By Bob Lowry – Satisfying Retirement
I guess there are plenty of ways of shaking up a marriage, some illegal, some unethical, some immoral, and some just plain stupid. That’s not where I am going with this post. After 37 years of marriage, Betty and I remain firmly committed to each other. Neither of us has even a shred of doubt about our marriage promises, a single second of lack of trust, or any fear of a shock so great to make divorce even remotely possible.
The shake up we have agreed to is in how we spend some of our time together. Being human, we all tend to fall into habits and patterns of behavior. After all these years, a married couple that doesn’t get stuck in a bit of a rut is probably a little unusual.
If you remember my posts about taking a Gap Year and the concept of a Best Before Date approach, I was wondering if a real departure from our lifestyle was in order. After lots of discussion and looking at the reality of what we could do and wanted to do, Betty and I decided on a few moderate steps to inject some freshness into our routine and see where it leads us:
1) Once a week will be date day. This is something we used to do but have let it slide for the past few years. Now, every Sunday afternoon we pick a day and an event to go to together in the coming week. It could be a movie, a visit to an art gallery, a picnic in a park we haven’t been to before, or simply sharing an ice cream while we people-watch at a large, outdoor shopping area near our home.
2) Once a month we will do something that is a little different or out of our comfort zone. A good example is a glass blowing class we are taking together next month. It may mean attending a concert with music we normally don’t listen to or seeing an edgy art film. Maybe a horseback ride is in order, or going on an RV trip to a place in the middle of nowhere with no electricity or water service, just to see how long we can rough it with just what we can carry. Whatever it is, we will try to spread our wings a bit.
3) We will extend this summer’s RV trip by two weeks, so we are gone from the heat for a full 75 days. That will be new experience for us; our longest trip to this point has been a little less than one month.
4) In 2015 we will schedule RV trips and time home in a pattern of 2-3 months on the road, 2 months home to recharge and spend serious time with family, then 2-3 months back on the road. If our budget permits and everyone stays healthy (primarily my nearly 90 year old dad) that will mean around half the year exploring the country. We are thinking of trips to the mid Atlantic and Smoky Mountains regions, New Orleans and Florida (all the way to Key West), and the Pacific Northwest as destinations. To complete the year smaller trips to places like the Palm Springs Film Festival, and plenty of time in the White Mountains of Arizona will be added.
5) We are beginning the process of getting our house ready to sell sometime in the next 3-5 years. We will take one room, or one space, like the pantry or laundry room, and put it in ready-to-sell condition. We will block out a minimum of one project per month, two if the spaces are small. Then, when we are ready to make that move, the house won’t require such as massive effort to put it on the market.
Maybe I shouldn’t classify this as shaking up our marriage. Maybe it is more like gently stirred. But, whatever the label, Betty and I are excited by the new look to our calendars and what 2014 will bring.