the big obstacle.
But this weekend we hosted our annual rib night, a gathering of 12 of our pig-loving friends, well 11 pig lovers, and one who prefers chicken. This year's party included a special treat when one of our guests surprised his wife of 20 years with a diamond anniversary ring. He tied it to the stem of her wine glass with a purple velvet ribbon. Even when there are no diamonds involved, it’s one of those traditions we look forward to each year. And it always ends in karaoke singing until the sober people, also known as the designated drivers, can’t stand it any longer.
Last week we took one of our favorite couples down to watch a Sharks game. And a few evenings before that, we dined at my parents’ house and played a few rounds of poker. This weekend Doug’s family is driving up from LA to visit for a few days.
The point is, Doug isn’t really standing in the way of me and the retirement of my dreams. This is the retirement of my dreams—getting together with friends and family as much as possible. Going on my weekly walk and my weekly lunch date with two of my best girlfriends. These are the parts of retirement I enjoy the most. If we retired somewhere far away, or a series of far away places, I’d miss all this. Sure, we’d meet new people. But I’ve spent a lifetime forming bonds with the people I already know. I don’t want to give that up.
There’s nothing like being with friends who have known you for decades, especially over pork products. And sure, your family would come visit you in London, or Paris, or New York, but it wouldn’t be the same as driving a half an hour away for dinner or hopping on a quick flight to LA for a couple nights. I’m not sure if retirement would be worth it to me if there were a big hole in the space where my friends and family now fit in.
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