Saturday, 19 November 2011

Retirement is Looming

My husband has been retired for ten years. In that time he has supported me working from home and I am really grateful. He has, in fact, made life so much easier for me. When he first retired he was very unhappy. He had so looked forward to retirement because his work situation was becoming more pressurised and onerous. The reality, however, was very different. Now he was no longer the main wage earner he felt less of a man. It was as if he'd lost value? He almost drove me spare, nothing suited him, and he resented the impact on him of my working from home. If I was working he had to be quiet, he couldn't go to the loo, he couldn't park on the drive! There were numerous impositions. Then several months into his retirement he had his second heart attack. That gave him a reality check and you could say he's never looked back.

One of the drawbacks of his retirement for us was that because I worked at home we lost the me time that had been automatically in place. He'd worked shifts for years and I was used to having a certain amount of time and space to do what I wanted. It may not have been anything world shattering, perhaps reading or watching television, but I had choice. Then when he retired unless I was with a client we were with each other. Though we loved and liked each other we decided that we needed a plan. If not we thought we would become joined at the hip, or we'd become the comic bickering elderly couple and neither of us wanted that. We felt it was important to maintain our individuality and interests and we've done that quite successfully to date. 

Now we face another challenge with my impending retirement. Now I am the one wondering what value I will have when I'm no longer a wage earner. I have concerns because my retired girlfriends have better pensions than me and as a consequence more disposable income. Will I be left out because I cannot afford the numerous theatre trips we've enjoyed to date? I am not a particularly materialistic person but I am used to having the freedom to purchase within reason anything I may want. I'm talking books, music, clothes etc. now it feels I'll be going back to where we first started where I had to question every purchase even a packet of sweeties. 

I am aware that I could be panicking myself and indeed most of the people I know who are retired extol it's virtues. I'm not sure. I want to think it'll be great but to be honest I'm ambivalent. I think I'm at the place where I realise that retiring from counselling is the appropriate thing to do. It no longer excites me in the way it did. My fear is that I'll vegetate and gradually slide into a grey old age. I need an interest and perhaps for the moment blogging is that interest. In the main I enjoy it, but I guess I'm surprised that anyone wants to read my ramblings. I am, however, very pleased they do.


  1. My income quartered when I retired - and I'm by myself - but for 37 years i had managed on a "shoestring" and I've saved, not a fantastic amount but enough that I don't as yet have to rely on the state for help, this was because for 8 years before I retired I lived by myself - and I noticed the difference - no one spending my salary for me!
    To get back to the subject, I have more time for my sons and grandchildren and to relax and read. I still buy books - charity shops and "used" books on Amazon fill my bookshelves, because of health problems I don't go out that much - but don't forget you get a discount at some venues as a pensioner. I take advantage of all these and use my bus pass - lots! In fact I wrote a blog on it. Oh yes - I blog & write stories too and my interests have expanded because of Twitter.
    You'll find time to do all the things you didn't do before - money may be a bit tighter - but it's easy to budget.
    Hope this helps! x

  2. Blogging sounds good! Everything else will fall into place. Enjoy retirement.

  3. I've just said to Jim. I've decided I'm going to enjoy retirement. Thanks Pat x

  4. Thank you so much for reading the post and taking time out to comment. It is much appreciated. I think I've decided to grasp it with both hands :)

  5. I cannot see you as grey or boring.  Ever.  You will find ways to make it work and I look forward to reading about them!  

  6. Thanks Lizzie your comment made me smile and gives me confidence in what the future holds for me x