Retired, Only son and his family 4000 miles away!

I am researching this topic to help with my dilemma and it is comforting to know that I am not alone. Although, my situation seems to be a bit more extreme.

My only son moved to Fairbanks Ak 12 years ago, got married and now has twins 4 yrs old and a 6 yr old. He loves it there and is has settled in. I have visited almost every year and have actually moved there twice but ended up coming back to Ohio due to my parents failing health.

Both my parents have passed now, I am single with only 1 brother who is consumed with his own life. I cannot seem to make up my mind whether to move back to Alaska or not.

-I love the kids and we get along pretty well although we have had some tension in the past.
-I want to be part of my grandsons life.
-I really love Alaska in the summer and enjoy traveling, fishing, camping
-They could be there for me if/when I am in need

-Fairbanks is remote and complex medical care is far away and there are few resources considering where I live now
-Cost of living is very high comparatively and not sure what kind of housing I can afford long term (I wasn't single before)
-I'm far from retirement (56) and jobs are limited and afraid I may not be happy with a position there
-Winters are beautiful too but very long and without much light and I am a sunshine baby, love being outdoors as much as possible!...(although in the past I have walked my dogs up until -20 and I could learn cross country skiing?)

Quite honestly I have bounced back and forth for years and really need to make my next move a somewhat final move and that scares me to death!... Maybe my thinking is to final and I should just move back for now?...I can always come back in 5-10?

Comments for Retired, Only son and his family 4000 miles away!

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You are moving to Alaska?
by: \

My motto is: If it doesn't have palm trees there, DON'T MOVE! ;-) (which is why I live in San Diego, CA!!!!)

My Son & Family live just as far away
by: Anonymous granny

And I find it no problem at all to be many miles apart. I have friends with children that I can get my fill of youngsters around me.

That does not make it lesser of the times that I want to see my own grandchildren and son and his wife. We use the web cam many times per week. Have you tried this?

Both myself and them have own lives to live. We do not have to be so closely connected that we have to physically touch and feel one another but communications are probably better if we know we have our lives filled with things to do.

We visit one another whenever we can which maybe as little as once a year and we cherish such moments. So this is just a way that one can train themselves not to be just glued to your only child like it's the only thing you can do.

IF you think this is some odd thing and you get distracted by others that have their children nearby get your mind off such, keep yourself busy. Think of what other people have in situations where people are separated due to war or some other situation and having to live in a different country even further apart than what you have to deal with.

4000 miles away
by: Elna Nugent, Lenox, MA

Dear Retired, 4000 miles away:

You do realize you answered your own question in a way that you can't lose... and then Wendy underlined it.

Your answer was, "Maybe I should just move back ( to Alaska). I can always come back. (The states can always be your winter vacation place. )

I don't see why you can't have the best of both worlds until-or if circumstances change your mind. Live your life and love it.


That's a huge decision!
by: Anonymous

Several things to consider - your energy level gets less and less as you get older. In 5 or 10 years it's going to be physically harder to move back to the lower 48. Will you have the money to make several moves?

It only takes one moment to change your health needs. One fall, one accident, and health care takes all your resources and priorities.

If there have been tensions before, being in poor help and feeling trapped won't ease tensions. You might consider taking quarterly trips and makinbg lots of Skype conversations.

Do Your Research Before You Move
by: Linda/Nevada

Back in 2012, I had a job with the state taxation department. I felt privileged to have a government job but soon found out that this job was not so great.

With the mandatory furloughs, wage cuts and benefit reductions, I was struggling to just survive. I bought into, the what I know call propaganda, about how great Austin, TX was. I quit my state job, cashed in my pension and moved to Austin. I truly believed I had done enough research to understand what it would be like to live in Austin.

I could not find a job, even though I got responses to my resume and after talking to some of the local people, good paying jobs were hard to get.

Long story short, I was running out of money. At the time, I was dating someone who was patient and kind about my poor choices and helped me move back to Nevada and even gave me a place to live until I got back on my feet.

My advice to you is do your research because being a citizen of a state is one thing and occasionally visiting a place is quite another. Don't rely on the media and don't believe the "chamber of commerce" information that outsiders are given.

After renting, shopping, and dealing with legal issues, you may find that your new destination doesn't look so good after all. I blew through thousands of dollars only to find out that Austin was not my idea of a good place to live.

Alaska may be a good place for you but just be sure that you know exactly what you are getting yourself into before you go through the expense of moving and uprooting yourself.

by: Wendy,

This suggestion will sound way too simple, but please hear me out.

Start a WRITTEN Pro's and Con's list. Two columns on a sheet of real paper (not the computer), and handwrite out every positive reason for the move and all the negatives too.

Think of your health as you age -- breathing fresh air daily and being active in Alaska, but needing new friends and a job. Remember your son has a family now, and may not have the time for you that you hope for... but you also gain a relationship with your grandchild. Just explore every avenue of life as you imagine how it would be to live there for the next 5 - 10 years.

This will allow your brain to really flow, brainstorming at it's best. You need to get all those crazy ideas out of your head. Anxiety comes from all those worries and decisions.... get it on paper, logical or not, and out of your mind. Stop the whirling confusion.

Your decision may be perfectly clear, or not. BUT either way, you will have the beginnings of a roadmap to make a good decision, instead of simply an emotional decision.

Best Wishes!

p.s. I have a good friend who works in Alaska in the summers and makes enough (though not lots) to come home to Michigan for the rest of the year. She's done this for maybe 5-6 years now... works the same job, has friends, keeps very busy in Alaska during those summers (well mid-spring to mid-fall seasons) and comes home to her kids and grands for the rest of the year!

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