It’s a 10! That’s what Alison’s response was when I asked her: “On a scale of 1 to 10, what would you say about your retirement plans?” I find this amazing as Alison shares the details on how until fairly recently, she and her husband had no retirement plans. Then he turned 65 and it dawned on them that they had to start thinking about the who, what, where, when and how of retirement.
Alison is originally from the UK and would travel every year to Wales to visit her mum. Last year they also visited Spain and fell it love with a particular area near Valencia. They explored it at length and an idea began to develop. She asked her husband about how he would feel above moving there. “He is not a jumper” Alison declares, “but he jumped!”
Why Spain specifically? Alison answered that Los Angeles was too expensive and the lifestyle is not what they want for the years ahead. A simpler, easier way of life is on the agenda and the warm climate of beautiful Spain was just the ticket; a lot closer to her mum as well! They returned from their trip abroad and began the process.
Working with the Consulate, they started the application and all the logistics and paperwork required. Exploring the medical insurance needs as well as the banking system also keeps her busy. The house is up for sale; the businesses have been sold. The excitement is growing day by day and Alison clearly sees her vision coming to life: “A house in the countryside, with a beautiful view and gardening, gardening, gardening! With a gleam in her eye, she also adds that she wants to balance out her days doing volunteer work in the area, spending long days at the beach and some antique shopping. She mentions that her husband wants to golf; he should meet up with Zaf as they are single-minded on this!
Musing over the plans she shares with me Alison wonders out loud: “Where did the time go? What happened? How did retirement sneak up on us?” I commiserated and offered up “Well, it happens to all of us!” We laughed and sipped our coffee in silence – deep in our own thoughts of what it really means to “retire”, to let go of things as you know them and embrace the changes happening…the ones you make for yourself and the ones that come upon you as life unfolds. We relish the idea that we can visit each other when they are in Spain and we are in Greece – Ole! and Opa!
Happy that they made the right decision, Alison is also working on getting her son and brother to move there too. This would be ideal as her reply to my last question of “How long do you plan to live there” was “Till I’m 95!”
Photograph of Alison’s hands from The Personal Collection of Helene and Zaf
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