DEAR ABBY: I am a 54-year-old divorced woman who raised three kids on my own for 15 years. I would now like to make a major change in my life and move to a small town in a Southern state. My kids are grown except for my youngest, who will graduate from high school this summer and probably attend college.
My parents, who don't even live in this town, are opposed to the idea. They say I am "abandoning my children," and my siblings are asking how I can move so far away from my elderly parents, which makes me feel guilty.
Am I wrong for wanting a new life of my own? My loved ones can always come to visit me. Do I owe it to my parents to stay here?
I can no longer afford to live where I am here in San Diego, but if I move to a less expensive community, I suppose I could afford a small home. -- RESTLESS
DEAR RESTLESS: Having raised your children to the point that they are independent, you are entitled to live wherever you wish. However, before making any hard-and-fast decisions, please answer some honest questions:
What will you do if your parents become too ill or frail to travel? Once your children marry and your grandchildren start arriving, how involved do you want to be in their lives?
If you will have enough money to travel for visits when you wish, then go with a clear conscience. If not, consider moving to a smaller, less expensive community not so far away from the family.
P.S. A final question: If something should happen to you, would you want your family to be closer?