The American Dream after our Kids Leave the Nest

We are conditioned to desire more, better, bigger, throughout our lives.

Then our children leave the nest, never to return in the same way, and we are confused.

What is bigger or better than my lovely home I’ve adapted over 25 years to suit us just right: the new kitchen/family room surrounded by large windows, the deck off the kitchen where we barbecue and dine al fresco, the library we built full of cherry built ins and desks.

We try looking in Boston, in case that’s the step up, only to find we have to give up nearly everything to have a city vibe. No double cars, storage, light, flow, decks, as we’ve grown accustomed to. Just lattes and boutiques out your front door vs. having to drive to them. My husband coined the phrase, “Look what we are giving up” as an attribute. That’s the game, he says, show off what you can give up.

We try moving around a lot: Winters in Florida, Spring in Colorado, Summers at our Lake Home, vacations abroad.

But when we come back to our suburban splendor we feel the need to move from this place that housed our children, it exists more in our past than our future. I don’t want to know these neighbors any more, nor see their kids grow up, though like it or not I’m seeing these kids shoot up in height every time I look out my kitchen window.

Where can I aspire to live next? Before the senior living home or retirement community.

I invent the idea that a room with a view is what we need, though we already did that in our NH ski home years ago. But this time it will be a view of water, like we have in Lake George in the Summer. And unlike our summer home with Lake view, this will be our permanent home. Maybe in Natick or Wayland, though my husband thinks this is a dumb idea. We’ll only feel isolated out there further from the city.

What to do? Stay put? That sounds like a horrible idea. Kids gone, must make a move somewhere. Suburbia again somewhere else? My husband balks. Move to the city to give stuff up? I think that’s the only play, like it or not. Spend more to get less.

If only I could be content with what I have, as I have so much here in this amazing home we doubled the size of. It’s not too big, it’s just right and yet it does not have a view of water.

Search continues.

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