Lifestyle

In Search of Community

community

This is the first in a series chronicling our move into an active adult community.

Retirement in Arizona has been great with one exception – finding community. We’ve looked to our neighborhood, to volunteering and to various interest groups. But for many reasons, we’ve struck out.  According to Albert Einstein: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. So, time to come up with a new plan! (Check out Why We Retired to Arizona for more context.)

The Importance of Community

First, here’s what community means and why it’s important. A community is a collection of like-minded people who come together to socialize, pursue a common interest or just have fun. Communities are located in physical spaces such as neighborhoods or meeting places, or they can be virtual (e.g. online).

There are many benefits to being part of a community. If you work, a community helps with marketing, career development and networking. In addition, community provides security and purpose. It connects you to others who care about your well-being and that of the community. Community membership leads to better overall health and happiness. And very importantly, community helps guard against isolation.

A New Plan

Our new plan came about almost by accident. On a gorgeous Sunday morning we came across a large advertisement for active adult communities in the newspaper. We were intrigued by the reference to our goal – community. Despite having no direct experience with active adult communities, we figured we have nothing lose by checking one out. So that very same day we drove (and drove) to check out Victory at Verrado.

Victory at Verrado is located in the furthest west fringe of metro Phoenix – Buckeye. Victory (the age restricted segment) is located within the larger planned community of Verrado.  The home options are beautiful, the clubhouse and amenities resort quality and everyone is friendly. It’s location at the base of mountains is stunning. Life at Victory is filled with tons of activities, events and clubs. We were so impressed, that much to our surprise, we could imagine living there.

Don’t Marry the First Person You Kiss

While we fell in love with Victory, it does come with some baggage – its location. Not only is Buckeye very far from where we live, there isn’t much available in the surrounding area. And the major freeway in and out of Buckeye (I-10) is a nightmare to travel – at any time. So we continued to look.

As you may know, we have strong ties to the University of Houston. Living in Houston enables us to forge deeper ties with the university community.  So we flew out and visited Del Webb’s The Woodlands and Sugarland. While nice, they weren’t as nice as Victory (which we use as our benchmark). Then there’s the weather, Houston traffic and Texas sized bugs. We feel we’re better suited to Arizona.

When we got home we continued our research into other age restricted communities in the Phoenix area. We found one just a few miles north of us. But after learning that 60% of the homes were second homes, we questioned whether we could find community there. So we didn’t bother visiting. Our next site visit was to Trilogy at Vistancia which is about 30 miles away in North Peoria. The drive is easy partly because development hasn’t overwhelmed the infrastructure (yet).

The entrance into Trilogy is very pretty – palm lined streets, flowers, lakes, fountains and much greenery. It’s nestled in foothills that remind us of our current beautiful Sonoran desert setting. As someone who is predominantly analytical, my first impression really surprised me. I remember thinking that this feels like a place I could live.

Trilogy is just as impressive as Victory if not more so. Plus the surrounding area has more to offer in terms of shopping, restaurants, services and a library. The location (North Peoria) is “out there”, but it’s not as “out there” as Buckeye. We spent our day at Trilogy checking out model homes, visiting the clubhouses and attending happy hour. Everyone we encountered was friendly and appeared healthy and happy. After comparing notes, we decided to take our interest to the next level.

Engagement

After a month of whirlwind speed dating that took us to two states and several communities, we got engaged to Trilogy. The ring we gave them is a signed a contract and earnest money. The ring they gave us is the prospect of joining their community. We’ve already selected a lot and house model. Our engagement is expected to last about six months before we get married (close).

Given how fast we moved, you might expect me to question my sanity or to feel the onset of a severe case of buyers’ remorse. But that hasn’t happened nor do I think it will. However, there’s a regret that I hope I don’t have: I wish we had done this sooner. Because that’s a regret that we can never rectify. But I’m confident that won’t happen because up until now we weren’t ready to make a move. It’s taken time to figure out what we really want, what we like and what we don’t, what’s important and not, what areas have to offer and what they lack.

We owe a lot to Victory. Victory opened our eyes and hearts to the possibilities of a better life. But like most first loves, it wasn’t meant to be. We think that we are meant for Trilogy – our true love. We’re looking forward to our upcoming marriage and the dowry that comes with it – the gift of community!

Use the Leave a Reply section below to share your experience of active adult communities, whether you considered them and decided to move or stay put and whether your experience or impressions are good or bad.

 

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