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.
- 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.
- 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.
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: