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Things to Consider When You Retire. Do What You Love! Begin Your Life of Riley!

Updated on September 5, 2012

Suggestions of what to do when you retire

Suggestions of what to do and not to do when you retire . . .

I'm sure everyone who has retired can relate to this topic and add to it. All throughout our busy careers we heard or personally made comments such as, "I can't wait to retire! All I am going to do is fish!" or "When I retire I am going to travel the world!" or "When I retire you can find me on the golf course every day!" And, the wonderful plans go on and on. However, what really happens does not always match our dreams and declarations BEFORE we retire. In other words, life happens!

These happenings could be from being at that "between a rock and a hard place" age. Yes, we are old enough to retire; however, we now have grandchildren whom we are helping with or our parents are elderly and now needing us to be caretakers. What happened to our entitlement of a happy retirement? Well, look back into your life -- things are no different now than when we were first married and raising our first child. Money was tight, we could not or would not leave our child(ren) to take a much needed vacation. Our parents helped out with babysitting. Our grandparents were elderly and our parents were caretakers, too. Yes, our "middle of the road" situation of burning the candle at both ends is not new -- it's just new for us! And, with longevity increasing, we must take the steps we need to take to insure we can enjoy our retirement years!

So, to avoid resentment and burnout, you must do what your parents didn't do . . .you must make arrangements to go on with some of your dreams! Life is a journey, not a destination, so please do not postpone doing the things you've already dreamed of doing. Tomorrow may never come!

In order to achieve these deserved dreams, line up caretakers for your parents. Make sure your children know far enough in advance that you are going to be gone for however many days you will be gone. They will have to arrange for someone else to take your place with your grandchildren. Then, plan your getaway!

And, if you can afford it, take your grandchildren on trips with you! If you have more than two I recommend splitting them up and only taking two or three granddaughters, then two or three grandsons at a time. Just remember all of those lessons you learned about two's company and three's a crowd. Children just seem to get along so much better if there are only two in the backseat together, in a room together or whatever the situation may be. This will also depend on their ages, too. My plans are to take my three granddaughters on a trip together, which means four of us, since I am single-again. Then I will take my three grandsons on a trip together. They each will get to vote on the destination, but I get veto rights. (Big smile here.)

Another thing, it is so imperative that you do something fun every day, even if it is only writing on YOUR great American novel or reading someone else's great American novel! You must set aside at least a portion of every day for some alone time. If you and your spouse are both retired and he/she is getting on your nerves (smothering you with too much togetherness), you must discuss this before it becomes overwhelming and you say something that will hurt you both. I do not know the stats; however, there are way too many long-term marriages ending because of this smothering. The bickering starts, the husband thinks he can improve on the organization of the kitchen, the wife thinks she can organize his tools, the garage, etc. They become each other's worst nightmare -- an overseer of their day to day lives. I'm sure each of you have witnessed some of this smothering going on among your friends. The husband comes up behind the wife who just sat down to watch her favorite TV program and take a well-deserved break. He sits down, reaches for the remote and starts surfing the channels. No, that is not going to happen! Or, the wife walks into the offiice, hubby is on his computer playing a game. She says, "What are you doing?" He tells her and she immediately starts nagging him about the "honey do" list or how about what a waste of time that is. It doesn't matter the comment that he or she makes, it is an invasion of our personal time, so we resent it. You must discuss these petty things before they grow into insurmountable problems.

We came into this world as individuals and we will go out of this world the same way. I highly recommend, whether you are the "smotherer" or the "smotheree", put an end to this now! Do not try to fool yourself into believing that this togetherness is what you both want -- it isn't!

Suggest that your spouse join a group of like minded individuals for an activity separate from you, such as a card game group(Bridge, Pinochle, Hearts, Canasta, Poker, etc.), golf group, tennis group, quilting group, writer's group, fishing group, hunting group, exercise group or hundreds of other hobbies. And, you should select a group for your favorite activity as well. And, if the two of you have a joint hobby, such as golf or Bridge, then be sure that is also an activity you include in your week. You do not want to neglect or make your spouse feel you do not want to spend time with him/her; however, you do want to enjoy the freedom of doing things you enjoy that he or she doesn't.

There is one caveat I will mention here though . . .I would only join the same sex groups. For the men, join a men's poker group, a men's golf group, etc. And, the women must do the same thing, join only women's groups! No matter how strong your marriage is, you do not want to throw caution to the wind and add temptation to the mix. Trust me, throughout my career I saw way too much of this going on and too many marriages destroyed because of unfaithful spouses. Not everyone believes in keeping their wedding vows, so why tempt fate and allow your spouse to be pursued by one of these wolves or cougars? Dr. Robert H. Schuller’s positive messages, in a recent audio book I listened to, explained how he and his wife have enjoyed such a long and happy marriage. He said they agreed when they got married to never be alone with a person of the opposite sex and they have both continued to keep that agreement even after more than fifty years. Quite an accomplishment for someone as extraordinary as he is. Here's a link to his web site if you'd like to read some of his inspirational work:

This is the first installation on what to do when you retire. Please add your comments and offer suggestions. I would love to hear how you are planning your retirement or what you are already doing if you are retired. Thanks!

Fulfill your dreams

Stay busy with fun things

If you need something to increase your word power and if you love Scrabble, you will enjoy Words With Friends with your friends on Facebook. I play almost nightly and love it. I must warn you though it is addictive and can steal hours away from you before you know it. (I speak from experience!)

Another activity I highly recommend is reestablishing your high school friendships. Three of my best friends in high school and I play Hand and Foot (a card game similar to Canasta) periodically, which is fun and it gives us time to catch up on each others lives. I play bridge almost every Friday with a group of women from a club I belong to, which is also a lot of fun and it challenges the brain as well.

In addition, do try to expand your friendships by joining social clubs, attending concerts and festivals, with a friend or neighbor -- just anything to get yourself out of the house and living your life.

Never make the excuse of "I do not know how" or "I'm too old" for not participating in an event. You are never too old to learn a new hobby, game or activity! Do you want to avoid getting dementia and/or Alzheimer's? You must keep your brain active and keep challenging it by learning new things!


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