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Old 05-31-2014, 06:16 PM
 
13,038 posts, read 6,230,078 times
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Recently, I had lunch with a friend. I'm 60, she is 11 years older. She said that her world is shrinking which caused me to have an "aha!" moment as I realized that my world, too, is shrinking.

My husband and I live in a single family home in the 'burbs. We had traded up from a townhouse to a single family home when our daughter was in middle school as we wanted more room. Our townhouse was too small for her to have a sleepover, for example.

Like many of the local 'burbs (the newer ones), sidewalks are scarce and streetlights even scarcer. It was a shock to me when we moved to this area a couple of years after we married as I had never lived anywhere that didn't have sidewalks and streetlights. We also found ourselves completely car dependent.

Our daughter is grown, married and with a family of her own. For quite sometime, I've been trying to figure out how we can move away. My husband is very close to retirement. His job allows him to work from home so his world, too, has shrunk.

Not only that, but our community, in general, has gone downhill. Lots of people that I knew appear to have left as it is very rare that I run into anyone that I know. I've tried working with like-minded people to get our community back on track but the local politicians on both sides of the aisle turn a deaf ear to it.

So...I love taking walks but there is no place to walk. I used to be able to go out at night in my community with no worries. While our daughter was growing up, I had a part-time job in the community where I worked evenings.

Getting to the nearest city during the week is nearly impossible. It involves driving miles to a train station where parking fills up by 7 a.m. So, if I want to go into the city, it has to be on the weekends.

Traffic is horrendous here all day long. So, driving someplace that is a good distance away is never easy. If we spent the rest of our days here and inevitably got to the point where we couldn't drive, what would we do?

So, when my friend said her world had shrunk, I knew what she meant. As we talked, I realized that her world had shrunk even more than mine did. She, like my husband, works from home and plans on retiring soon.

My Dad, who is 89, now lives with my brother and SIL. He can no longer drive so the only time he goes out is when they take him for an outing or to the doctor. So, his world has shrunk even more!

I know that I want to once again expand my world and hope to find a way to move to a city near to where our daughter is now living. I would be able to take walks or use public transportation. Also, easily find activities that interest me. With my community on a downhill slide, whatever activities that once were around, are virtually non-existent close by.

Long post, I know but does anyone else have a similar experience? Are those of you whose world has shrunk happy with things that way or do you want more in your life?
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Old 05-31-2014, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
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I am 70 and my world has not shrunk substantially but I know if I live long enough it probably will. I still travel about the same amount, I'm out in the community the same amount, and I attend cultural events the same amount (or more, actually, since retirement).
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Old 05-31-2014, 07:24 PM
 
Location: Greater Greenville, SC
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I turned 65 in December, and my world has shrunk considerably. I'm not in as good a health as I was a couple of years ago, and any long-distance driving or other types of travel are out of the question. My physical limitations and lack of stamina have me doing far less than I used to and, because of chronic pain, I'm not able to fully enjoy what I am doing.

I moved here about six years ago to be near my stepson and grandkids. They since moved out of state, and I didn't want to go there. Like the OP, I live in an area with hardly any sidewalks or streetlights and very limited public transportation (which is nowhere near my home). I'm still able to drive, but it's getting harder to drive at night. And I'm not sure what I'll do if it gets to the point where I can't drive at all.

Fortunately, in spite of all the foregoing, I still have a very youthful spirit inside of me and am very creative. I go on photo shoots then spend time editing my photos on the computer and sharing them with others. I belong to a church, a women's Bible study, a weight loss group and have a few friends that I see regularly. I'm better off than a lot of people in that respect and rarely get bored.

My dilemma now, though, is that my income is soon to be seriously curtailed, and that is going to limit me even further. Knowing myself as I do, I think I'm going to have a hard time with that and with picking and choosing just what I can and can't spend money on.
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Old 05-31-2014, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
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I felt my world shrinking as you said. I'm 60 and until the beginning of this month, my husband and I lived in Minneapolis. I found that as the population grew and the traffic got worse, and then with the most recent horrible winter, I felt more and more that I was trapped in the house, not wanting to go anywhere or do new things, because to go just about anywhere I wanted to go meant getting on a freeway. The freeway traffic has become so crazy, it felt like we were taking our lives in our hands (or maybe more to the point, putting them in the hands of others, many of whom were distracted by their phones) just to go do something like see a play or an art exhibit. We lived behind locked doors and the police advised everyone not to keep the garage door open for more than a few minutes at a time due to theft.

I worked from home, so I wasn't getting any socialization during the day. And one of my closest friends had moved to a faraway state. I felt I was in a rut, doing fewer and fewer things and not finding anything new to do that was worth the effort.

We wanted more, and we decided last year to move from the city to Door County, Wisconsin, a place we have vacationed in and loved for years. We now live a few minutes outside Sturgeon Bay, which I think has a population just under 10,000. We officially moved in 22 days ago. In that time, I have spoken with more neighbors, more times and for longer, than I had in 17 years living in the same neighborhood in Minneapolis.

I miss nothing about living in the city. Traffic is calm, it is easy to get around, and the people are so friendly I can't believe it. Just today we were at the hardware store, and the nice young man behind the counter engaged us in a conversation and quickly determined that we had moved into the house belonging to his uncle, a home he had visited many times. The receptionist at the veterinary clinic said, "Welcome to town and if you need anything, just give me a call." This type of thing happens all the time.

In the past two weeks, I have attended a book club and my husband and I have gone to an art fair, tomorrow we're going on a naturalist lead wildflower hike, Tuesday is a different book club, and Thursday is movie day at the library, which is more than we usually would do in three months' time in Minneapolis.

My world is now expanding and I love it. But we had to uproot ourselves in order to get away from the shrinkage. So I encourage you to get out of that place that is making you feel like your world has gotten so small and find a place where you can more easily do the things you want to do. It will be enlivening and you will feel like you are a part of the world again!
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Old 05-31-2014, 08:01 PM
 
Location: it depends
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I think the OP is on to a good way of thinking about this aspect of aging. My siblings and I noticed that my mother first stopped reading the newspaper, then stopped watching the news on TV, didn't get out much. One of my brothers said "her world is shrinking." Towards the end, it seemed as if all that was left was bowel movements--a very, very small word indeed.

I love irootoo's post, a way to expand the world. Wonderful.

Our life has challenges, wife's health, but being snowbirds we still get around and about and travel across the country. Thank goodness.
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Old 05-31-2014, 08:18 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,735,102 times
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My joining City-Data four years ago has served to keep my world expanded, because I am exposed to lots of different ideas and perspectives. It's sort of like a giant slice of life, as it draws people of different ages, races, religions, geographical areas, educational levels, etc. It may be a somewhat inefficient way to take the pulse of the United States because we have to sort through a lot of crap to get to the intelligent and insightful stuff, but even the crap is often interesting, if frustrating.

I have learned a lot here.
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Old 05-31-2014, 08:24 PM
 
13,038 posts, read 6,230,078 times
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Thank you, everyone!

I appreciate all your responses!

As for me, I recently had a talk with my husband and told him that if I had to spend the rest of my days here, it would feel like I would wither away. I let him know that we just can't stay here and listed all the reasons.

Since he works at home, he rarely leaves the house during the week. I convinced him to go grocery shopping with me once a week when his work day is done. Surprisingly, he admitted that it was good to get out a little more.

He recently, at our bank's prompting, set up an appointment to discuss retirement planning. The person he talked to showed him that we could make a move work and what would need to be done to get there. So, my husband said he will sit down and crunch the numbers.

Moving, of course, would mean downsizing our living space, but that's okay. We don't need to live in a 4 bedroom house these days. So, aiming for shrinking our living space and expanding our world!
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Old 05-31-2014, 08:27 PM
 
13,038 posts, read 6,230,078 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
My joining City-Data four years ago has served to keep my world expanded, because I am exposed to lots of different ideas and perspectives. It's sort of like a giant slice of life, as it draws people of different ages, races, religions, geographical areas, educational levels, etc. It may be a somewhat inefficient way to take the pulse of the United States because we have to sort through a lot of crap to get to the intelligent and insightful stuff, but even the crap is often interesting, if frustrating.

I have learned a lot here.
Yes! I don't know what I would do if the internet didn't exist! I also post in a travel forum and "met" some women online. One of them started a forum just for our group---and it has been wonderful to interact with them on a daily basis. I've only met 2 of them in person and hope to eventually meet more of them. Even if I don't get to personally meet them, that's okay---they've all become my friends.
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Old 05-31-2014, 09:01 PM
 
Location: Verde Valley AZ
8,617 posts, read 9,680,515 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
My joining City-Data four years ago has served to keep my world expanded, because I am exposed to lots of different ideas and perspectives. It's sort of like a giant slice of life, as it draws people of different ages, races, religions, geographical areas, educational levels, etc. It may be a somewhat inefficient way to take the pulse of the United States because we have to sort through a lot of crap to get to the intelligent and insightful stuff, but even the crap is often interesting, if frustrating.

I have learned a lot here.
I agree with you. I actually joined C-D in 2007 but 'forgot about it' for a couple of years and then had to rejoin in 2009. It's probably the most interesting website I visit and I'm here numerous times a day. It has expanded my interests, makes me really think about some things and I like the variety of people who post here. I have googled Google half to death! Every time I see something that sounds interesting I make a note and Google it later. I have checked out real estate all over the country because of these forums. Not because I necessarily think about living there but just out of curiosity. I have checked out states and cities that I've never been to and some that I have, for more info.. Every thing I learn makes me want to learn more so I guess that can count as keeping my brain 'active'.

I have learned much here myself. As for the "crap"...I've been online enough years that I can pretty much scroll right on past it. But, like you say, even the "crap" can be interesting and I do get some good laughs here and there.

And...to stay on topic...my world has shrunk a lot but that's mostly because I don't make an effort to expand it more. I did, for a long time, but it's such a hassle and people just aren't all that 'into' being friends it seems. So my world has pretty much shrunk to home, work and my mom. It's okay though and I don't mind. After all, all my friends live in my monitor and I can 'see' them anytime I want!
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Old 05-31-2014, 10:56 PM
 
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,954 posts, read 7,391,767 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZDesertBrat View Post

And...to stay on topic...my world has shrunk a lot but that's mostly because I don't make an effort to expand it more. I did, for a long time, but it's such a hassle and people just aren't all that 'into' being friends it seems. So my world has pretty much shrunk to home, work and my mom. It's okay though and I don't mind. After all, all my friends live in my monitor and I can 'see' them anytime I want!
You have the most amazing attitude
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