Starting Over After the Kids Have Grown Up

Bainbridge Island

Bainbridge Island (Photo credit: Sue Elias)

Article by Wendy McCance

When I was young, my dad had a job that had us moving from one state to the next every few years.  I loved the lifestyle.  I loved exploring new places, making new friends and enjoying the different scenery each move provided.

I lived in Ohio, Kansas, Montana and settled in Michigan before my dad left the job that had us moving around the country.  When he called it quits, we were in the midst of deciding on a move to Chicago or Nebraska.  Oddly enough, each time we had moved, my dad’s company gave him a few choices on places to live.

So we stayed in Michigan.  I had gotten so used to moving that I got bored rather quickly. I loved starting all over every few years.  A new home with a new bedroom.  A new school with new kids to get to know.  A new place to explore and challenge my senses.  A life of newness was no longer my life anymore.

I had gotten a kick out of the idea that I could visit several states and feel like I was home. I enjoyed the fact that I had friends I could visit all over the country.  It was a cool feeling.

The hardest part of moving around the country was an issue I didn’t realize I had until I was much older.  I made friends easily, but got bored quickly.  I never developed the tight bonds that many of my friends had with their other friends.  I had never gotten too attached because I had always known that within a few years, we would be packing up and moving away.  I didn’t want to miss anyone, so my friendships were rather superficial.

As an adult, I still wish to move away.  I had always planned to move back to Montana which was my favorite place when I was a kid.  Life got in the way and I ended up meeting someone with a huge family.  My soon to be husband had never lived anywhere but Michigan and couldn’t envision moving away from all of the family that visited each other on an almost daily basis.

Kids soon followed and I did enjoy the fact that the kids had tons of family close by to really get to know.  I had never personally experienced close family ties because we had always lived far from any relatives.  It meant a lot to me for the kids to have the close ties I never had myself.

The kids are getting older now, and my new husband is more willing to travel and move out of the state.  Each year I get just a bit more antsy to pack up and go.

For a few years, my husband and I were ready to go all out and move out of the country. We had settled on a life in New Zealand.  A few years after we had convinced ourselves that we would be moving there, it became more obvious that it was much to far from my kids who had no desire to move there with us.

Although I loved Montana, as an adult, I knew that the cold and snow packed winters would wear on me after a while.  I have been searching for that perfect place in the states to call home, and I think I have found my place.  I want to move to Seattle.  Not in the city, but to an island called Bainbridge.  It has everything I am looking for.  There are mountains and the ocean and forested areas.  The island is full of artists and writers. There is a nice downtown area and plenty to do.  The area is gorgeous and full of nature trails, beaches, farms and local wineries.

When I found the island, it felt like home.  Of course, this is just from what I have read and seen alone.  We are now planning a trip to see if my view of Seattle is everything I think it’s cracked up to be.

My dream is to find a few acres outside of town.  I want a quieter lifestyle where my husband and I can build a studio and be the creative souls that make up who we are.  I love that it wouldn’t be an isolated area.  We can ride our bikes into the downtown and enjoy the offerings of a fairly complete town.  There is a library, farmers market, movie theater, performing arts center, top-notch schools, and a terrific assortment of quaint shops and restaurants.

I have a five-year plan that may become extended depending on where my children live once they are out of high school.  Ultimately, wherever I end up, I won’t move until the kids have found their way and have their own places.  In the mean time, it’s fun to daydream about what possibilities my future may hold.

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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]

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10 thoughts on “Starting Over After the Kids Have Grown Up

  1. Hi Wendy….thanks for your thoughts on this. I think it is something that each of us should consider at some point in our lives…and it carries a lot of similarities with my current blog post about “Right-Sizing Your Way To Retirement.” Of course I don’t have children so I that doesn’t effect my consideration-but I do believe that we would all do well to consider where we plan to live in the future-and who we hope will be around us. I’ve seen lots and lots of parents devote everything to being around family-only to have those family members move far away and them being stuck wherever they’ve planted themselves. I’m convinced that unless we take the time to consider where we hope to be in the future, we’ll be stuck with whatever turn of the wind. ~Kathy

    • Good point. Personally, I have just been jumpy to move for far too many years. My only obstacle will be if the kids stay put where they grew up. Then I think it would be too hard to just pull up stakes and move away from them.

  2. I can’t imagine such a life, and as you know I am so close to my family that moving away from them would not be possible. My eldest daughter asked me how I would feel if her and he partner moved out of the area and even though I wouldn’t like it I told her she has to live her life and make these decisions for herself, they chose to stay close by as she now says she doesn’t know how she would cope if I wasn’t only a short drive away.

  3. Wendy, I like your post. I can’t imagine moving so much. I have been living in one place for the past 13 years so that my son could go to the schools in the neighborhood with all his friends. He just graduated from high school in June and finally we have moved to a small beach community that I always wanted to live in and I love it. Thanks for the great article!

  4. I have also moved many times growing up and with my husband. I miss people from each of the places that I have left. Luckily facebook has re-united me with some of them. My husband and I love Wyoming and Montana also. The thing that holds me back is that I do not want to miss watching grand children grow up and the chance to be close as my parents did since I lived so far away from my parents all my adult life. I am loving that my kids currently live within 40 minutes of me. Our compromise will be to spend some summers in our favorite places and see how that works.

  5. Wendy, I really relate to this article as I have moved so many times in my life, when my parents split up when I was 10 and uprooting from Surrey to Suffolk (in England, and it may as well have been a million miles away!) and then, in the mid-80s emigrating to California with my then American husband and my firstborn 3 year old son, where we lived for almost 20 years but moving several times within the state.
    I moved back to the UK in 2003 with my children after I, too, went through a divorce, sadly. So I know just what you mean from both perspectives, my own and that of my kids.
    I live with a sense of restlessness which I have to battle constantly but, like you, I find that having a 5 year plan really helps.
    I love the sound of yours! Mine and my husband’s is a cottage in the English countryside where I can write, he can do his stonemasoning and we can go for long walks and bike rides. You’ve got to hold onto that dream, no matter what and I wish you all the very best with yours 🙂

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