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Retirement . . . It's not for the faint of heart!

Retirement – the action or fact of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work; the period of one’s life after leaving one’s job and ceasing to work.

We have now entered into the next phase of our lives – Retirement. Bob officially retired in July. 38 years of dedication, 38 years of providing for a family, 38 years of challenges and triumphs – he was more than ready. Now the real question is “Was I ready?” Even though Bob had been working from home the past few years and not traveling due to Covid, he still was busy during the day. What would life be like when he was not working? Together – 24/7. Let me repeat that – 24/7.

On his first official day of retirement, as we lay in bed that morning, he turned to me and said the question I feared was coming – “What are you doing today?” A thought crossed my mind: Was this the question I was going to be asked every morning? Am I now responsible for entertainment? How do I gently let him know I’m not Julie McCoy, his personal cruise director. The man just had a huge life change. He was going from an extremely fast paced, at times stressful job to absolutely nothing. Gentle handling was needed here. I had thought about my response for the question I knew I would be asked. Do I counter with “What are your plans for today?” A good counter question, I thought, it takes the focus from me and gets him to focus on himself. The other option is to just tell him my plans and start breakfast. Matter of fact like, a more subtle approach letting him know he’s not included. As I’m contemplating which option, he says “So what are your plans today?” I’m sorry to say, I didn’t take the gentle route. My mind began to think about the movie Groundhog Day and the thought of the repeated morning after morning question was my undoing. At that moment I decided a more forceful approach might be a better way to go. I respond: “Nope, we’re not starting that”. (Later I think what the hell kind of answer was that?!) Feeling bad that I’ve barked, I tell him, it’s Wednesday, I’m going to volunteer at Humble Design. (I’ve been doing this for a year but for some reason he can’t seem to remember). It’s then he drops the bomb – “Maybe I’ll go with you”. I want to say I didn’t start hyperventilating but that wouldn’t be exactly true. My God, now he’s trying to infiltrate my charity! I gently let him know (okay maybe not so gently) that this was something I like doing on my own and now he has time to find a charity he would like to support. And thus began our first official day of retirement.

(As I’m writing this, Bob came in and sat in the chair next to my desk and asks “What are you doing?” I reply, “Well since I’m sitting at my desk and have my hands on my keyboard, I’d say I’m writing”. He replies, Oh yeah right, I’ll leave).

I’ve found there’s a kinship with wives of retirees. As soon as you tell them your husband has retired they give you a compassionate look. The “I understand what you’re going through” look. I’m gathering there’s phases of adjusting to retirement. When I told some ladies today it’s just been a few months I got a knowing “ahh”. And then followed with “She’s a newbie”. Clearly they knew something I didn’t. It takes time to adjust, they said. Does he have any hobbies? Does he read? Get him an Ipad another one said. I got the feeling I’m to keep him busy, like I do with my grandson. OMG do I have to become Julie McCoy for real?

The suggestions were followed with stories of their first months of retirement. One said she had scrapes on the back of her ankles from her husband constantly hitting her in the back of her feet with the grocery cart since he now wanted to shop with her. Another friend of mine told me her husband was critiquing how she placed her cooked fish on a plate. Another told of how she was going away for the weekend with her girlfriend and her husband was micromanaging her trip like it was his business trip.

(And interruption 2 just occurred. Opened the door, sat down and started talking and then like he just realized I was busy said “Oh yeah, sorry” and left.)

I’ve also learned a few things since my husband has retired. It seems the 30 plus years I’ve been cooking for our family, I’ve been doing it wrong. Clean while you cook he says – hell most of the time during the 30 years, I was frantically cooking in between all the kids events, cleaning was done after the meal was cooked. Now with my husband home, I have my personal shadow while I cook. He even cleans things I’m not done using! His keen eye for observation (or boredom) has even noticed I take my pills incorrectly. I guess I’m to take in the water after I’ve put the pills in my mouth – not the other way around. Who knew there was a protocol for that? OMG give me strength! 😊

It’s been roughly three months into our new adventure – that 90 days folks! 90 days of togetherness. We’re slowly navigating our new normal. There are positives to not having a set schedule. We have found happy hours are divine, no pressure to shop on the weekends, doing things on our schedule, vacations whenever we want to leave. (and interruption 3 has just happened – this time he didn’t even get to the chair to sit down – I brought out the death stare and he turned around and left). Scratch the positives, does Walmart need any greeters? #retirement #givemestrength #24/7 #savingteets #lovehimtopieces


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