Oct 25, 2015

Have I Been Telling the Truth About Retirement?

I was thinking the other day about what how to describe retirement to my children. I know...they have seen it in action for almost 20 years so why would that be necessary? The thing is we may have not been letting them see what "really" goes on in our life. We don't want to be a burden or moan and groan  (oops). We may put on a good face for them. You know, just for show.

2015, 74 years old, blogger for 9+ years,
retired from a career in education since I was 55. I know retirement and
aging because I am living it!
It is hard for me to be totally honest about our life because I write a blog that talks about the positive side of life and that is the way my mind works. The truth of the matter is, I just don't think about the negative part a whole lot. It does not seem necessary.

So here goes some truths about retirement and aging that you will not hear from me very often:

  1. You will get bored...really you will. If you're smart and active it won't happen very often but if you can figure out a way to avoid it let me know. Mind numbing boredom will happen!
  2. You will fight with your spouse. Spending 24/7 together is not easy and even after our almost 20 years of retirement we are working on not making the other unhappy.
  3. Money is an issue. If you are not careful, the list of wants can outnumber the list of "can affords" a whole lot. 
  4. Spouses have different needs. Time spent "playing" can be a problem. Women may get very tied up in church volunteer work and the husband may not like spending day after day alone. Men can golf a lot with their friends. "Golf widows" really do exist.
  5. Staying healthy is a real job and not for the faint of heart. Food, exercise and real medical issues can take a lot of time. My mother told me once the getting old is very time consuming. She was right.
  6. If you live a very long time, things wear out...not you but things. The car, furniture, houses and even the yard. If you think that you can retire and then wear the same clothes you had on the day you retired for the rest of your life, you are not being realistic. If you don't keep your life and your personal appearance up to date, you are going to age a lot faster and you will look and act very old. 
  7. Hanging out totally with old people can take it's toll. I need to be around young people often. My outlook simply doesn't fit in a lot of the time.
  8. If you are a snowbird one or other of the partners will want to spend less time away. In my experience, women miss their grandchildren and want to go home before their husbands. I suppose it could work the other way around. 
  9. Leaving a profession that requires a lot of brain work and losing that intellectual connection can be hard. I always tell you that it is an opportunity to make new friends and build a new life. But it can be hard to find someone that shares your interests. I know this for a fact because I want to talk about science and books and computer technology. My grandchildren are a great help. But in public I struggle. I simply don't fit. 
If you are like me your children may not realize that your life is NOT perfect in everyway. They will be surprised when you say you are bored or need help. Truly, they are surprised in the SURPRISE! kind of way. So you may be surprised that I have even said these things out loud. But, there you have it. 

If I have lead you to believe that life will be perfect or made you feel like a failure if it isn't, I was not being honest. I quoted the Wall Street Journal recently:
All that said, it’s important not to go overboard and expect an entirely positive experience of aging. The key is to hold both positive and negative in balance and really understand and own the aging process.
That my friends is the truth. It is a matter of looking at you glass and ALWAYS seeing it as half full!

b+

20 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Just telling it like it is...and there is a lot more as I am sure you know. You and Art have a wonderful way of living I think. I love his involvement with the theater. But, it is hard sometimes. right?

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  2. You are just two years ahead of me in all that: I'm retired 7 years and 6 years a blogger. But many of the downfalls you describe don't apply to me: my husband is a closet monk and all the time I spend away from him is just fine, the more the better. But when we are together, it's great. We don't have grandchildren so it's not an issue, but I can see how it might be. We are also not snowbirds. Love that picture of you, BTW. :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. I love to hear about different lifestyles. It sounds like you guys have it figured out. What is a closet monk?

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  3. I love your blog. I have been reading it off and on for over a year. I am 52 and husband is 58. He will retire next year and I can retire in less than two years. We want to winter in a warmer climate, but are working on figuring it out as I would also like to work. Early retirement is a little scary, and it is helpful to hear your positive attitude but also the realistic side like you provided today. Thank you. :-)

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    1. It is going to be fine for you...I promise!

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  4. Thank you for telling it like it is. I am looking at least 10 more years of working and even then it may be way beyond that.

    When I imagine retirement, I wonder what I will do with myself all day.

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    Replies
    1. I would have felt the same way. But as a stay at home mom and a teacher, I did spend a lot of time at home. I was well prepared for retirement. My husband, however, did struggle a little I think.

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  5. I have been retired for just over a year now. It has happened - that boredom you mentioned. It snuck up on me about six months in. It was mind numbing boredom! Why bother to get out of bed? I thought I had maybe made a mistake but when I considered working full time - that was not an option. Just like my before retirement life, my after retirement life has its peaks and valleys. I have also discovered that I like being a little busy but not a lot busy. It comes down to acceptance and attitude. Besides boredom, there are certainly differences in my relationship with my hubby. We love it and we hate it! We adjust and move on. We play, we fight, we laugh, we have some silent, slightly angry times. Just more of them than before, that's all!! :) I love being retired! Now, do we replace the toilets first or the dishwasher. Hmmm....thanks for affirming my experience. I am not alone!

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    Replies
    1. It is so dark here today in Portland so that makes me a little edgy...that is another problem with us. As for plumbing (and pouring concrete) we avoid that sort of thing as much a possible. The toilet is not bad but the dishwasher is really hard. Be well and hang in. We are both very lucky people in spite of "life" and all it means.

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  6. Great post Barb. I didn't know you were a techie. If you want to ever talk techie stuff just send an email in my direction. Yeah, I think one of the major differences between your blog and mine is that you do emphasize the positive and I might emphasize the negative more. I, like you, need to balance that out better sometimes.
    But maybe my blog is about how not to do things and yours is how to do them. We all need examples of both for a balanced life....

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    Replies
    1. Let's play tag sometime. We can write from different points of view.

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  7. You made many valid points! Getting old does take time and a lot of adjustment. Our kids may not understand, but those of us in this stage of life do. You look great. You are aging well, and you are being honest about aging. It has its high points and its low points, and that is the truth.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the kind words. Maybe the kids should be the ones reading this. I will not be talking about this again soon. It is good to get it all out in the open though. Take care of yourself.

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  8. Thank you for being so honest.
    I love this post. And will devise strategies for 24-7.

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    1. Yes, make a plan for the 24/7. I found my silverware drawer had been moved to the otherside (more logical) side of the kitchen. A bored husband can get very busy.

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  9. Barb: Thanks for this statement: "It is hard for me to be totally honest about our life because I write a blog that talks about the positive side of life and that is the way my mind works." I also don't mention the bad parts of my life on my blog, and I sometimes wonder about that. Good to hear it's not just me!

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    Replies
    1. Well, it is good to hear that YOU do the same. Truthfully, most of the bad is personal and no shareable on a blog. Family or friends don't really appreciate me putting our lives on public view and I don't blame them.

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  10. Preach! I always say that they didn't put this in the brochure. All they had was a bunch of pretty pictures, next time I will read the fine print.

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    Replies
    1. Jane, I am sorry I missed this comment earlier. No, like having that baby, they send you home with no instructions. Luckily for most of us, it works out just fine. Be well.

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