If you are waiting for the punchline - I'm it. In the autumn of my life I upped sticks and moved to Manhattan. (Husband and cat to follow soon.) My friends and most of my family think I am nuts.
Certainly the moving house - twice - and going back to work (more than) full time was a wrench. My time is no longer my own. My home is not my own. I can't find my winter clothes, and I can't seem to get my bills paid on time. Sleep is erratic. And some woman (has to be) has been trying to grab the attention of a sleeping man (has to be) who is double parked outside her VW Beetle (I recognize the horn) since 5:30 am. Otherwise I think it is working out OK.
I often heard older friends of mine in London say "I have one more job left in me" and I think that is what has happened here. I was not ready to retire, which is what freelancing from a leafy New England small town felt like to me.
But retirement is one of the reasons I am here in NYC working full time. As I rush past middle age it becomes ever clearer that I need a lot more money to realize my retirement goals. Which are pretty lofty: a flat in Paris for city/culture/shoulder seasons, a house in a warmer climate (Spain? Florida?) for winter, and a (bigger) house in Maine for summers.
Then yesterday I read an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled The Let's-Sell-Our-House- And-See-the-World Retirement by Lynne Martin. She and her husband sold their California home and are now spending their retirement traveling from country to country, staying enough time in each one to experience it fully. They stay in flats or houses that they find on Homeaway.com or VRBO.com. They cook and shop and go to museums, and they soak up the culture of each place they stop. Wow.
So I have a new plan, thanks to the Martins. I won't forgo a house or two, as I plan to have them paid off by then. But any extra cash I get I will save for travel, going into a special retirement travel fund - for rent, flights, food, fun. We will spend a few months in every place we want to visit, living like natives and learning as much as we can. Suddenly retirement doesn't feel like death to me. And it makes working (more than) full time even more fun.