The big decision is whether or not I stay here when I retire. There are a lot of things I love about the D.C. metro region. I have good friends, for one thing. There are nice places to walk. I have an independent bookstore and a good coffee roaster close to home. There are plentiful international connections from IAD. And, best of all, the cultural life here is amazing, with tons of theatre and good venues for the sorts of music I like.
The downsides are that I haven’t really found a compatible Jewish community and that we are absurdly far inland. (This is the only place I have lived that is not within walking distance of the ocean / a large bay.) The weather is less than wonderful, but I am more tolerant of heat and humidity than most people. The large, slow moving herds of tourists at various times of year are a nuisance, too. (There are other wildlife nuisances, by the way. My neighborhood has a juvenile male bear hanging around. And Canada geese, the shittiest birds in creation. I mean that literally as there is goose poop all over our sidewalks. Also, snakes, though I rarely see them.)
So where might I move? There are two places I’ve been in the U.S. which had me reaching for real estate brochures. One of those is Traverse City, Michigan, but that has neither much of a Jewish community nor much cultural life. The other is Charleston, South Carolina, which is more feasible. I’ve been contemplating renting a place there for a while to see what it is like to actually live there, instead of just visiting.
But, of course, the place in the U.S. that has always felt most like home is Boston. It felt right from the first time I was there. And I loved spending my undergraduate years there. It’s very walkable, has lots of cultural options, and I have a lot of friends there. The winters suck, of course, but that can be handled by a mixture of holing up at home and minor snowbirding (e.g. a few weeks at a time in, say, Southeast Asia). The major downside is that it is pricy. But maybe I need to look further afield than, say, Somerville or Brookline.
I am not necessarily limited to staying in the U.S. The most likely option overseas is Israel and, in particular, Tel Aviv. That also has the advantage of assorted cousins scattered around. A more surprising option is Uruguay, though I don’t think I have any family still there. (I believe I may have some relatives still in Argentina, but haven’t confirmed that successfully.)
I have plenty of time to sort that all out. It is going to take me a good three years to get rid of enough stuff from here that I can even contemplate moving.