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Being Social in Retirement
Old 01-28-2013, 11:10 AM   #1
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Being Social in Retirement

Before we retired, from a job that was somewhat stressful, and required considerable interaction with upper level management and a large number of subordinates, my retirement dream was... and this is not an overstatement...
A log cabin near the top of a mountain in the Adirondaks, surrounded by barbed wire.
In truth, a wish to be a hermit. Away from neighbors, only venturing out to do solo (DW and I) traveling, camping, and whatever was necessary to satisfy hedonic pleasures. Two or three close friends, but never, never, to live in a place where there were neighbors or anyone who would direct our lives.

We ended up in a Florida retirement community, where there is never, ever a moment where something "fun" is not going on... and where we can draw away whenever we want. For a workaholic, a total change. Bought a boat, in our 52 slip marina, and explored the 710 miles of shoreline. Joined the computer club, crafts, pool, line dancing, bowling, painting, cards, called bingo (didn't play), shuffleboard, permanent member of decorating committee, for the first 15 years organized and planned many dances and parties shows and pot luck dinners. Also part of "Thursday's Child" five closest couples, with a moveable feast, dinner each and every week at one couple's home.
With 360 home in the community, we know each and every resident, and most of the 80+ dogs. Twenty two years... never a serious argument or falling out.

After reading several thousand posts, it struck me that most of the members are either not yet retired, or, retired for a relatively short time... like 4 or 5 years.

In all of this time, as far as I can see, there are very few members who have, or plan to retire to a close, gated community, with people of similar ages and interests. In particular, a community that is unusual, in that members interact as a family. A social structure that is directly opposite to the working world home. A place where sports, entertainment, social events, and mutual support are the hallmarks. A place where keeping up with the Jones's doesn't exist. A place where it's easy to find others who will become close friends because of mutual interests and temperament. If it didn't sound so strange, I would have used the word commune.

This changed our lives... much for the better. For a couple who intended to be unto ourselves, a complete and total turn around.

I wouldn't pretend to give advice, except to share our experience, and offer it as a avenue to explore. Like... what will you be doing in the next 30 years?

And so the subject... Being Social in Retirement. The difference as we see it, is having several hundred friends versus only the family and a dozen or so other friends. Everyone is different. Sometimes we are different, because we haven't considered all choices.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:18 AM   #2
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Very insightful...thanks.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:20 AM   #3
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What an interesting perspective. Some of my MIL's friends live in The Villages (FL) & that option came up with DW recently. Both of us seem to picture living in a more 'chronologically diverse' area when I ER, but your your experiences sound very positive. FWIW- MIL's friends seem very happy with their communities. As you wisely point out, attitudes & preferences can change over the years.

Always enjoy reading your insights!
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:23 AM   #4
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Like a lot of the other INTJ's here, I am not exactly a social butterfly. In fact, I am the reverse. F and I spend quality time with one another every day, but I would rather spend the rest of my time in solitude.
I have gotten to know a dozen or so retired folks at the gym who are regulars there, and we greet each other by name and seem to have plenty in common and to get along just fine, but I have no desire to see them elsewhere. We sometimes run into one another at restaurants, and smile and wave but do not eat with them.

Quote:
a community that is unusual, in that members interact as a family. A social structure that is directly opposite to the working world home. A place where sports, entertainment, social events, and mutual support are the hallmarks. A place where keeping up with the Jones's doesn't exist. A place where it's easy to find others who will become close friends because of mutual interests and temperament. If it didn't sound so strange, I would have used the word commune.
Quote:
The difference as we see it, is having several hundred friends versus only the family and a dozen or so other friends.
The idea of living in such a community does not appeal to me at this stage in life. Having several hundred "friends" sounds like Hell on earth to me, to be perfectly frank. When I was younger, that was more appealing. Perhaps it will be again some day.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:33 PM   #5
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Thank you for your insight and perspective. It is certainly food for thought.

And I think I see what you mean, and as yet another INTJ like W2R, I do like my private time, but I guess my sole complaint about a life like yours is that everyone is the same age. I would rather live as ERHoosier noted, in a more "chronologically-diverse" 'hood.

Some of our most favorite people in the world have been those we met outside of our geographic comfort zone, and I think that I would be less likely to venture forth to find them if I was ensconced in such a place where all the entertainment was ready-made.

But maybe, if I was older, it would be more appealing to me. Attitudes change as we age, that's for sure.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by W2R View Post

The idea of living in such a community does not appeal to me at this stage in life. Having several hundred "friends" sounds like Hell on earth to me, to be perfectly frank. When I was younger, that was more appealing. Perhaps it will be again some day.
Absolutely!... It was my feeling to a "T".... and the change didn't come easy. We went to Texas and Florida, looking for warm, and a place to call our own, w/o relatives or obligations. It was only after we ended up in a retirement village, (free house for 3 days) that we found ourselves drawn in... Perhaps the dance party and free kegs had something to do with it. Hadn't danced in ten years, and found ourselves trapped in a world we knew nothing about. Everyone happy and appreciating retirement. Rented for another week, and couldn't wait to leave and go back to Illinois, to pack enough to go back to FL to live. (6mo. FL, 6 mo. Il) It was a new world.

The villages was mentioned. It's truly a great place to visit, and for many a great place to live. It was too big for us, and in a way a bit too formal. We just love the close knit community where we live now, and though we're getting a little older and leave the parties early at 10PM, it's nice to be able to walk to the clubhouse, and know everyone along the way. Still plenty to do. Younger folks fit in perfectly, and many have bought convertibles just to be part of the new group that goes exploring... (ten couples now, I think). Having new folks coming in (many aged 55) keeps us all relatively young... I may try the FL Senior Triathalon (0ver 75) this year... Our Park manager came in third in the much younger group.

FWIW... the total cost for living there, including lot rent (we own the mobile home and rent the land) upkeep, utilities, lawn, taxes etc, is about $7 to $8K per year... We can come and go as we please, live there 3 months, 6 months or all year.
.................................................. ....
In any case, something to look at before taking the big final step.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:41 PM   #7
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....Attitudes change as we age, that's for sure.
So true. We were downtown on new year's eve apartment/dog sitting for DS and heard and saw lots of partyers from his 2nd story windows. It made me smile, thinking way back to when that was us. So glad we did it then and just as happy we're past that now.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by W2R View Post
Like a lot of the other INTJ's here, I am not exactly a social butterfly. In fact, I am the reverse. F and I spend quality time with one another every day, but I would rather spend the rest of my time in solitude.
I have gotten to know a dozen or so retired folks at the gym who are regulars there, and we greet each other by name and seem to have plenty in common and to get along just fine, but I have no desire to see them elsewhere. We sometimes run into one another at restaurants, and smile and wave but do not eat with them.

The idea of living in such a community does not appeal to me at this stage in life. Having several hundred "friends" sounds like Hell on earth to me, to be perfectly frank. When I was younger, that was more appealing. Perhaps it will be again some day.
Same here.

I love to spend quality time with true friends and family, but I do not care to have lots of Facebook friends and acquaintances. I also dislike any kind of club or club-like community usually.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:47 PM   #9
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I recall a prior thread wherein it came out that most of us tended to be quasi-loners. But as OP mentioned, who knows....maybe when the time comes such an active social life will become more appealing.
At this point in my time, though, that doesn't seem like my future. First and foremost, like ERhoosier I enjoy the "diverse" age population of my town.
Regardless, though, it sure sounds like OP is extremely happy with his current lifestyle, and that is nice to read about.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:59 PM   #10
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.... Both of us seem to picture living in a more 'chronologically diverse' area when I ER, but your your experiences sound very positive. ....
I like that term 'chronologically diverse'. That's us - we like to have friends/acquaintances of all ages and in different stages of life. I wonder if this will change - without our choosing - as we age.
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:08 PM   #11
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DW and I are headed to a retirement community in Florida much as the OP describes. We already purchased and we'll make the move from Texas to Florida next year. Can hardly wait to join in on the fun! As for any interest in age diversity, the beach is only 5 minutes away.
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:35 PM   #12
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We are thinking of a gated community, for security reasons, not social ones. Yes, I realize that "gated" and "security" are not always synonymous.

Trouble with "exclusive communities" is there always seem to be one or more Queen Bees and King Pins who like to be in charge of everything. Nonconformist opinions are made fun of, and the opinion-holders marginalized. Just like high school. Tell me I'm off base...

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Old 01-28-2013, 03:22 PM   #13
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We live in a gated retirement community that serves as a winter home for 3/4 of the residents. Most of the residents have RVs and are serious travelers.

There are social activities. We participate in only a few as we are just not into parties, but we enjoy our neighbors quite a bit - very nice outgoing and active folks from all over North America. We deliberately chose to live close to some world-class birding and butterfly areas, so fortunately there are a few like-minded neighbors that we share those resources with and it's really wonderful having them living nearby. But many others don't care that much - they have other priorities. We also have plenty of local friends from outside the community.

55+ really leaves lots of room age wise. At least a quarter of the folks here are closer to my parents age - really a different generation. And each year a few more "younger" retirees our age show up in the mid-late 50s. Then there are folks in between (early boomers). So, to us it seems pretty chronologically diverse, LOL!

Personally I prefer living in a neighborhood of retired folks with no children and no weekday work traffic.
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Old 01-28-2013, 03:23 PM   #14
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We are thinking of a gated community, for security reasons, not social ones. Yes, I realize that "gated" and "security" are not always synonymous.

Trouble with "exclusive communities" is there always seem to be one or more Queen Bees and King Pins who like to be in charge of everything. Nonconformist opinions are made fun of, and the opinion-holders marginalized. Just like high school. Tell me I'm off base...

Amethyst
Always is a pretty broad statement... We have leaders, thank goodness, but 22+ years without a serious problem has been our experience. One of the possible reasons could be that while we have our share of doctors, middle management, and professionals, it is essentially a working man's park. Good people, attracted to other good people is the way we see it.

It's hokey, but a good way to describe it, is a learned "love" of others, and tolerance of those who are little different. Guys don't toss the "love" word around too much, but they don't have to. It's just the way things work, and the ones who don't enjoy this, or who are super competitive, soon leave the community... by choice. Very few do...

And oh... by the way... we are by no means "exclusive".
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Old 01-28-2013, 03:40 PM   #15
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Your post was very encouraging. It is nice to read about success stories.

Ages here : Mr B 61, me 54.
Both flaming extroverts, with Mr B as the Extrovert+.

We live out in the boonies with only 1 house on each side. We have to drive to get socialization of any kind.
Our solution? We both love the community feel of the American Legion and VFW, and participate heavily in both as volunteers. We go to many different posts and attend the state conventions every year.

I do enjoy the retreat aspect of our country home. The doorbell doesn't ring unless it is an invited guest, the mailman or the UPS guy.
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:37 PM   #16
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older retirees seem to complain about anything and everything
...................
without really knowing what they're talking about.
...................
conversations seem pretty superficial
....................
older folks want everything to stay the same, aka 'the good old days
....................
a narrow slice of like minded people all day - boring
....................
some of us smell bad, too.

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Old 01-28-2013, 04:42 PM   #17
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I hesitated to post on this thread, should have stayed with that instinct. Sorry for having a different experience/POV even having acknowledged 'might be bad luck,' I deleted the post. There were yet other POVs above that didn't sound appealing, but I wasn't inclined to disagree with them.

And yes, I realize it was quoted.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:18 PM   #18
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Same here.

I love to spend quality time with true friends and family, but I do not care to have lots of Facebook friends and acquaintances. I also dislike any kind of club or club-like community usually.
A

As yet another, INTJ, +1.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:25 PM   #19
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I see this with people of all ages!

"older retirees seem to complain about anything and everything
...................
without really knowing what they're talking about."
...................
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:36 PM   #20
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I hesitated to post on this thread, should have stayed with that instinct. Sorry for having a different experience/POV even having acknowledged 'might be bad luck,' I deleted the post. There were yet other POVs above that didn't sound appealing, but I wasn't inclined to disagree with them.

And yes, I realize it was quoted.
I loved the post... I live for times like this. It's what makes coming here so much fun!

and yeah... I used to think the same way about old people. Now, I are one.
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