Sep 14, 2017

Happiness is Hard Work...Life is not Infinite... and other thoughts from out here where the rubber meets the road!

  •  If spouses/partners don't compromise a little, they may miss their chance at happiness. People do die you know...especially when they reach retirement age!

  • A friend of mine had a son that said that he was NEVER getting married...it required too many compromises and he was not willing to do that.

  • I am not an expert on anything but life. I've been married 57 (almost) years but what do I know? I am only a retired educator living the life day after day after day.

Tom Sighting wrote an article that appeared in US News and World report a while back that caught my interest. 5 Ways to be Happier When You Retire set forth some very good common sense ways to make your retirement what you want it to be. I think about that sort of thing. Making each day count is important. My husband and I have been retired for over 20 years so we have worked through the reality of retirement and now we are pursuing those 5 ways to be Happy for ourselves.

But, it wasn't until we have learned to compromise and to find a path down the middle that we were both as happy as we could be. Retirees should remember that the cart doesn't go in front of the horse!

Happiness is a hard won prize!
If you have been retired for any length of time, you know that the path to happiness is not the same for any two people. We all have ways to remain content...if we don't, we only have ourselves to blame. BUT...and here is the big "rock in the road" part...people who are married or living with a partner and are not of one mind may have some problems. If each person's path is different, it only follows that partners might need to compromise.

That is really hard. A friend of mine had a son that said that he was NEVER getting married...it required too many compromises and he was not willing to do that. That young man is nearly grown now, in college and becoming the mature person he should be. Unfortunately, many of us never arrive at a place where compromise is even possible. I have seen it over and over in my retirement life.

So, is there a way to arrive at compromises with out compromising our own life altogether? I wonder.

There was a couple that were enticed by friends to spend the winter in our RV resort...or I should say a golfing friend of the husband convinced him to come and play with him in Arizona. The guys decided to spend the winter golfing and somehow the wife agreed to come. When they arrive in Arizona, the man played golf...all of the time with his friends. The wife quilted...all of-the time...alone.

Now here is the deal...you can quilt in Minnesota in the winter but you probably don't want to golf. He was in seventh heaven and she was furious all-of-the-time. She missed her grandchildren and friends and church. He wanted to golf in the winter and she wanted to stay in Minnesota. No one was giving an inch. She complained to anyone that would listen. It was not fair in her eyes.

What do you think? Did she know how she was going to feel before she left? Did she realize how much time she was going to spend alone or in the company of the other mans wife? I thought not.

Here is the thing about being happy in retirement when you are in a relationship...no one gets to be happy all of the time. Make sign...hang it on the wall...both people have to compromise otherwise it is not going to work out.

In an article appearing in Psychology Today, Leon Seltzer, PH.D (Compromise Made Simple....), pointed out a given when it comes to working out marriage problems no matter how old you are. He wrote:
It makes very little sense to fight about what’s fair. For what feels fair to one party might yet feel grossly unfair to the other. In the end, the only thing that matters is that the solution arrived at feel fair to both of you.
Then he talked about chewing it over and over with the girl friends or the golfing buddies.
Moreover, it hardly matters what anybody else might think. For if you and your partner see your final agreement as equitable, then (for all intents and purposes) it is equitable. That is, no external confirmation is “called for.
In the case of the couple I talked about above, I am sure that everyone that reads this will have a different solution. I kind of wanted to smack the man but it was not my business. A man, on the other hand, might have thought that she was being selfish by ruining her husband's fun. It was his dream to retire and play golf...period. He had worked hard for a very long time after all. (I know...so did she.)

Here are 5 random thoughts about a retirement life you might want to think about:
  1. The practical part of the issue is that retirees needed to compromise...simple as that. I think the wife in the couple I mentioned would have been happy if they could have done other things while they were there or if she could have flown home for a visit or flown a grandchild to spend some time in the sun. He would have been happier because he didn't have to endure her anger.
  2. Remember that averting an argument is better that settling one. Talk about what you feel before you  jump into something you have already decided you will hate.
  3. We are not happy all of the time...so in many cases it is a matter of finding a way to be happy even when our life is not perfect. (Does that make sense.) Tom Sightings had some good ideas. 
  4. Could it be that being retired requires too much together time? Even finding a way to go separate ways...maybe playing a little golf...and come back together can rekindle romance and keep a relationship interesting.
  5. Don''t let it fester...anger is very bad for our health. Please find a way to communicate.
I suppose there are some deal breakers that happen when people retire but I know that most couples don't demand that they have their own way all of the time.

Hearing a wife/husband say that they think the other would like to travel/move/learn to fly but the wife/husband is not ready to leave the grandchildren/horses/bridge club reminds me that life is not infinite. Compromise will let everyone have part of the day just the way they want it. If they don't give a little, they miss their chance. Spouses do die you know!

I've been married 57 (almost) years but what do I know? I am only a retired educator living the life day after day after day. It's just a thought.

What do you think?

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2 comments:

  1. I agree that festering is the worst. And that compromise is necessary. But there's also the work-around. My mother wanted to retire to Florida. My dad to Cape Cod. The work-around? Instead of buying one big house, they bought two smaller, more modest places, one in Florida, one in Cape Cod. And spent summers up north and winters down south. Then there's golf. When I first met B, I told her (apologetically) that I couldn't see her on Sundays because I had a regular golf game that I really didn't want to miss. The work-around? "Oh, no problem," she replied. "Please, you go ahead and play golf. I've got plenty of my own things to do on Sundays."

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    Replies
    1. The perfect compromise I thing. "Work around" is a wonderful way to honor another commitments. Especially when each partner can have what they want in some way. And I would think that any couple would enjoy each other more if they each had some separate interests.

      Thank you for stopping by Tom.

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