Adjusting to Retirement

A man who has worked his whole life - even had his own business for 15 years - faces a major challenge when he retires. As does his wife.

As the 'non-working' wife (if you believe a stay-at-home woman is non-working, I know where there's a bridge for sale - LOL), I've been accustomed to lots of time to myself to run the household. Raised 3 children, did lots of sewing, cooking, cleaning, etc. Did it well, too. I was a very busy woman for years.

Whether Mike was working for someone else or for himself, he was gone a lot. At the very least normal work hours during the day; at the most he might be gone 3 or 4 days at a time traveling around the country making sales calls or doing jobs when he had his own business. We enjoyed our time together evenings and/or weekends when he wasn't working.

Now he's home 24/7. Doesn't know what to do with himself but seems to think we are now joined at the hip and should do EVERYTHING together. He tends to micro-manage the household and it's various tasks now, too. Any job I've been doing around the house for the last 42 years, he suddenly has to 'discuss' with me because he thinks there's a better way to do it. Oy!

While we were in Florida, I talked with the wives of several retired couples we know. All of them said, "He's just retired?"


"Oh, poor you. He wants to do everything with you and is trying to tell you how to do everything in the home now - right?"

"Sigh. Yes."

"We know you're going through a rough time right now. We've been there. Stick to your guns and give it a year. He will settle down and develop his own interests."

Yippee! There's hope! Has it been a year yet? LOL No, he just officially retired the end of January so we have a ways to go.

Couple all the above with the fact that we are both now adjusting to an itty-bitty living space and life can have 'interesting' moments.

I'm not trying to sound like a whiner. I DO love him and enjoy doing things with him. But every couple needs some apart time to keep their lives and conversations from getting monotonous.

While we were in Florida in March watching over his elderly parents, his mother surprised me with some of her comments when Mike & my father-in-law would leave for a while. The first time they went out the door together, she told them good-bye and when the door shut, she looked at me and said, "Yay!" They're gone! Hope they don't come back too soon." I had been thinking the same thing but felt a little guilty about it. Not Mom! She and Dad have been married 63 years in June. She saw the look on my face and laughed.

She said, "We've been married 63 years and I don't know what I would do without him. But I don't need him around all the time. We get along much better when we're apart for a while. I loved it that he was not around everyday (traveled a lot for work) and that he played golf every day for years when he retired. Kept me sane and let me do the things I wanted."

She has Alzheimers but you can still carry on conversations with her and get these little pearls of wisdom. I do NOT feel guilty any more and am learning to say 'No' occasionally when Mike wants to go somewhere. I send him on his way without me. I enjoy having some alone, *me* time here in our rolling condo.

I have hobbies....sewing, knitting, crocheting, spinning (have a spinning wheel and some wool waiting for me to get to them) and playing the piano - although I don't have anything to play at the moment. Had to sell my digital piano a couple of months ago cause it wouldn't fit in a 5th wheel so am looking around for a good portable keyboard I can store behind the couch.

Mike's hobby has been woodworking but there's no way we could carry all those big, heavy tools. So we're trying to find a good, used mini-lathe for him. That way he'll have something to keep him busy - and maybe even generate a little income with it.

Are we unique with this problem? Nope. I've read lots of articles, besides talking to people, and this adjustment period seems to be the norm. Sadly, some couples never adjust but I don't think we'll have that problem.

But let's hope we find that lathe sooner rather than later. LOL

Gloria - The Internet GADabout


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