Saturday, July 13, 2013


Call them "passages" or "transitions," it doesn't matter for they are always difficult. We all go through them and we call face them differently. I think everyone deals with the stress of transition and even if  you think you are ready you really aren't.

For the past year Delores and I moved inexorably toward one of life's major transitions. Originally I planned to leave the Camelback ministry at the end of June in 2014. Circumstances at the church including some misplaced accusations led me to move it up a year. For the most part the elders were supportive and fair but the accusations hurt and they left me with a sad feeling. I knew the transition from that ministry to whatever followed would be difficult. Delores and I loved the people at Camelback. Leaving them is difficult.

We thought we had a "safety net" as our son worked with the start-up of an innovative online educational venture. He hoped we could work with him. That net died when serious problems arose between the two principals involved in the project. That falling out led our son to withdraw from the project and that meant we had no possibility of work to supplement our retirement incomes. Those circumstances created potential financial pressures leading Delores and I to believe our retirement income would not permit us to continue living in our home in Palm Springs.

For months I wrestled with a decision to sell our Palm Springs home and downsize into a less expensive home elsewhere. We simply needed more cash to continue living in Palm Springs. Our retirement could be much easier if we improved our cash flow by eliminating a mortgage or obtaining a smaller mortgage. Sun City, AZ seemed like a possible place we could do just that. I did not want to do that! Delores kept pointing me to the objective facts. I love our Palm Springs home, I like my doctor and the medical facilities here, and I hate the thought of leaving friends I've accumulated. But transition never comes easy.

We now have a contract on the Palm Springs house and we have selected a place in Sun City. It was more that difficult to locate a home in Sun City for several reasons. First, while there are quite a number of homes available the number that fit our needs was limited. Second, most of the Sun City homes in our price range are older and have not been updated. Even though there would be opportunities in such homes we did not have the cash reserves necessary to update such properties. Third, those few homes that met our criteria were snapped up sometimes before we could even see them. It has become a "seller's market" in Sun City.

Still we found a reasonably nice duplex home in Sun City. Like any home purchase it has some things we like a lot but some things we wanted aren't there. It is, however, greatly updated and quite nice. There are some residual tobacco smoke odors we need to work on to eliminate. (If any reader has any secrets to do this let me know.) Considering the relocation this transition will be horribly difficult.

All seniors go through these transitions. They have to work out how to deal with finances with greatly reduced income. They have to wrestle with the change in self-image that comes when you cease doing the work that gave you identity for most of your life. They have health issues that frighten and there are concerns about unforeseen health problems waiting just ahead. They must also deal with the reduction of respect and consideration from younger people in our culture.

I always said, "I'm not afraid of change as long as I don't have to do it." Honestly facing all these transitions in my life right now I think it is normal to fear change.