Are You Ready to Jump into Retirement?

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A post by writer Jena C. Henry:

A sunny day, a school playground- do you remember jumping rope during recess? Two kids twirled the long clothesline rope as we chanted:

Billy and Susie sittin’ in a tree,

K-I-S-S-I-N-G! First comes love,

Then comes marriage,

Then comes Susie pushing the baby carriage.

I acquired my roadmap for life in the third grade. Love, marriage, baby carriage, being a grownup- I followed those milestones for forty years. Then my husband and I retired. We had come to the end of the road as I knew it and there weren’t any more words in the jump rope jingle to help me. I needed a new guide.

Are you wondering about your retirement journey? Are you worried about the end of your career and the changes that aging will bring? I was and here’s what I did. I changed the destination on my life GPS from work to what’s next. I took a cooking class, volunteered and kept up with friends. My days, unstructured and without direction at first, began to satisfy me. Except, I was driving one way and my husband was heading somewhere else. For years, we had been joined by our shared responsibilities, and now that he and I were free we were growing apart. Recalculate!

Here’s how my husband and I got back on track. Some of these ideas may seem obvious to you, but it took us time to find ways that worked for us.

  1. We developed shared interests. Some of our initial attempts to do things together didn’t work. I didn’t like to golf and my husband didn’t like to browse bookstores. But we discovered that we liked traveling to visit our young adult nephews and nieces to get to know them better. We focused on our health and became weight warriors together. We rooted for our local NBA team.
  2. We created a coffee and calendar time. Yes, we plan the activities and events we want to do together, but as we savor our lattes we also update each other on our individual appointments. That way, there are fewer surprises such as, “What, you’re going to be gone all day? I thought we were going to the wholesale club together.” Knowing each other’s plans connects us when we are apart and then we have fun stories to tell each other when we return.

The eager kids on the playground have made it to retirement. Don’t fret about where you are headed as the years rush by. Our rhyme from our recess days got us this far, didn’t it? It’s time to add a verse to the skipping song, set some new destinations on our internal GPS, and jump into retirement.

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Jena writes about Oakley: She’s a retriever mix. We adopted her from the local pound. When we chose her, they told us she had been returned 3 times, and she was scheduled to be put down the next day. She just had bad, very horrible manners. We trained her, and now she is the perfect, loving friend- our best dog ever!

Jena C. Henry holds a juris doctor degree from the University of Akron and practiced law and raised her family in tropical Ohio. Now retired, she writes, presents writing workshops and enjoys good times with friends and family. The Golden Age of Charli RSVP is her first novel in a planned series and spotlights the problems and praises a spunky couple faces in retirement. You can find the book on this Amazon link.

Follow Jena on:

Her website and Blog

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12 responses »

  1. I had not planned to retire for another year, but due to some minor health issues and growth in the company I worked for, my husband and I decided that I should go ahead and retire the end of Dec. Everyone kept asking me what I planned to do and once retired they ask me what I am doing with my time. I do have to say that retirement is way more of an adjustment than I thought. I think we baby boomers think we always have to go, go, go and do, do, do. Thinking back to my parents and aunts and uncles, they didn’t seem to have that pressure. They just did what they wanted without feeling guilty if they just sat in front of the TV or took naps, etc. My parents didn’t have projects planned or worried about exercising enough. They just lived day to day. They were relaxed and content. So I am trying to relax as I get used to an open day with nothing much scheduled. I do realize that keeping physically and mentally active is a good thing. And research shows it lengthens your life to stay socially involved. More than one person has told me it takes a year to adjust to this new life. So right now I am just taking it one day at a time and trying to relax into retirement.

    • Thank you for the thoughtful and uplifting post. I agree- take it one day at a time and do what YOU want to do to stay healthy and positive. I, too, remember my parents and grandparents being happy to grow tomato plants and flowers, watch a baseball game on TV, go to potluck dinners at church. I apologize that it took me a few days to reply- we are visiting friends in Florida who are traveling around the eastern part of the United States by boat! so- they are doing a lot in their retirement! I am content to walk the dog. All the best to you and I hope your health is improving. Thanks again- I really appreciate your post.

  2. Great advice! I can see how disconnection can occur and deliberate scheduling of together time is a great idea. Who is ever fully prepared for the future! Thank you for this insightful post!

  3. joint intérêts, as well as time apart for your individual passions is very important. As is communication. Can’t just float into retirement–it needs to be discussed and met head on. Great post.

    • Thank you! I appreciate your kind comments. You are right- it is good to communicate before retirement and being willing to adjust as life goes on. Sorry I am late replying to you, we are in Florida for a week. We are visiting friends who are traveling for months and months on their recreational trawler. They are in St. Petersburg and then plan to head to Bermuda- that is their retirement! Hope all is well with you!

  4. This is such an important topic, and I really enjoyed and appreciated this post! I just ordered “The Golden Age of Charli” and I’m really looking forward to reading it. By the way, that is one lucky dog, Oakley, and she looks like a very sweet dog, too (bringing much happiness to her newfound family)!

  5. Thank you so much for your kind words and I am honored that you ordered my book. (The second book in the series will be released soon!) I agree this new part of my life is an important topic- I am still amazed that I am now this old!! I will tell Oakley the nice things you said about her! She is a sweetheart and I think she likes retirement- we are home with her and we take her out to lunch! All the best to you and I hope you enjoy my book- I tried to make it humorous and positive!

  6. Jena, Thank you so much for the insightful post. Cliff and I have been navigating the retirement waters for a while now, and there are definitely adjustments to be made (especially on my part since I’ve been a writer working from home for thirty-some years). I’d love for you to write us more posts as time permits. Thanks again!

  7. Pingback: Guest Post: Are You Ready to Jump into Retirement? « The Golden Age of Charli

  8. Hi Jenna. Good post. I’ve now been retired for a while. Yes at first the big question is “what am I going to do today”. Then it gets to the stage of having to plan how to fit everything in. And yes, leave time to relax with a cuppa and a good book.

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