First Published On Boomercafe.com (click on over)
Memo to young families: Pay attention to other parents as the years pass. You’ll see them again.
My kids are in their twenties now, but for one pre-school birthday we invited kids and moms from the class.
I was too busy on the ‘entertainment’ side and didn’t notice the adults. Working the fishing hole with a clothes pin hook, the wheel barrow rides, and the rest, on pace to keep the crowd of four year olds moving isn’t easy.
Ten years later my kids joined the high school wrestling team and one of the moms mentioned the pre-school birthday party. It turned into a new friendship between two families.
Since then my kids have graduated from high school and college, and their youngest finishes high school next month. Like boomers everywhere, we talk about the next move when we get together, except this couple does more than talk.
When they started planning on their next move, it seemed impossible. Who moves from a 4200 sq ft house they planned and built with an unobstructed view of Mt. Hood, a three stall garage with one floor done race-style with black and white checkerboard tile, and an outdoor hot water faucet?
Normal people plan a way to move to such a house, not move away. But not boomer couple. Instead of Empty Nesters, they’ve built a new nest. You could call it down-sizing, but that’s not how it feels.
From their southwest suburban dream house, they planned and built the ultimate city house. They traded cars to go everywhere for a walking inner-southeast Portland, Oregon neighborhood with a bicycle option. Call it the Simplified Nest. How did they make the right decision look so easy? How can you?
- First, look at the trends in your city. Which neighborhoods are swinging up, swinging down, or staying the same.
Districts on the way up attract new businesses, new people, and a willingness to try new things. Sounds very boomer, doesn’t it? Areas on the way down lose residents and businesses looking for a better life. Get used to a downer attitude on those streets. Move to areas that don’t change? You’ll always be the new people and you won’t meet your neighbors.
- Once you find the right fit for your active boomer lifestyle, check the long term public transportation plans.
How far away is the city bus stop? How many transfers does it take to get where you’re going? Is light rail in the new neighborhood’s future? Trolley cars? If you notice a new pedestrian/bike bridge, and a new light rail bridge spanning the river to serve the neighborhood, you’ve made the right pick.
- Finally, what sort of house will you live in?
The Simplified Nest for my boomer friends is the result of hard won experience. Their new house fits the neighborhood visually, but the technology is 21st century. For the rainy Oregon weather they chose cement HardiePlank siding with an air gap to allow drying instead of mildew. They installed hot water on demand instead of a hot water heater. For climate control they brought in a futuristic HVAC. To top it off, the house has an outdoor hot water faucet outside the garage.
For everything new in their lives, the new house still feels familiar. On moving day, with unpacking and assembling the household, a complete rock and roll drum kit found it’s new place in the music room. If that seems odd, remember how baby boomers marched to a different beat from the beginning.
That never changes.