(Photo Details: Wedding on the roof of the Canary Hotel, Santa Barbara, May 2011)
I want to take an opportunity to introduce you to another retirement blogger. Diane has been retired, and blogging about it, for two years now. She has a great post on her blog summarizing the joys and challenges of the first couple of years of her retirement. I can relate to the part about how increased exercise doesn’t just happen automatically in retirement, and also the part about being picky about what kinds of jobs or volunteer work we’re willing to devote our time to after we retire.
After retiring from her 30+ year career in the banking and insurance industry, she didn’t just have to adjust to life after work, but also to life 24/7 with her husband, Mike. For the last three years of her working life, she and Mike commuted 500 miles between their homes to see one another! After retiring, she sold her place in Des Moines and moved to Indianapolis where she now enjoys living WITH her husband and much closer to the rest of her family. Even if you didn’t live 500 miles away from your spouse, adjusting to more time with your partner can be a bit of a challenge in retirement. Here’s what Diane has learned:
It’s your dream. Retiring together. Traveling. Enjoying hobbies. Volunteering. After all those years of working hard and saving money, it’s finally your time to kick back and relax.
And then you realize that you’ve never been together 24x7 during all those working years. And maybe more than once you think, “honey I love you, but you’re making me crazy”.
It’s been two years since I retired, and ever since, I’ve been learning how to live full-time with my sweetie. Here’s what I’ve learned, usually the hard way…
Top 10 List-How to Live Together 24x7 in Retirement
10. Bite your tongue and don’t verbalize those snippy comments that may flit through your head. Take a deep breath, and if something is still bothering you tomorrow, it’s time to talk
9. Don’t work on projects together. Unless you are a saint, this usually results in lots of yelling. When we were selling my house, we found that if we each did separate tasks, we got more done and were much happier.
8. Decide how to divide household chores to avoid resentment. And don’t expect a thank you for every load of laundry or every meal you prepare or every oil change or tire rotation.
7. Do not spend every waking minute together. You don’t want to lose yourself especially at a time when you are already on shaky ground of creating your new retirement identity.
6. Give yourself permission and time to enjoy your own hobbies. If possible create separate hobby, office or man cave space so you can get away to enjoy these activities.
5. Cultivate your own friendships, and don’t object when your partner wants to hang out with friends. Life is more interesting with a wide variety of friends, and we really enjoy sharing experiences and conversations we’ve each had with friends.
4. Keep your own sleep schedule. My sweetie is the energizer bunny and gets by with limited sleep. I can’t keep up with his energy, and he doesn’t do well with my 8 hours of sleep.
3. Agree on your financial plan and how you will spend money. Have some discretionary funds for each of you to spend without asking permission.
2. Talk often and get your feelings out in the open. Even though we may be doing our own thing, we touch base often throughout the day and find out what’s happening with each other.
1. Laugh often. Some of our best times are when we laugh at crazy things that happened in our day. And for some reason we have a lot of those.
Every day I continue learning how to live with my sweetie 24x7. It’s an ongoing challenge to learn what works and to make changes along the way, but I’m definitely having far fewer “you’re making me crazy” kind of days. And the fun and laughter I expected in retirement comes much easier.
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