We all have experienced “Life Changer” Transitions in our lives :-
- Getting our first full-time job
- Getting married
- Having children
- Moving to a new place
But the BIG one is Retirement.
This is it……….. no other transition in life carries the weight of retirement. All the others can be adjusted if needs be i.e. there’s time. Not so with Retirement. It is not easy to “rewind” and fix your mistakes. It’s a “cause to pause” … and deep-think. A time to get it right. The more we discuss and explore and seek opinions etc, the more we should be able to handle this Transition satisfactorily.
Volume 3 – Being around the House
For starters, the old “Hi honey, I’m home” just doesn’t have the same ring to it, when you’ve already been home all day. Retirement can do that to you, they say.
Of course, if you are on your own anyway, then the issue of talking to someone else in the house may be less of an issue,
As Drew Barrymore says, “There’s a tremendous difference between alone and lonely. You could be lonely in a group of people. I like being alone. I like eating by myself. I go home at night and just watch a movie or hang out with my dog. I have to exert myself and really say, oh God, I’ve got to see my friends ’cause I’m too content being by myself.”
One of the main catalysts for divorce is being on top of each other, in each other’s space every day. Nerves get jangled, arguments start, usually silly little things, and tempers get frayed. It’s not uncommon.
When thinking through the various elements of retirement, the Friction Factor of being constantly together must be considered.
It is a significant Transition to go from say 5 “awake-hours” per day in the house, to say 15 “awake-hours” per day. Many people just can’t cope with the bumping into each other. Of course, if you live in the 20-room mansion, it may not be such a drama.
The advent of e-mail has helped enormously in this dilemma. Trying to find quality time to have a serious discussion, even though both of you are at home all day, can be surprisingly difficult. Therefore, sending him an e-mail to lay out your points of view can be constructive, useful and less adversarial than actual conversation. Sad, but true.
The single person, in this context, has it made. He or she doesn’t have to think about what to say, when to say it, or worry about the blowback. I fully appreciate that being alone through choice, divorce, death etc, brings its own challenges, so I have no wish to demean the “loneliness” factor at all. But the Transition from employed life to retired life for the single person, in this context, may not be such a challenge for many people.
Having reasons to be out of the house for at least part of the day may be more than useful. Part-time work, charity work, gardening, and so forth, may provide not only pleasure in the doing thereof, but might also be extremely valuable in maintaining good relations in the marital home. Three week trips, on your own, to the Sahara may not be the ideal choice of course !!
Changing from a life “outside the home” to one inside can be a problem. On the other hand, with some forethought, some planning, some joint discussion and some common understanding and appreciation, being around the house more, can be a relatively easy part of your new life.
“The past cannot be changed.
The future is yet in your power.
Hugh White, Author
Next week – Transition Issue 4 – Face the Facts