Starting Out or Starting Over? 10 Best Cities for Every Stage!

Who doesn’t want options when it comes to starting out? Who doesn’t want options when it comes to starting over?

In my morning reading, this caught my eye: 10 Great Cities for Young Adults. How could I not check it out, thinking about my sons and where they might light in a few years, pursuing their opportunities?

I was also curious for myself. While not a young adult, in a year’s time, I’m (theoretically) free to move anywhere. Paris comes to mind immediately, but there are plenty of inconvénients in that arrangement, despite having lived in the City of Lights numerous times. Couldn’t there be cities to suit me in my own country?

Starting over

If you had to start over, do you know where you would go? Do you have a dream destination, factoring in your profession, your marital status, your age, your kids, your lifestyle preferences?

Sure, there’s the very first start – and fortunately, most of us get to do it with health and enthusiasm. We graduate college, embark with our sheepskin and vitality, and ideally, find our way to first amorous adventures, first jobs, perhaps marriage, first home, and children.

The recessionary economy has marred that simplistic scenario, but eventually we start, and it is the natural course of things (if we’re lucky) that the twenties and thirties give way to the forties and fifties. And that means more change – to how and where we live, reflecting evolving priorities.

Best cities for young adults

Austin TexasWhether you’re starting out or starting over, the article I cited relies on criteria such as population demographics, cost of living, average salaries, job opportunities, and thriving social scene. What ranks among the top for those setting out after college?

Texas does well – with Austin and Houston both high on the list. The Pacific Northwest is represented with Portland, Oregon. Washington, D.C. makes the cut, as do Chicago, Kansas City, and Salt Lake City. New York isn’t neglected, despite the cost of taking your bite out of the Big Apple.

Best cities for raising children

The economy has required all of us to be flexible when it comes to making moves. We follow the jobs because we must, leaving behind communities we may love. But when kids are on the scene, priorities change. Safety is critical. Good schools are essential. Commutes become concerning; we don’t have two hours to spend as a road warrior when we’re juggling carpool and play dates. The type of housing – an apartment, a small home – may be less vital than location, location, location.

And nightlife? That, and even job opportunities, may take a back seat to parenting needs.

Among the top contenders when you’re raising a family? According to a 2010 Forbes report on Yahoo, top locations for raising a family include Des Moines, Iowa, Syracuse, New York, Provo, Utah, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Another Forbes report addresses the needs of working moms, putting Pittsburgh and D.C. on their list, among other metropolitan areas that offer professional opportunity along with quality health care and schools.

Top towns for Empty Nesters

As for my next stage? Empty nest is looming. There’s much I love about where I reside, but as a single woman of a certain age, my options are limited here, both socially and professionally. So what’s next, especially when it’s more than an issue of downsizing?

I know Paris; it’s more than my French fantasy. I also have no illusions about the French, or what it’s like to live as a foreigner, albeit comfortably. But I want to consider all my options, especially as a parent, and because it’s harder changing everything about your life at 50 than it is at 30, or even 40.

And check here if you want the 2012 update on Best Places to Live if You’re Over 50.

Empty Nest is a tricky demographic

So what are the best cities for Empty Nesters?

As I zipped around the internet in search of answers, there were none that seemed definitive. Some articles assume that this stage equates to retirement. Do you know anyone in this economy who can actually retire? I don’t – in their 50s, 60s, or older.

I found Portland, Oregon and Austin, Texas on one list. (It sounds like these are great cities for every stage!) I found San Francisco, Boston, San Diego and Boulder on other lists (despite high costs in the first three). Climate is more of a consideration when you’re older (a sorry state of affairs, but true).

So what are the best places to live for the 50+ crowd? And doesn’t it make a difference if you’re single and looking, versus married and moving à deux? Do you have a good list?

Embracing change starts with imagining change

My life has been a series of changes I’ve initiated, and many that have occurred which were beyond my control. I’ve reinvented myself more times than I can count, living in more than a half dozen urban centers, including abroad.

Why is it harder to imagine doing so again? Is my comfort zone holding me back, or my very real constraints – financial, professional, familial, and more?

If I can imagine another life in another location, is that the first step to making it happen?

  • Could you up tear up roots, and start over alone, elsewhere?
  • What’s your dream location for your current stage of life, or the next?
  • Is managing change a woman’s issue, and her cross to bear?
  • Do you believe that if you can imagine it, you can live it?


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  1. says

    I’d pick New York. Hands down. My husband and I actually play this game all the time. The problem for us is that we have great relationships with our families and because of our Midwest location we get to see them pretty frequently. That’s a hard thing to walk away from. But if you’re judging the city on its merits alone, I’d head to a coast.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      It’s intriguing to imagine, isn’t it? (What’s not to love about New York? Well, the expense, the pace… but in an ideal imagined scenario, you’ve got the money to enjoy both!)

  2. says

    My husband and I have talked about Chicago (where he grew up), Portland (where we have family), California (who doesn’t dream of living there), Colorado… to name a few. But we always come back to Minneapolis. We truly do love it here. We’d consider moving at some point – if we had a great job offer, if circumstances changed, if we got a case of wanderlust – but it’s always nice to realize how lucky we are to live here.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Eva – so many great places you’re naming! And April – Paris seems a logical place for me, but do I want to be that far from my sons? Decisions, decisions – as Lisa says. And not quite so simple as they seem on the surface…

  3. says

    My dream is to live abroad for a year or two in that early empty nest phase. Which is ages away for me. Where exactly? Wherever the winds take me.
    I do love having a home though, and community means the world to me. Maybe I will be like my grandfather who (in a very different economy) split time between two locations he loved.
    I can attest to the coolness of Austin. Even though it’s much bigger now, it is a great city. Too bad jobs are better for us elsewhere.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      My recommendation to those who want to live abroad for awhile is to find a way to do it while you are still young enough to thoroughly enjoy it. The problem with waiting until some future point (10 years out or more) is all that can happen in the interim. Raising a family is incredibly satisfying, but very tiring! So I’m all for a bit of carpe diem, if you can find a way to do it.

      (I’ve never been to Austin. I’ve heard it’s fabulous.)

  4. says

    I’m so torn about this. I could live the rest of my life in the house/area I’m in right now and be oh so happy. Yet, our kids are looking at parts not anywhere close to said residence. So, do I stay in my comfort zone (there’s THAT word again), or pick up and move closer to them, grandkids, etc. if they are in the same Southern geographical region? But, aging parents are a factor, and they are close to where we live now in the Midwest. Entrepreneur would move in a heartbeat if there was a promise of being on the water’s edge or a golf course. Decisions, decisions.

  5. says

    My husband always talks about two places, New York and California. He has also mentioned Europe as well. Since we just moved to AZ, I think he is just all talk at least for the next few years. He has always had a nomadic view on place – wanting to experience as many cities as he can. I am usually the one who wants to stay in one place in order to build roots.

  6. says

    I’m not wild about the thought of being landlocked or being around too many folks whose politics/philosophy are the exact opposite of mine. Lately, I’ve been a bit down about SF due to the freaking cold summer (I wore a pea coat out tonight!); but as long as we’re not getting squeezed out economically (thanks to budgeting skills), we’re staying put and biding the time when Indian summer rolls around. Having said that, I’d probably consider Santa Monica, Seattle, Portland, Chicago or Boston. Then again, I’d consider a laid-back life on the Big Island and hike to the flowing lava once a month.

  7. says

    I have always, until this past year, thought I would move north when the kids were all gone. I lived in the Lake Placid area for two plus years when I was younger and would love to go back there. Now, winters seem to get too cold for me and I have decided I probably would just want to visit, not live, there.

    Just moving about 35 miles northwest of where I am would be wonderful for me. I love the city of Ithaca and may check into moving there in the next 5 years or so.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      As a single woman, how much does availability of potential friends and partners play into your decision, Nicki?

  8. says

    though i’m a country girl at heart, i’m a committed new yorker now. having lived here 14 years, i’m spoiled. i can’t live anywhere else–woody allen once said he needed to know he could get lemon chicken at 3 am if he wanted it (even though he never did). being a 30-minute drive from a decent beach or the hudson river valley, and a 20-minute subway ride from midtown manhattan, is pretty much priceless (which is good, because it’s dang pricey).

  9. says

    I live in the DC area and have always loved this part of the country. (except the humidity… honestly there are days I wonder if I have grown gills and why I bothered taking a shower and seriously, do I really have to spend the whole summer with a soaking wet shirt just from being outside?) There is a lot here for people of all ages – though I plan to retire to Tucson, Arizona (no humidity!) I have a policy that every city offers something, but not every city can be a “fit” for each of us. I could easily live in San Francisco’s North Bay but the cost of living and educating my daughter is a challenge. A friend of mine says she will move out of the country when her children leave the house and then return to the southwest.

    Different people and different phases. When I didn’t have a desire for my daughter to know her families, I could have easily moved. Now my focus is giving her the gift of knowing her family which means I will wait to explore new cities as a resident over a tourist. Yet, when I reach that point, she will have a life away from mine so, how much of my choice will be based on the desire to live in a different city and the desire to have her closer or within easy access travel wise etc?

    Who knows what tomorrow brings – but I can definitely see different areas attractive to different age groups. For me, the city is nice but maybe my choice to move here and there is based more on the experience I want to have? And since I don’t feel tied to cities… moving is less an emotional challenge.

  10. dadshouse says

    I’d like to get to NYC someday, perhaps in my empty nest years. As for being young and single – Boston can’t be beat!

  11. says

    Syracuse, NY?!? To raise kids? Oh that’s so funny! I was born there though grew up in Virginia. It would seem a hard place to raise kids with a sluggish economy…even more so than where I currently live. I think it’s great if that’s true, but I couldn’t help but laugh when I read it :)

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Ah Soccer Mom. I had to chuckle at a few of these myself – looking at the cost of living or the weather. I think so much depends on individual preference, the industry you work in, how old you are and whether or not you have kids. These articles are always to be taken with a grain of salt, but sometimes they lead us to look into new areas we wouldn’t have considered otherwise. (I’m thinking Virginia sounds nice! But who knows…)

  12. Andrea says

    I think every area has its pro’s and con’s it depends on what you value most. Things to consider – climate, commuting time to and from work. Having lived in several states, some places is truly a nightmare to get around. In terms of traffic, if you can find a job near your home your okay. However, despite all the variety and hype NYC and D.C. has to offer. The traffic and parking can be almost impossible to find and deal with.

    If your schedule can avoid rush hour than your okay. Otherwise you will need to keep at least an half tank of gas – and plan to be in traffic for a while. In some cases 15 min. trip can take 2hrs… Sometimes its good to visit for an extended period to really get the feel of things. As a tourist you always get a rush out of the attractions and shopping etc. While actual living is totally different. It can be draining. Syracuse is nice for kids. Just be prepared to drive a lot everything is spread out. Its also easy to see everything in a summer and you’ll find yourself seeking neighboring cities for things to do.

    Az is really hot in the summer months and everything is spread out there as well and some parts is so quiet you can hear a pin drop outdoors in the midst of the wild life.

  13. kay says

    I’m seriously considering visiting France by Paris. I am one of the statistics of aftermath from Sandy storm now with no residence to go to… I figured this may be the chance I have now to go visit abroad, but I don’t know where to start and where to stay as far as a decent area not knowing anyone there, don’t care for a travel group. Perhaps I can find/discover something wonderful on this trip as they say to every dark cloud (sandy storm) there is a silver lining. I’m looking to do just that! I would appreciate any valuable tips for a female and traveling alone, thanks!

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Hi Kay, I’m so sorry you’ve been hit by Sandy, and in such a devastating way. I hope you have found safe shelter, even if temporarily. (We’d love to hear how that is going for you.)

      As for traveling alone, I’ve done it much of my life – long before I married, during marriage (business mostly), and after marriage. I never had an issue with it, I enjoyed myself, but I will tell you that it helped me that I speak French, when it comes to feeling at ease in Paris. That said, you will find people speaking English there of course, and it is an extraordinary city. It can be wonderful, but you do want to stay somewhere you’ll feel safe, and that you can walk places to. Paris is extremely “walkable.”

      Take a look at this (I wrote it a few years ago, so divorced women wouldn’t be afraid to travel alone) – but the tips on being a woman traveling solo apply anywhere, really, and at all stages.

      We have several good-spirited French readers here. Perhaps they will have some suggestions for you re where to stay. How long do you plan to go for – and generally, when?

  14. kay says

    Thank you for your response and kind words, I was at the beginning stages of a divorce which prompted me to move into a new place, and less than 2 weeks after, Sandy came and mandatory evacuation was set in place. I left the area and I was visiting my dad for a few days thinking I would be returning to what was to be a start over life/home for myself prior to learning the horrific damage.

    We were allowed to return several days later only to see the damages in certain neighborhoods in turns, it is not liveable nor a place that will be for a long time. On top of that, while visiting my dad, I learned a dear friend had passed suddenly which came as another shock… was starting to think I had a country song in my future…

    What I do have is my health and yes a temporary place to live, but not home… I am 50, and my birthday this year will be 12/12/12, which I hope to spend in a special way. It is heartbreaking to see and also understand the depth of the impact Sandy has left for so many less fortunate than I. I want to believe it is an opportunity in disguise, I must take solace in still having a dream and to exercise the privilege while I am still able to enjoy it, should I go about it sensibly with what resources I have and hopefully good advice and recommendations.

    I don’t have an issue doing anything alone, I am going to get my passport tomorrow and I’m thinking of staying 5 days (?). I must tell you, while I was visiting my dad, I went into the city 30 minutes away, and had dinner by myself, when two men were seated next to me. As they began to converse I noticed their accents, and shortly after the older gentleman out of the two began to include me in their communication. They were from France, and our conversation flowed like it was meant to be, though there was a little struggle in expressing, there was never a moment of dead air or boredom, followed by comments which I must see Paris.

    With that being said, when I was in my mid 20s, I was offered a job as a flight attendant. Traveling was my passion. After I learned my work schedule, being a single parent I basically would have had to hand over my daughter to someone else to raise. The demands from the airlines were more challenging then. I knew without a doubt my daughter needed me more than the airlines, I thanked them and asked for a one way ticket back home, and never looked back. Later I learned my first flight was to be to Paris!

    The point is, of all the people I could have ran into during that evening, the men from Paris made me believe it was a reminder that it’s the right time for me to go there now. I really enjoy your site and what you have to say, it’s as though I came across it at the perfect time. I am not bound to anything, I have my clothes and me! I have unexpected moments of tears while doing random things to get on with life, then I feel a sense of curiosity of what’s to come. I hope and wish everyone who was affected by recent devastation to hang on and know we can/will rebuild, what’s inside each and everyone of us, not even mother nature can diminish it with her force.

    I wanted to get an express passport, but on the application it wants to know the dates and information you would have already committed to, such as flight travel itinerary, but how can you do that without obtaining a passport first, not knowing when you would receive one… confusing.

    I’m a total virgin at this and it will be my first time abroad, though I have driven cross country coast to coast.

    Thanks for reading, it’s quite a bit I know.

    • BigLittleWolf says


      If you have your dad’s place to go “home” to, and you can swing it, I’d stay a full week. The jet lag can slow you down a bit, so you might want enough time to enjoy yourself “awake.”

      As for Paris in December, I’ll tell you I was there a few years ago about a week before Christmas and it was incredibly beautiful. VERY cold, but Paris lit up for the holidays is magical.

      It is also, like NYC, a large city that can feel wondrous or very lonely. I can’t promise, but we may be able to find a few connections for you while there, which would be helpful.

      Do you like art? Bookstores? Window shopping? Museums? Happy sitting in a café with a coffee and just absorbing?

      Divorce is tough enough. Sandy? I can’t even imagine. We see on the news and areas look like a war zone. For those of us familiar with the region, even if we don’t live there, it’s profoundly affecting. I’m glad you have your dad. Personally, I think giving yourself Paris – with a bit of a safety net – sounds like a very healthy and possibly healing thing to do.

  15. kay says

    I like all things you’ve mentioned to do, I will plan on a week then as you said. You used the words war zone to describe, it’s how it looks and feels exactly. My prayers are with those who are trying to make it there especially in this weather. I absolutely would welcome and appreciate any input or further communication. I feel your advice is sound and honest from personal experiences, thank you.

  16. cathy mcdonald says

    Austin is a terrible city for a woman in her fifties. Don’t move to Austin. There must be something better out there.

    • says

      Wow, really? I’ve heard many great things about Austin but haven’t been. But I’m 48 and single; can’t seem to find a lasting relationship. I live in San Diego and have loved it most of the time for 17 years, but getting concerned about being able to afford to stay here and not crazy about how big it’s getting. But if Austin is not a good place to meet someone, that’s disappointing. I will be 50 in 2 years.

  17. Deborah says

    How happy I am to see this post! I am 56 and struggling to feel comfortable with this next life chapter without my children. I have one daughter who lives in NYC and hates Cali, and one who lives in LA and is never leaving. And I have one daughter home who graduates in may and is going to take the best job offer she gets who knows where. I feel so unsettled and torn. I had cancer 6 years ago which has also contributed to this feeling of vulnerability. I too, have dreamt of spending time in Paris eating and drinking and being with the people ( I love French culture) but its not realistic to live that far from my daughters who I just adore! I want a friendly town and smart. Spiritual but authentic. A place with a lot to do but not a lot of neighborhood noise at night. No humidity. No cold. I’m thinking of silver lake CA or Santa Monica. Any ideas ? Thank you!

    • BigLittleWolf says

      And I’m so happy to read this, Deborah! I could have tweaked a few things in your comment, and it’s as though I could’ve written this remark.

      I know exactly what you mean about feeling unsettled and torn. That’s the perfect way to describe the situation, as is “this next life chapter.” We may realize our kids have flown, but they still want a home to return to (when they feel like it), we want to be available to them (and if they’re spread across the country?), yet we want something for ourselves.

      I’m right there, myself.

      Time to update this article with a few more ideas and resources. I’m on the case… 😉

  18. Claire says

    Kay, I can relate, though my devastation was not near what you and those surrounding you have endured. I too am still working through Hurricane Irene August 2011; living in a temporary means of housing on my property, things are not well in Dixie! All plans turned completely upside down; revamping academic pursuits, spouse with cancer, becoming displaced, marriage in ruins, and settlement still not in sight. Landing a job hasn’t been fruitful, the countless resumes and cover letters…I m ready to get out of Dodge. Daunting thought starting over, but a thought I am seriously considering…where to go, state-side … which state and city, or county, what are employment opportunities for one aged 59…Should I seriously consider running a business again? These are mulling in my thoughts …moving to Montana, gonna be a dental floss tech…old song, but it seems job opportunites are plenty due to a lack of people living there, because it’s extremly cold in the winter months I understand and the snow is deeper than deep. I am pleased I stumbled across this “Daily Plate of Crazy” … it has provided me a breath of fresh air!

  19. Dawn says

    Ran across this article and read all the comments. I’m so curious to find out if Kay went to Paris and how her trip went, lol. My husband passed away in 2005 and I have the last of my three children at home with me. I have stayed in this small town in Ohio because of family and a house with no mortgage payment. I’m really thinking of moving some place with sun and more entertainment options. The places stated have given me food for thought. I think I’ll choose one and vacation there first. Thanks.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Delighted you stopped by to comment, Dawn. I wonder if Kay went to Paris also, or if she decided to stay closer to home. I bet many of us can relate to the thought of a new place with some sun and more entertainment options after raising kids! (There is a “me” after motherhood, though it can be tricky to dig her out for some of us.) I hope you looked at the “best places to live when you’re over 50 and reinventing” link as well – whether you’re 50 or not. The discussion was terrific – there were many suggestions and comments about locations, from personal experience of those who have visited or lived there.

      Wishing you a happy and healthy 2013.

  20. says

    Kay and Dawn, like you, I read the article and all the comments. Kay, did you actually go to Paris? I was in Alsace and Burgundy in 2006 on autonomous (not corporate) business and would go back in a minute. I know that visas are a biggie for stays longer than six months. I know a colleague took her cat with her on a one year’s artist in residence so I know it can be done.

    Who else, reading all of these comments, has insight for a woman pushing 70? I’m at the point that if I do not take action my life will continue to devolve. I am NOT liking that thought.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Thelma, So glad you stopped by to read and discuss. Let’s see if there are any folks pushing 70 looking to start over, try a new place, “go for it” while the going is good…

  21. Iris says

    I’m 51. One son lives with me here in DC. My other son lives in Santa Monica. I’ve been hoping to move to the Southern California area for years. The weather there is simply wonderful. DC is ridiculously hot and humid in the summer, and the winter weather is just unpleasant. It’s not cold enough to freeze over streams and lake for ice skating often. Skiing is terrible in the area (all icy). We usually go from winter to 85+ degree weather in one day…seriously. Our spring and fall seasons are RARE. People in S. Cal just seem happier, more laid back, open-minded…it’s not all about what you do for a living there. People love the weather so much that they go outside to walk just for fun. Unfortunately the housing there is still super expensive.

    My mom lives in NC. She’s 82. One sister lives in Connecticut. The other sister lives in Oregon. Everyone’s all over the place. It’s hard to know where to move to. I was glad to find your comments here. Nice to know others feel the same way. What to do? How to make the move and find a job in the new locale? Will I be able to get health insurance in the new place? Will I ever feel a sense of community in the new town? In the days when the kids were in school, I automatically made friends with the other parents. At this phase of life, there’s no “forced togetherness”. I know I could join a club, church, etc. It’s still kind of scary, right? Time to go to sleep and ponder these things again…

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Thank you for joining the conversation, Iris. It seems many of us are in this situation – more complex when we have family in different parts of the country, and when we’re worried about getting new jobs, health insurance, and so on. Many options but yes, still scary.

      • Lily says

        Hi All… is this thread still rolling. Wonderful comments, so many of which I could have said myself with little alteration. I just returned from looking in the San Francisco area where I’ve thought of moving for a couple of decades. Like many, I’m uncertain about the change but know it’s time. I’m in my mid-50s and looking for fulfilling work and a great, interactive (as in talking-thinking-actvities) community. I’m curious if any of you have moved, where you’ve ended up and if you’re enjoying it where you are. With warm regards and best wishes to all.

  22. Leslie says

    I have relocated to Scottsdale, Az, renting and decided after many years I’m an east coast person. I miss the 4 seasons. My siblings are not close, I’m divorced with no children. Can anyone recommend a quaint town in the Carolinas that has close access to city life, arts & culture? Also, with affordable living.

    • D. A. Wolf says

      Hi Leslie – Let’s put it out there (on Twitter) and see if we get some feedback! What about working scenarios? Any requirements there, are can you do what you do from anywhere?

  23. Kay says

    Thank you for your site…I am a fan!!!

    I am 51 years old, divorced with no children. I have lived all over the place, Scottsdale, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, San Diego, Austin and that is just INSIDE the US. Though I have traveled extensively abroad. I was raised in a small town in AL and always knew I would leave Alabama when I grew up. I wanted to leave small town America behind and *see the world* so that when I became older, I would know where I would want to live and retire. Well now I am older. And after years of traveling and a marriage that did not last, I find myself on the other-side of my life unsure about my next move.

    I want to live in a reasonably priced area, with art and culture, great food and options to date/remarry if it is *meant to be*. Instead, I find myself well-traveled, well-educated and well-worn. I am tired of feeling like a *woman without a home*. Moving back to Alabama is not an option, I need more, it is toooo slow. I don’t need the fast life, but I don’t need the city to close at dark, either. I need to be in a city with the arts, the culture, and a job doing what I love (some type of customer service) which could pay the bills without having to return to my *real job* just to pay the bills.

    I am a Clinical Pharmacist who has worked in Oncology for years. I need something lighter, less intense. I am reinventing myself, I want to paint and write. I have been *successful* for over 25 years. I need to get off this treadmill of life, and finally enjoy my life. Starting over now…is scary, but it is now or never.

    I am healthy, vibrant and ready to make a change, although my colleagues think I can not be serious. I know doing what I love is is what will give me peace. I am thinking seriously about relocating to places I lived in my youth; but I can not decided where. How is Scottsdale or Austin for 50+, any ideas?

    • D. A. Wolf says

      Hi Kay. So glad you stopped by! I can relate… (in Empty Nest now). Let’s put the question out to Twitter and FB!

    • says

      Hi Kay, I just moved to Austin from Chicago, but I’m in a different situation – my husband and I are married thirty-somethings with two young kids, and we find that there’s plenty of culture and night life, and the unemployment rate here is low. It’s a vibrant city with plenty to do, but it’s also full of greenery, which I love. I’ve been a city girl all my life so my biggest adjustment has to do with the the abundance of nature – a good thing really, except when I encounter wildlife that I’m not often used to. It’s also one of the fastest growing cities in the country, so it could get more crowded in the future (read: terrible commute) but at least you don’t have to worry about the city shutting down at sundown. We may not have quite the array of choices as, say Chicago, when it comes to culture, but what we do have is plenty I think, especially if you’re into the dining scene and the arts. Having the University of Texas here certainly helps.
      Justine recently posted…Our wedding dayMy Profile

  24. Jane Lockhart says

    I am 50 plus and I have lived in the burbs of Atlanta for 8 years now and have yet to find anyone that I would consider for a relationship. I am from Florida and find the culture here is very strange to what I am used to. I have been looking in the North Carolina area and found that Asheville is very cultural and artsy, but can be quite expensive. I am fond of the ocean and the mountains but the east coast of the Carolinas can be very humid, which is why I left Florida in the first place. I suppose I would try Asheville if I could find an affordable place. I am not sure about the ratio of men and women in my age group. I fell in love with the city and history, but there is no point if I have no one to share the beauty with. Any suggestions?

    • D. A. Wolf says

      Hi Jane. I am curious – What methods of meeting people have you been trying? Purely online venues in the Atlanta area, or activity/interest-based options via Meetup? Is your work conducive to socializing?

      I know many who have visited Asheville and loved it (for precisely the reasons you mention). I visited years back and loved it as well. As for demographics and expense, both can be issues in so many otherwise desirable locations, especially for women.

      Any readers out there with suggestions for Jane?

  25. Linda says

    Hey guys, if you’re still reading this thread, great! I have never written on a post like this and somehow it found me at 2:30 am.

    I am an empty nester and have two grown great daughters, oh yes and I am divorced. I am currently in L.A. and my youngest lives 2 miles from me. I have been in Beverly HIlls only 11 months and the dense population, traffic, pollution has me wanting OUT.

    MY other daughter is in FLA. I have lived my life around them and will continue to live loving them, but time to stop living around them as I have been bi coastal due to this situation.

    I am checking out Boulder next week. I will touch base with my feelings on it. My plan is to study and get certified as a pilates instructor and meet up with family and friends of my Dad who live near by. My dad was big into politics for years and at 50 years old, divorced and lucky enough to go where ever I want. I am giving Boulder a shot, hopefully the majority of people liked him!!!

  26. Elaine says

    Hi, I’m 57 with one daughter away at school. I’m in the suburbs of Chicago and need to move to
    Lower my expenses plus I want some warmer weather. I want to explore Northern NC. I am still working and plan too for another 8-10 years. Living a reasonable distance from an airport is essential as I travel for business.

    I want access to arts and entertainment, places to ride a bike, light hiking, etc.
    I will also be looking for ways to create a new social life with men and women.

    Groups that hang out? Book clubs? Travel together? I’m a young 57 – go to the gym several times a week.

    Who has trade that move to NC? Comments and suggestions welcome.

    • Melina says

      I’m 56, and my husband passed away four and half years ago. We have four grown sons – and our family is spread out across the world! I’m a US citizen, grew up in Seattle, but moved to Norway just after college, got married, raised kids, and began a career. This is the country I’ve known as an adult.

      Now, however, I have one son in Maine who’s married and they have a baby on the way, one son in Toronto also married with baby on the way, one son working in Australia living with his girlfriend, and one son just finishing college here, and on his way to live and work with his girlfriend in New Zealand.

      So here I am alone, in a country that originally wasn’t even mine. My mother and sister live in Seattle, and I have a brother in Minnesota. I want to move closer to family- but it’s tough. I have a good job and still a few years before I can retire. If I did move it would probably be to the east coast of the US to be near grandkids, though I’m not exactly looking forward to more cold and snow.

      I don’t know what the job market is like for people my age, in any state. Or where it would be best to live as a single, middle-aged woman starting fresh. Here in Norway we have free health care. What’s the best way to go about getting health insurance? So many questions. It’s kind of exciting to think about moving back home, but also scary. Not sure if anyone can provide any insight here.

      • D. A. Wolf says

        Hi Melina. Glad you stopped by. This is SUCH a difficult issue in a situation like yours, spread out across more than a region or country, but several countries.

        If you haven’t read this yet – 50 Years Old and Starting Over> Where to Begin? – you might find it of interest. The comments and discussions on these articles are certainly helpful.

        As for the healthcare situation and job market, in my opinion, leaving a country with a social safety net for one with virtually none is precarious. On the other hand, I have two sons hundreds of miles away (and who knows where they’ll go next; one is very fond of Europe), I understand the desire to be nearer to family. And by that, at least on the same side of the Atlantic.

        Take a look at the “Where to Begin” article (mentioned). It covers the considerations, and may help you at least start the data gathering you need.

        What sort of work have you done these many years in Norway? Are you entrepreneurial? Are you looking to date / remarry? Given the geographic spread of your family, it may be difficult to choose a coast if you decide to return to the US.

        As for health insurance here, without an employer covering/subsidizing it, it’s a hodge-podge from state to state. And still quite expensive, depending on your circumstances. I would recommend narrowing down the states you’re considering, then doing a little research on them.

        Please do drop by again – with more questions, or as you move through the process. As I said, there’s a breadth of experience in the discussion. Moving can be exciting and scary both — Yes! But then, you’ve already done it. So you know!

        • Melina says

          Thanks for your reply! I work as a neuropsychologist over here, but my foreign degree isn’t recognized in the states as a PhD, so I’d be a masters level psychologist, I guess. I would think there would be jobs for me, but not sure if they hire people my age. I do have more than 25 years of experience.

          I haven’t starting thinking about dating or remarrying. At this point I have more than enough to think about, and I’m not entirely over the grief of losing my husband either. Maybe I never will be.

          I’ll check that link – thanks!

        • D. A. Wolf says

          I would think you likely have a better shot at finding a suitable position than many, given your career experience. I would also think that connections would be your best way to explore those options, so you might also consider that route — expanding your professional circles in a variety of geographic areas, which may show where you’re more apt to find opportunities. Online communities can help there. (Are you on LinkedIn, for example?) As for starting over “socially,” that’s a whole other issue, and so tough. Being closer to your family sounds like a good first step. You may have more choices than you think.

  27. Jill says

    My husband and I retired from the U.S. Military in 07 and 09 respectively. After working a government contract job he hated for a few years and going back to school, we decided to leave the rat race altogether. In 2014 We sold our home in Texas and everything in it and bought a 45′ motor home. We travel the U.S. And Canada with our three cats and are enjoying seeing the country. This also enables us to scope out potential final retirement locales for the future. After just over a year on the road we are almost set on the Oregon coast with Washington State a close second.

  28. Nina says

    This has been awesome and such a great help to me to be reading everyone’s comments about where to start over. Please continue to do so…..Its been so helpful. I too, am in the same predicament. Please email me with any other information that could be helpful.




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