Sunday, October 16, 2011
It has certainly been a year of transition in our household. The latest twist, one that came out of left field, is that hubby has retired. A better explanation would be that he has sold his shares of the company at a time when he is still healthy enough to enjoy other activities. In an unplanned, two week period, my husband has gone from being a full-time entrepreneur, to a man of leisure.
With our adult children long gone from the nest we have often been in deep discussions about how ‘retirement’ would look for us when we got there. I had hoped that 2012 would be the year so was a little startled a few weeks ago when hubby announced the moment to leave the company had arrived. With the economy being what it is these days we knew that such an opportunity might not come again for many years, so we jumped at the chance, knowing we would work out the details as we went.
My husband has always loved what he does and he always approached work with a very positive, can-do attitude. Tenacity is his middle name. But many months of battling overseas, combined with a genuine longing to slow down and ‘smell the roses’ as they say, had worn him down and made this past year very stressful for him. You get to a point in life where you simply don’t want to live like that anymore.
These days, the word retirement brings to mind something completely different from how it was for the previous generation. It is no longer about getting a gold watch after 30 or 40 years of being loyal to one company. Retirement today brings many choices to the table and ends up being a time of great transition which might include everything from travel, going back to school, learning a new language, doing part-time work, consulting, mentoring, volunteering, exploring artistic mediums, to sports, or possibly all of the above. . With good health, longevity and the all-important good financial planning, a retiree today can hopefully enjoy these things for some 20 or even 30 years.
All those things require a sort of re-aligning of priorities and a financial plan to back it all up. Do we downsize or stay put? Should we entertain the idea of having a second home, either, a country house, a beach condo or a shack in the woods? Is this when we buy ourselves a motorcycle and take off across the continent? Or will we offer our time to work in Africa with AIDS orphans for a year?
The biggest and most immediate change, or so people tell me, will be to our daily routines. Hubby will apparently now want to ‘do’ stuff with me all the time and will, therefore, cut into my time. Luckily, we have always traveled well together and we have equally always been very respectful of one another’s space which speaks volumes now that we really need those qualities. No doubt he will continue to cycle and train for his marathons, leaving me to pick the films we will see or the art galleries and museums that are of interest. We balance each other well and that may make this whole retirement business very enjoyable.
One thing is for sure. Retirement is no longer a destination, it’s become a state of mind, and that means a constant measuring with adjustments as you go.