When I ask people in their 50s what they are most looking forward to in retirement, you would be surprised by the number that say, “Not having to commute!” As someone who spent 2 hours a day traveling between Seattle and Redmond, I totally get this perspective. There is something genuinely soul-sucking about breathing in exhaust fumes, dealing with angry drivers and worrying about whether you are going to make it to your first meeting on time. Good riddance, I say!
Like most children, my grandkids think of me as a superhero. I am a bringer of gifts and laughter. I am their “baba with a backpack” who Skypes them from mountain tops and cruise ships, desert villages and London hotels. At their ages (8 and 2), I’m pretty sure that they are the only people in the world who think I am perfect… although that will probably change when they get a little older!
Few trends have captured the imagination of soon-to-be retirees with as much force as downsizing. In fact, if you read most retirement blogs or books, downsizing feels like it is almost a prerequisite to moving into the next phase of your life. The truth, as I have found by managing a community of 500,000 recent retirees, is more complicated.