In a couple of months I’ll be celebrating my 10th anniversary as a retiree. 10 years! In a couple more I’ll have been retired 1/3 as long as I worked. Maybe this would be a good time to look at the things that worked out great and the things that have yet to come to fruition in this stage of life.
The things that are positive outnumber the negatives so I’ll start with those:
- Moving from a large centre to a smaller one. Although my job always required me to live within driving distance of Toronto or Montreal, I remain a small town guy at heart. In many ways coming to our current town was like going back 40 years in time for me to the small town experiences of my youth. I loved it – still do. My wife had misgivings about it at first, but she’s gotten involved with a lot of volunteer work so she probably fits in better than I do nowadays.
Almonte is a gorgeous town that is a tourist and antiquing Mecca for the Ottawa area. Its heritage industrial buildings have been lovingly recycled for residential and commercial use. The river and the waterfalls are lovely year round.
- Coming back to Eastern Ontario. Our family is here. That made our decision easy. We are close to our grandkids and Maria’s mother. My parents were not far away either.
When Maria’s sister got ill and eventually passed away, and when my parents were ill before they passed away we were much closer than we would have been in Western Ontario.
- Travel. We’ve had some wonderful holidays either alone or with Sarah, Dave and family. We discovered cruising and we’ve crossed the Atlantic a number of times. We are close to two major airports, and it’s far easier to go to New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont from where we are now. No driving round the Great Lakes.
- The weather. Yeah, yeah – I know winter can be brutal here but we don’t really have to go out in it anymore. Aside from cold snowy winters, the summer is warm, fall is spectacular and spring isn’t too bad – although we usually go from winter to summer in short order. The air is clean, the sunlight is dazzling and the night skies are spectacular.
It’s really a cottage country experience and we don’t need the cottage.
- Wildlife. Deer, foxes, coyotes, wild turkeys, red-winged blackbirds, hawks, raccoons, porcupines – seen ’em all. Chased a deer in my car right down the main street of Almonte a few winters ago.
Now from the glass half empty department:
- Still own two cars. I was hoping to get down to one as we don’t drive as much as we used to, but it hasn’t happened yet. It seems if one of us has to go away for a couple of days (usually that’s Maria) the one left behind is stuck at home without transportation. So we still have two cars to maintain and insure.
- Downsizing – fuhgeddaboudit. We had a 4 bedroom 2 storey house in Georgetown and we have a 3 bedroom bungalow here. It is marginally smaller but it has a huge basement and we manage to occupy everything.
The new house is easier to heat and cool and is generally warmer and less drafty in cold weather, but since we got a new place with some upgrades we didn’t really save all that much moving here. Our old home could never have helped to finance our retirement unless we lived in a rental apartment – and we don’t. We aren’t that far from Ottawa so home prices here are not cheap. Nor did we expect they would be.