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Monday, October 4, 2010

Retirement - Yikes!

Oh to retire!  A very scary thought.  My husband is going to retire this a week in fact.  So how is this scary?  I am not sure if it is scary for him but for me, it means the possibility of a variety of changes.  Some of these are exciting but some are down right frightening.

My husband and I have raised 5 kids and have 24 grand kids.  Our youngest has been out of the house for several years now.  Life changed when she left home.  We became "Empty Nesters".  That was a very difficult time for me.  I had been the "mother" for close to 30 years.  For the most part, I was an "at home" mom.  I actually did have a job just prior to her leaving and that helped keep my days somewhat busy but the evenings, wow,  how quiet our home became without her constant chatter. 

Things filled up those empty spaces that the children had previously occupied.  One main thing, my husband moved his parents to our home so that we could take care of them.  They both had Parkinson's Disease.  His dad had the paralyzing kind and was unable to even turn over in bed.  I quit my job and took care of them full time.  They both passed away within a little over 2 years (those were wonderful years - taking care of parents was quite rewarding for us). 

Just when I felt that our time would be lonely again, our oldest grandchildren came to live with us for a few months.  That did help with the transition from "total parent care" to "back to motherhood".  After the grandchildren left, we became empty nesters again.  I filled my days with doing lots of genealogy and spending time with the grand kids.  Last year my daughter and I began the vinyl business and that filled the little empty spaces of time.  I also love dogs and we have had a few dogs as my "babies" to mother.

I actually have lots of hobbies and "things" with which to entertain myself.  My days fly by.  I have very little time to feel bored or lonely.  My husband, on the other hand, has no hobbies.  This is the biggest reason that I am dreading retirement.  I have my routine.  It allows me the freedom to do my day as I please.  I entertain myself in genealogy, house cleaning, traveling to see family, computer, and vinyl work.  If I feel like taking a hike to the beach (on our property), I do.  If I want to read a book or even watch TV... I do!  I don't have to make arrangements with anyone.  I don't have to schedule my day with anyone....I just do what I want to do.

Weekends are different.  When my husband is home, it seems that the days revolve around what he wants to do (to be fair, he doesn't ask me to do this, I just feel the need to be available to do what he wants if he has plans).  Over the years I have adjusted to this fact.  I don't mind what we do on the weekends but I look forward to Monday so I can have my week back to myself.  Now with retirement, I have this feeling that it will all change.  As I said, my husband has no hobbies.  What will he do to occupy HIS time?  I think he will expect his days to be like the weekends.  If so, where is MY time?  I know he has been looking forward to this day.  He thinks he will have so much to do that he will always be busy.  I hope so but there are days on the weekends that we don't have plans.  Those days are torturous as he mopes around and gets frustrated because he's so bored.  I have this fear that we are going to have way too many of those boring days.  I don't know about most households but in ours, if Daddy is unhappy, the whole household feels it.  Even if I retire to the office (to MY space), I can feel the stress building within the walls and soon, my day is spent trying to find ways to make his day better.

I do look forward to some time to travel.  The problem I see with this is that in the past, he has never been the greatest traveler.  He likes his home.  He thinks that will change now that he won't have to rush back to a job.  I hope so.  He is pretty tight when it comes to money though.  I wonder how many nights we will sleep in the car because he wants to keep going to our final destination and he won't want to stop and waste money on a motel - hmmmm!  Speaking of that, I would love to stop at some interesting sites along the way and in the past, he has just wanted to go "not stop until we've reached where we planned to go".  I wonder if we will be able to compromise?

People seem to look forward to retirement.  Mostly for the fun, relaxation, travel, visiting, and togetherness that they can experience.  It has been so many years of him going off to work and me having the days to myself, that this time is quite frightening to me but maybe I should look at it differently....look at it as an adventure.  I know the future will be different...and a huge adjustment.  I know with a lot of patience, we both will make it.  As I write this, I am actually starting to get excited.  Maybe it's time for change...maybe it's time for me to expand and get on with this new life...maybe retirement is going to be fun....maybe!

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