boardwalk at the beach
Mental Health

Retiring to a Seachange

I’m ‘pulling up stumps,’ I declared.

I was announcing to friends that I was to leave my inner-city lifestyle and was moving to a Home by the Sea. A Seachange is the correct word, I believe.

“What. Why?” was the plaintive responses from colleagues and friends.

“Why move further out? That’s a long commute.”

Especially when, they continued to counsel me, a sought-after, inner-city lifestyle offers heady attractions and a swathe of facilities and friends, in close proximity? And my own kids concurred.

At the first whiff of this decision, the adult children refused to be involved. They saw it as a hedonistic move to the region’s boganesque outskirts, better known as, ‘The Peninsula.’

So why did we decide to continue with a Seachange?

Because life in the city cuts both ways.

Inner City Lifestyle is Attractive

Our urban locale of many years was idyllic, or so we thought.

Picture energetic, vegan eateries and sushi trains, interspersed with Craft beer hangouts playing Indie music, to all hours. Streets lined with cafes, punctuated by glamorous shops, awash with white and taupe furnishings, selling those ludicrously expensive cushions that are positioned for looks, rather than comfort, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of my former location. Many would find that attractive.

I have to admit the inner city life was swanky and practical. I had only a short walk to public transport, of all kinds, and a multitude of library and shopping options, as well as bakeries or gourmet restaurants, so close, that I’d never had to worry about squashing the bread or drinking and driving the car home.

So I had to ask myself again, why did I want to leave?

Because, it seemed. there was a niggling discontent in my heart.

I had begun to notice the downsides to urban living and they were becoming more and more bothersome, the closer I got to retirement age. I needed a change.

A Seachange.

But wait. I began to hesitate.

Did I really want to give up work and this urban lifestyle right now, given that one’s work and financial contribution to society forms a large part of our identity?

I had to think this through properly and reassess what I’d really miss and what might be a potential deal-breaker. Was I ready for Retirement and a Seachange? It was a big move!

Weighing Up the Pros and Cons of Hipster Life in the City

Point #1 – Endless Facilities

City living is an ongoing adrenaline rush and offers many opportunities, but it also results in an expanding waistline and other First-World Problems that triggers a level of guilt, in me, one I wasn’t entirely happy with.

I had to admit Triple-shot Macchiatos or Banh Mi Market Breakfasts with Almond smoothies, at the local markets, were really fun but also the chief suspects in my increasing girth.

Those lovely market stalls one browses, on Sunday mornings, you know the ones that feature lovely handmade items, or organic Kombucha with a Turmeric and Kale chaser and a pulled pork bun, are very hipster, but as I wasn’t exercising too much, (I dislike aerobic exercise), you can have too much of a good thing. Diet and health concerns were not the only pressure.

Add to this, I felt indulgent. This consumerist lifestyle felt privileged and wasteful, considering how much poverty, need and homelessness exists in the world. There had to be something better that aligned more with my twilight years.

Point #2 (Or should I call it: bothersome fact #2?) – Noise, Busy Roads and Traffic

There were loads of new facilities, medical centres, shops, gyms and pilates studios opening every other week in the inner city districts. However, the incessant noise from the construction was something I wasn’t getting used to. Quite the contrary, my sleep was disturbed more and more with each passing month. Sleep deprivation is the kind of torture that one can’t abide when the childbearing years are far behind you, so the noise did nothing to foster a jolly mood.

Couple this issue with two near-miss incidents with myself and heavy machinery, plus a workman’s vehicle swerving towards me, both happening at pedestrian crossings near home, were other imperatives to move to a quieter area. (Twice in one week, I was nearly run over simply crossing the road to follow the concreted footpath!)

The horse and buggy style of those dated inner-city alleys and streets, that no cat worth his salt would be found swinging in, are all very quaint when you are a pioneer in the early 19th century, but crossing the street after 6am in 2020 was akin to having a death wish.

And, don’t get me started on the lack of on, or off-street, parking. That was Point #3.

Point #4 – Sharing Space with a Growing Population Density

Exercise in the inner city constituted a 30-minute stroll in the morning down a popular shared bike and pedestrian path. Early morning walks here, had recently become a dance with death as teams of hardcore, professional cycling enthusiasts, festooned in their all-too-revealing-bodysuits notoriously rode at that same time, and usually three abreast.

Some would forget to ring their bell as a warning of their impending presence and I’d stumble to maintain my balance and calm my frightened dog, as they swished past in a blur of lycra, shouting, “Move – it’s a bikeway,” in a range of accents, or offer a very defiant ‘finger,’ if I didn’t move to let them pass.

journey

Despite all of this, it was the bruises that finally cemented my decision to sell and move to the Home by the Sea.

Point #5 – Small Rooms

In particular, the bruises incurred when my toe, or shin, connected clumsily with the bed-posts in the small inner-city Townhouse that I had down-sized to, as a potential retirement home. Low maintenance it was, but Townhouse living was going to be problematic.

Every room in my ultra-modern townhouse was so small, so confined, that it meant kicking my toe or shin, on the corner of the bed, vanity or chair, became a daily event. It might have been cute, compact and a breeze to clean, but there’s always a trade-off, isn’t there?

It was clear that I needed somewhere with a tad more space.

Not only that, but the family dog agreed with me.

Schnauzer Cam

Point #6 – Limited Yard for Pets

The small courtyard at the Townhouse gave the family dog no place to bury a bone, nor conduct her usual border patrol for illegal animal infiltrators. Her job, she thought, was to protect the premises from the likes of lizards, cats, Ibis or random Scrub Turkeys. The small astro-turfed courtyard just didn’t cut it, for my Princess.

A wild Scrub Turkey

A Home by the Sea

So weighing up the odds, we decided to move.

In complete contrast to Townhouse life, the Schnauzer loves her new home that has a small to medium L-shaped grassy yard. Now she can choose whether to sun herself or roll around in delight on the soft, green grass.

happy dog
Schnauzer discovering the yard

A bit like me really.

Retirement and the Pandemic

The Covid pandemic may have meant I retired a little prematurely, but more importantly, it has given me time to walk the dog, enjoy early mornings on the beach and not have to rush off to work, in busy commuter traffic.

To date, I have not sustained any bruises from the furniture in my new home by the sea!

A seemingly unending blue sky, fresh sea air, a comforting quietness as well as new places and friends to discover, has me feeling relaxed and content with no time constraints and nothing to do, but enjoy the rest of my life.

rubber thongs

More about my Seachange at the Home by the Sea

seachange
Home by the Sea

78 thoughts on “Retiring to a Seachange”

  1. Congratulations! I can totally relate to the ‘joys’ of living downtown versus in an idyllic calm, quiet slower place by the water. And your waterfront looks amazing! Sadly, my little lakefront county has been ‘discovered’ by the city hipsters and is very quickly turning into Hipsterville itself. More so this year as folks in the city, bank accounts full since there is no international travel going on, crave an escape from their tiny apartments. They swarm here on weekends, totally overwhelming locals and local beaches. Ugh!

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    1. This is an interesting slant on urban living. The tiny flat – great for working but hopeless on weekends, which means everyone heads out of town to the country or coastal resorts. Roads are jammed on Friday night and Sunday afternoons! And then you mention the implications of Covid. Extra money ironically when the economy and those who have lost work are struggling big time! I am sorry that your locale has been disturbed by these cityfolk, and thankfully the fact that my village is a little bit less of a choice for the citygoers than the surfing beaches saves us somewhat. But it is still much busier on weekends, even so. We tend to spend more time at the beach through the week, when it is sane!
      We did contemplate buying in at a swanky surf beach, for a time. Again I think the universe intervened, as the right place for us, just wasn’t on the market and then suddenly prices escalated wildly and we were priced out – as we wanted to keep a city residence as well. So that is when we opted for the less popular but still beautiful option. It has ticked all the boxes, and I prefer the calmer waters than the pounding of the surf in my ear night after night.
      Hopefully post Covid you may see a return to the tranquility of your part of the world. How long has it been since you moved? Is there any downside? Distance from specialist medical facilities etc?

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    1. I do feel safe and sound here Ari. I think it was the best move and I look back and think how did I put up with the former house for so long. It was like an albatross around our neck, with so much maintenance.

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  2. I agree entirely with your decision to move far from “organic Kombucha with a Turmeric and Kale chaser” – mein gott !! Revolting ! 😀
    In truth, we all need quieter times as we add on the years – not that you’ve added on anything like the number I’ve amassed, Amanda !
    Chic and I lived our last 13 years in the small suburb adjoining Sydney’s CBD, and I remained there for another 10 years. Now I’m in a town that reminds me of where I grew up; so my ‘move was more .. ahh .. fundamental.
    I don’t believe you can call yours a seachange: that involves not only going to big water, but also a REALLY long way away. So: how far from where you were are you now >

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    1. When you have a Schnauzer, you have another person in the family to consider, as you well know, Peggy. And now we have a Schnauzer granddog, my daughter’s new puppy living here.

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    1. Thank you, Pam and welcome to StPA. I think that slowing down is the key to surviving life in our time. Weeks sometimes pass in a blur, because we are so busy, always planning ahead and thinking of what happened before, or what is to come. When you peel back all the layers and remove the clutter, as this retirment seachange has given me, you can enjoy the present moment in all its richness. It is very satisfying. What part of the world are you residing in?

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    1. As time goes on, it seems so, Lisa. We still sometimes trek back to the city a few times a week, to visit family or run errands, but that I think may diminish over time. I aim to be mostly self-contained here. Do you think you will stay where you are in retirement?

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  3. You seem content, and that’s a huge factor. Six years ago we moved from Long Island to the mountains of North Carolina. We still miss the people there, but little else. I hope you will be extremely happy by the sea.

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    1. So you chose a treechange, Anne? I would also have been happy to do that, other than the M.o.t.h. wanted to live by the beach. He actually said one day, when I was trying to convince him of the peace found in living in mountain villages. “You can go and live on a mountain if you want, but I am not coming!”
      That is when I ditched the treechange plan. So it is only the people you miss from the city? Do you have good services in your area? Was it easy to make connections in your new community?

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      1. John was born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens. I didn’t think he’d move from Long Island, but the taxes drove him out. We visited our son, who lived in the mountains, and agreed to move here. We have relatives and dear friends left behind, but we’ve seen them several times a year. It’s a 12-hour drive, which I’m not overly eager to do again. I’d say we have good services, considering we live out from town on the side of a mountain. Our neighbors are THE BEST! We joined a church in Asheville and have enjoyed getting to know people there. John is involved with a train club in Tennessee (four hours away), and he has lots of friends there. I feel very close to many blogging friends and enjoy our neighbors. We retired here, and these first six years have been marvelous.

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          1. When I was growing up, people talked about Australia as a land of opportunity. You could get a fresh start and make something of yourself. I read fiction set in Australia and thought the people had solid values. All this was years ago, and I don’t remember particulars.

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          2. That is the sales pitch and has been for around two hundred years. Of course, the current government and the last few does everything to dissuade folks from coming here unless they are well heeled. Quite a contrast from historic times. I like to think we are fairly grounded and egalitarian, but there is an undercurrent of latent racism in some areas.

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  4. Good luck, Amanda, with your Seachange. My wife and I are enjoying our retirement in the suburbs of San Diego, where we’ve lived for 45 years. Of course, we’re within walking distance of most of our needs. The ocean is only ten miles away; and the national forest 50 minutes. Probably the most major point is that we’ve had some of the same good neighbors Since we’ve lived here. So we’re here to stay. Have a good one.
    Art

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When you found your niche, Art, it is a secure and strong feeling in one’s heart. You sound “dug in,”and right at home in your location and have good friends surrounding you. I think that is the feeling that I was looking for too. It just happened to be near the beach in a new community. But as time goes on, I feel like we are putting down strong, lengthy roots!
      Facilities within walking distance is a luxury not all of us can achieve, so that definitely is a plus for you.

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    1. Did you? Have you blogged about it? It would be fun to compare notes. Our town is smallish but has all the necessary facilities and the capital city about one hour away by car. Do you have any regrets?

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  5. This was one major choice to take, but I am sure you’ll all enjoy the change! And I have a feeling that your covid-19 lockdown would have been much more stressfull in the heart of the city… Nothing happens for no reason, I wish you a great retirement in your little new environment 🙂 *Big hugs* from Montréal xx

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    1. Hi C! Waving madly across the Pacific! (Lol!) Thanks for those kind thoughts. I must agree with you. The move to the townhouse did not turn out for the best, but it was a learning experience for us and one that led us to our current paradise! The timing was also important as our kids were more ready to leave the nest – so to speak. And they loved the flexibility and options inner city living provided.
      To your point about the lockdown, I hadn’t thought about that, but as so many of my things were packed away due to limitations of space, I would not have been able to pursue my art interests nor the M.o.t.h. his woodwork potterings. Covid lockdown would have meant that the cafe lifestyle we pursued whilst living there was only a takeaway lifestyle. I wasn’t ready for retirment then, but am so happy I retired now! How are things going for you and D?

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  6. They say, a change is as good as a holiday. We left the big inner city a long time ago in 1996 and went the total opposite onto a farm. It was wonderful, the peace and quiet. The birds our morning wake-up, the silence of the sky above the trees and meadows, it was idyllic.

    But, after 14 years of this sweet murmuring life-style we were ready in 2010 for a move back to latte and community of friendly neighbours but not in the big city, we went for a smaller mini version. The country town of Bowral, a nice town house with a big enough yard and lebensraum for dogs and occasional visits of grandchildren.

    After an initial hick-up with a sociopath of a garden and tree hating neighbour I now moved for the second time some weeks ago, and the going so far is very nice.
    I am happy here and my choice now is to have the peace of ageing gracefully to tend the violas, the Grevilleas and feed my Jack Russell, Milo, and also almost on a daily basis, go to my cafe group of people at the local cricket haunt where thankfully no one talks about cricket or sport. A great social group of nice people.

    So far, it is pretty good and satisfying.

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    1. No I don’t have too far to go to visit the shops and cafes etc. It really is the best of both on the peninsula, even though many disregard it as a potential residence. Our army of enthusiasts is growing, however.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. So, the move would have to be in that same region, Janis? My move was within the same part of the state, but enough for me to feel like I have left the previous lifestyle behind. We did contemplate moving further afield, but in hindsight that would have meant a lot more travelling back and forth given the pandemic situation this year. And travelling would not have been possible. I am glad we stayed within the regional area but so glad we are near to the water and not in the city. If you have the perfect combination of weather and location then all the better as you know where to find everything and have the community around you. I had a fundamental feeling that I needed a change that I didn’t want to die in the same areas I had lived for most of my life. I wanted somewhere a little different but not too different, if that makes sense?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That makes perfect sense! I was born and raised no more than 8 miles from our current location. Although I have lived other places while going to school and, briefly, at a job, 99% of my life has been in this city, 100% in this state (other than traveling, of course). It would be nice to experience something different… but not too different.

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  7. I was really interested in this post because to be honest, my retirement dream would be an apartment in the city. I guess we want what doesn’t have the things that annoy us. Living in a large house with a large yard in a regional city, I am well over endless cleaning and weeding and I want to live somewhere I can walk to galleries, theatres and quirky restaurants. So your view from that very place was useful for the downsides. I’m glad you’ve found what’s right for you, Amanda. It looks like a lovely place to retire.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you, Heather, on the effort of having a large house and the cleaning. We downsized to the townhouse thinking it was the solution for us: a smaller place in the same area. I was so over a big house and the yard and pool overwhelmed me with constant maintenance. The weeding- ahhh! Hated it with a passion. But we so liked the location. Luckily the universe intervened as after almost 2 years of fruitless searching the Moth was prepared to explore other options that led us to what really worked for us. It was almost that we had to try out the townhouse option, in order to discover what we really needed. I recommend renting before you commit to buying in a different location if you can.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I understand but sometimes it comes around so suddenly!
          We started looking around, whilst 2 of the 3 were still living under our roof, taking day trips to suss out new locations. We had a lot of fun doing it. The youngest child was shuffled off a little earlier than her brothers, but it was her choice, unsurprisingly she was also the first to come back.

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  8. Your sea change sounded exactly like what you needed. I also have eyed the inner city suburbs as the place to be and like living close to all the cafes and transport links. However, this lockdown period has got me thinking otherwise. It would be so nice to have a garden to potter around in and quiet walks in nature. Unfortunately, I’m not close to retirement yet and will need to be close to city centres until we can all work remotely full-time.

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  9. I absolutely loved this post! I was going to take a year after retirement to live in an urban setting with no car and much less space to take care of. It sounded so romantic somehow. Life had a different plan. I retired a year early due to health concerns and although I got to move to the west coast and live a somewhat coastal life, I never did get that pied à terre in Vancouver. 5 years on, we have been in our newly constructed home in the suburbs for 2 yrs. I love everything about our lifestyle. In the end, I think living in the city would have been too noisy. Your post is spot on! By the way, what work did you retire from?

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    1. Thank you, Klodo. I am so loving being here so far. 30 degrees colder – is that in Fahrenheit? The winter storms, I could probably do without, but the temperature drop would be welcome.
      Having said that, the water on three sides of our peninsula means the temperature is moderated so we don’t have too much of any one extreme. Mostly in summer, it is cooler as we have sea breezes coming in every afternoon, and in winter, I expected it to be a tad colder, but our house is energy efficient, insulated and brick and that appears to make such a different. I also chose an aspect that faced north to maximise the light we receive in the house in winter. So many folks don’t consider aspect when building a house. They have patios or large glass windows facing west! That is crazy here – you are inviting the sun into your house in summer of an evening – and this mandates air conditioning to be a necessity. More consideration of aspect would lead to decreased energy usage and a more comfortable micro-climate inside the house.

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      1. That’s interesting and I am glad you are loving it. I hope we get loads more pictures of beaches and sunsets. I think in many countries they use far more on air conditioning than heating which is a problem if the world is getting hotter. yes its in Fahrenheit although we also use Celsius to make it more confusing. Its gets into the nineties F in the summer but the thirties or below freezing in deepest winter although I always prefer winter to summer as I hate the heat for long living in a city but I imagine its much more pleasant on the beach!

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        1. Summer is always better at, and on the beach! Now that our house is finished, I was wondering what the focus for the Home by the Sea blog should be, besides cooking, so I hope you realize that encourages me to post more pics. I might take the dogs to the beach today as I have nothing planned. Lots of people think a second wave is coming up from down south, so we should get out while we can. Did you hear about the two girls who visited Melbourne and brought the virus up here to Queensland – we had no cases for months and months….

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          1. I was going t say yes but we had lots of snow about 10 years ago but then they said climate change might make the winters worse and the summers hotter! Today it was 35.4 Cellsius here. That’s 96.44 in old money!

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  10. Beautiful place and I can well relate to the thought process.
    I quit the corporate rat race in 1998 and life has been cool ever since.
    All the very best to you my friend

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure my friend
        There are no hard and fast rules in life. All of us are so different and come from different cultures and backgrounds.

        Balance is always the best way. I do believe we should spend more time in contemplation (for me it is meditation) and helping others. And also follow your heart – fulfil all your worthwhile dreams and desires.
        You seem to be on the right path my friend and wish you all the best.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I so enjoy my meditation practice so I hope that bodes well for me. I think it is true. Try to find the balance in life, everything in moderation, and the happy medium – I do aim for the middle path.
          Contemplation is something I am doing much more of now, without letting the mind attach or be distracted by the worries of the day. Helping others – what good advice. If only all of us practised loving kindness and thought of the next person!

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