The Best Place to Retire: On Taking Risks at 65

Find out how to take a chance in your 60s!

BY: Carol Orsborn, Ph.D., Fierce with Age


Do you imagine yourself at some point in the future radically changed in nature? For instance, you have always been a risk-taker, someone who lives life large but always assumed that by the time you hit 65, well on the way to retirement, you’d be careful and serene? There’s nothing wrong with changing our minds about who we are or want to be: to develop aspects of ourselves that have been neglected in the past. At least in theory. But in reality, on the eve of turning 65 next week, in the midst of a big life transition, I am rethinking some key assumptions I’ve held about who I would be at 65.

In brief, my husband Dan, faithful dog Lucky and I are at the tail end of a radical move from our cottage in Los Angeles to live close to our grand-family in Nashville. Now that we’ve arrived, the question is where will we live? We no longer have to make our decisions based on which neighborhood has the best schools for the kids, or the shortest commute to our jobs.

On the one hand, there are lovely, turn-key condos in the neighborhood that seem the logical, reasonable choice. Simple, safe, easy. But there’s one problem: none of them make our hearts sing. What does make our hearts sing is a 1930’s stone house fixer-up on the river 10 minutes up the road that would make the kind of demands on us we thought we’d left behind. What if the problems are bigger than anticipated? What if the real estate market goes down again? What if the river floods its banks? Do we take this risk on at our age and stage in life?

We tried to set the house aside. We put an offer in and withdrew it. We resumed our search for the perfect little condo. But the old stone house kept calling to us, first in whispers, then in shouts. “I am much more than just a place to live,” the house cried out. “I am the battlefield upon which angels are fighting in your soul over whether even at 65 you get to take on the risk of going for what you really want?”

Seeking counsel, I picked up one of the few books that I carried with me across country in my suitcase: “The Gift of Years” by Joan Chittister. I opened at random and began to read: “Abandoning life before life is over is not just resignation: it is not trying to reach for God on God’s terms.”

Continued on page 2: Taking the risk »

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