Sorry, long post!
DH and I have been discussing what to do when he eventually retires. Although it's not about to happen just yet, we do need to start making plans, as we currently live overseas. We need to decide where we're going to live as it will take time to find the right location/property. We've been having discussions about this for a very long time, so we certainly won't be rushing into anything without having already given it lots of thought and research. We've often gone around in circles, favouring one place over another, then changing our minds again a few months later! However, the time has now come when we do need to make some decisions.
Being long-time expats, we've always imagined that we'd eventually set down roots overseas, somewhere warm, where all the family can come to visit. However, as we're getting older, we wouldn't totally rule out returning to the UK (we do still have our house there, although we'd probably sell it and buy in another location). But, DH has some concerns about returning, as he's worried that we wouldn't be able to settle there, or we wouldn't 'fit in' after being away for so long.
We have a DD living in the UK with her partner, and I have no doubt they will get married, and hope to have children in the not too distant future. My DS & DiL live in another country, with our two young GDs, who (before Covid!) we used to visit regularly as they are only a short flight away from us.
Now, the dilemma! We are a very close family, and we have a great relationship with both our DD and DS, and their respective partners. BUT, geographically, we can't be close to all of them. I know that DD would love for us to return to the UK, and she's always said she wants us to be 'hands-on' grandparents if/when she has children, which is something I've always wanted to be in the position to do. Plus, I miss her terribly! However, if we relocated back to the UK, I can foresee that DS & his family probably wouldn't be too enthralled with the prospect of spending a lot of money on long-haul flights to the UK, to spend their 'holidays' with us in an average home, with dreary weather most of the time, and I wouldn't blame them!
However, if we relocated to say, Spain, for example, we'd be able to afford a house large enough to accommodate all of our family, with a pool, not far from the sea/beaches, etc., and I know that DS and his family would enjoy many long school holidays with us (they are both teachers). It would also be just a short flight to/from the UK for my DD & her partner to visit, and for us to visit them. But, of course, we'd never have that properly close relationship, or 'hands-on' grandparenting if she has children.
On one hand, my heart is telling me it would be better to be properly close to at least one of our children, and if we return to the UK we would be close to our DD, and also fulfil her wish, and mine, of one day being close to any potential GC she may give us. But this would mean we wouldn't see as much of our DS and his family, and it would kill me not to see our little GDs growing up.
On the other hand, my head is telling me to buy a home elsewhere, where all the family could enjoy regular holidays/visits. But that would mean we wouldn't be properly 'close' to either our DD or DS, and my husband & I would be on our own for the majority of the time in another country. That doesn't bother me, per se, as we are used to living overseas, and enjoy different cultures/exploring, and we have no problem making friends, etc.
What I am worried about is, if we were to relocate to Spain, would we live to regret not having that properly close relationship to at least one of our children? Or, should we consider a return to the UK to be close to our DD, but at the cost of seeing less of our DS and his family? Or, do we relocate to a place where both DD, and DS, can enjoy visits/holidays, but obviously not as often as we'd like to see them all, and we'll miss out on the closeness, and 'hands-on' grandparenting?
Retirement is something my DH and I have looked forward to for a long time, but right now I'm having sleepless nights about it all, and I feel in such a quandary about what to do!
What do other retirees think? Has anyone here been in a similar situation, and had to make decisions about what to do? What decisions did you make, and were they the right ones for you? Any advice or opinions will be greatly appreciated.
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