Retirement in Colorado: Urban versus Rural

Four years after our move to rural southern Colorado, I am remembering the difficulties I had making the final decision to give up city life for good. Here’s a piece I wrote five months after moving to Walsenburg and beginning construction on our new solar home:

Urban versus Rural: Decision Made!  November 23, 2014

My husband Mike and I have been in the process of transition into retirement in the past year. After five months living down south in a small rental in a very small town, we decided to go up north to visit family and friends this week. What an eye-opening experience! I was absolutely SHOCKED to have this timely reminder of what life in the city feels like, and what it does to human beings. Since we only have two stop lights in our entire new county, I had forgotten what it feels like to sit in traffic constantly. I experienced total culture shock, and Fort Collins felt like a foreign country to me.

Up north I saw people everywhere waiting for something, a place to park, a place to sit in a restaurant, a chance to go through the next stop light, an opportunity to pay for their purchase. There was terrible traffic going through Denver in the middle of the day, constant noise, obvious air pollution we could even taste sometimes.

Do people really choose to live like this? I found city life so anxiety-producing and over-stimulating.

great Mike photo of snow and Spanish Peaks

It felt like such a relief to finally get back to tiny Walsenburg. The good news is I now know for certain that a city could never be my forever home. There is no doubt in my mind, I am so done with city life!

This essay and many more can be found in my Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Southern Colorado.

5 thoughts on “Retirement in Colorado: Urban versus Rural

  1. My late husband and I didn’t have any trouble leaving the city… 7th largest in the US… and move to the country. After living in the country longer without him than I did with him, I wondered how I’d fare back in the city. Yes, I miss the night sky, the animals, the quiet, my little 22 feet by 22 feet house, but at this stage of my life, I don’t need to be in the middle of nowhere alone. I’ve reconciled the traffic and the other hassles. My support system is here. I’m happy I came back. xoxox, Brenda


  2. You know the city is harder, traffic is bad and sometimes you can taste the air…but…I like the idea of having my cake and eating it too. We live in the Portland metro area. Our community is small and big at the same time. We can get on a light rail line and be in downtown Portland with no car to park and have dinner or simply enjoy shopping. I love our retirement life and would not change a thing.

    I think your choice is perfect…what a view. Enjoy!

    Be well.



  3. Yep! That’s the beauty of retirement. We all get to live where we want to regardless of job status. LOVE IT! I didn’t know how badly cities were impacting my quality of life until I got far away from them for a year or two… plus COPD is not going to get better in a city.


  4. I understand your appreciation of quiet, countryside and smaller towns. I enjoy the smaller size city where I live, and I walk to the ocean every day. Our minister said recently “Do you ever stand at the ocean and think, I am so big, I am so important”, well no, nature and what God has created makes us recognize our place in things.


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