Retire in the City or in the Suburbs?
by Ray Gregoire and Tina Gregoire
A husband is from the East Coast, where people want to live in the suburbs to avoid crime. The wife is from the West Coast, where people are more accepting of diversity and everything else that comes with city living.
What do you think?
The Husband's Point of View on Retirement in Suburbs
Tina and I do not agree at all about the best place to retire - in the city or in the suburbs - so I thought it would be fun for each of us to give our own point of view in an article then hear your opinion and reasons for that opinion.
I am a suburban guy at heart because I love having a backyard for the dog or a garden. I love having space between me and the neighbors instead of a thin wall and having trees, deer etc. running in the woods behind the house. The suburbs are quieter, have less crime, taxes are lower, no condo maintenance fees and you have more freedom to do what you want with your home versus having the condo boards dictate what you can and can’t do.
I can go shopping without having to pay to park or worry about getting mugged by a druggie or homeless person. In general there is less litter in the neighborhood as folks have more pride in their environment.
The thing that bugs me the most about the city is people are high on drugs everywhere, homeless folks are urinating in the streets, but if I light up a cigarette I get busted.
The Wife's Point of View on Retirement in Cities
When I first met Ray, I lived in an apartment in downtown Seattle. I tried to talk him into leaving his boring suburb and moving into town. It’s not like I was trying to convince him to live in Manhattan. Seattle is very laid back and almost anyone can fit in with our urban blue-jean crowd.
Ray made the argument that he had a large dog (a black Labrador Retriever) and there would be no place for his pup to run around. Well, I showed him quite a few residents in my large building whenever they brought their own Labs and Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds and mixed mutts into the elevator. No dice.
Tina Continues: Suburbs are Boring
Hey, it’s not that I don’t like having the trees “running in the woods” behind our house (I left Ray’s words as I found them), but there’s not much to do out in the burbs.
- The restaurants suck... unless you love McDonald’s drive-throughs, high-fat Mexican joints, generic pizza chains, and all-day pancake houses.
- Well, Ray is right on one thing. It is quieter in the suburbs. Everyone goes to bed at 9:00 pm (or earlier).
We’re so far from everything that just going out to dinner in the city is an all day production… or else we’ll get stuck in terrible traffic. So, we never go.
And, when I do bring up the possibility of an outing to “the big city”, I have to hear about how hard it is to park (and how expensive it is to park). However, if we lived down the street from the place I wanted to go, we wouldn’t have to park at all. Actually, I think we could get by without a car and just take a cab whenever we needed groceries or something. Or, if we decided to keep the car, I’m sure we would use it less than we do now, and that would counteract Ray’s complaints about the high costs of living in town. (Well, I must admit that it would cost more to live in the city, but you get what you pay for.)
Cities are More Fun
I like to be around people from different backgrounds and different age groups. Right now, everyone is over 55. Well, I'm over 55, but I'm a lot more spontaneous than most of my neighbors. I don't make plans for two years from now... come on... by the time that planned vacation rolls around I may be ready for something different.
I like to have parks. There are no good parks in the burbs. There are no jazz clubs. There are no blues musicians. People in my neighborhood would think I'm talking about the Hindenburg if I mentioned Led Zeppelin. And, all of my neighbors have lived in the suburbs all their lives. They wake up at a certain time, they eat at a certain time, and they fart at a certain time. Regimented.
I don't fit in. My husband has lived in the burbs his whole life. The only rock concert he has ever been to was Peter, Paul & Mary. And, everyone is like that. God bless them all. They're the backbone of the country, but it's not my country. My people don't travel with itineraries. They take a credit card, a passport, and a half-filled suitcase. Forget about meeting that tour bus at 12:45 and just wing it, baby!
I like to wake up in the morning and think, "Do I want to walk around Greenlake? Or, would I rather walk over to Macrina Bakery? No, it feels like a good day to take a ferry to Bainbridge and snap some photos of downtown so I can play with them in Photoshop." You can't do anything like that when you're out in the sticks. We don't have options out here. It's just a different lifestyle. I can't explain it to people who don't understand it. I want to listen to live bands. I want to hear people from other countries. I want to feel energy. I want to have fun. I want to shoot my TV. I'm at the end of my life... it's time to live... not time to play Bingo.
What to Do?
I guess there will never be a meeting of minds in our house. Ray worries about dying from a drive-by shooting. I worry about dying from boredom. One has a statistical probability of less than zero. The other one is closer to 100 percent.
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