Retirement is supposed to be a wonderful time. You’ve worked hard, saved well and it is finally time to reap the rewards. For some retirement truly is the golden years whereas others struggle to find their feet. Whilst the challenge does not discriminate between genders, the benefit that we have as women is that we are generally more willing to reach out when we need help. We are very much social beings and so if we are feeling lost, we are likely to confide in another and create a plan of action.
Unfortunately the same cannot always be said of men. Be it a product of their generation or otherwise, many Baby Boomer men still feel that they need to maintain a tough exterior. This includes remaining stoic in difficult times and being seen as a provider and effective problem solver. Asking for help is seen as a weakness and so instead they bottle it up.
What might this look like to the people around these men? Most likely they will see a man who was previously driven, defined by his job, and depended upon by many becoming withdrawn, allowing days to pass aimlessly, and perhaps trailing his wife like a shadow with no real interests of his own.
Given the busyness of his role, John hadn’t given much thought to what life after work might look like when he retired. Shortly after John retired, Jane found that they were spending all of their time together, more often than not pursuing her interests rather than any of his. John followed Jane as they shopped, went to the gym and sat on the exercise bike while Jane did a PT class, and would ring to find why she was late if Jane got caught up talking to someone after art class. John was feeling lost and Jane felt overwhelmed. She had no time to herself and felt that she was losing her sense of independence.
What can you do if your partner is struggling to adapt to live in retirement? You might be supportive and patient initially, but this can wear thin over time. As a result, it is far too easy to become frustrated because you can see an obvious path forward but your partner chooses not to take it. Unfortunately, frustration rarely achieves the outcome that you (or your husband) seek.
Instead, try the tips below and work towards creating a retirement that you will both love to live.
Empathise and listen
Empathy is not sympathising or wallowing in the sadness of another, but rather it refers to the ability to recognise emotions in others and walk in their shoes. Don’t assume that you know exactly what’s going on with your partner and the struggles they may be experiencing in adapting to life in retirement. Listen to what they are saying and how they describe their feelings and experiences. For example, you may think that they only want to spend time at home but they may not actually know where to start in terms of reaching out and connecting with new people and groups.
Ask powerful questions
If you are asking your significant other to do something they are likely to resist, avoid closed questions such as ‘well, do you want to go or not’ (particularly when it is articulated in a sharp, clipped tone!). Instead try a powerful question, one that will encourage them to reflect on their own thought pattern and formulate a (small) step forward, such as ‘what needs to be different for you to say yes to…’ or ‘what is the worst that could happen’ followed by ‘what do we need to ensure that doesn’t happen. By using powerful questions you are not only inviting your partner to address any hesitance they are feeling but by using the pronoun ‘we’ you are showing that they are not alone in their struggle.
Encourage them to get active
Physical activity is not only good for the body but it is critical for one’s sense of well-being also. It boosts mood, alertness and even one’s ability to look on the bright side of life. Couple that with the incidental interaction one gains through exercise and it is particularly effective in creating a sense of positivity in retirement. For example, your partner may bump into neighbours and have a quick conversation whilst walking, chat to the attendant as they pay the swimming pool fee or debate the durability of components in the cycle shop. You never know where these unplanned conversations may lead in terms of engaging with the people and community around them.
And finally, show patience as everyone adjusts to retirement differently. Some will take longer to figure out how they enjoy spending their time and what provides a sense of purpose. Let your significant other know that it is okay to experience a down period, and in fact, this is completely normal part of the transition, but that small steps forward are critical to creating a fulfilling and meaningful retirement.
Megan Giles Retirement Transition Consultant supports those approaching retirement to successfully transition and create a retirement they will love to live! For more tips, advice and practical resources visit www.megangiles.com.
Retirement has been changing over the last decade. Is it really retirement? I’ve been trying to think of what’s happening for a while now. Most would try to use the word “retirement” to explain what’s happening in their lives, but it’s not retirement in the classic sense of the word. Many people aren’t “retiring” or stopping work at age 65. They are doing what I call “Time Shifting”.
Time shifting is where you can stop working any time you want. But maybe you don’t stop working. Maybe you slow down your work. Maybe you get a newer, more fun job.
Maybe you do something else.
Maybe it’s volunteer work. Or maybe it’s a new part time job. But it’s not a job you must do to pay the bills; it’s an enjoyable job that you would do for free… but you get paid! This is the type of time shifting I’m talking about. You shift your time from that job that you went to because you had bills to pay, to doing what you want to do with your time.
This type of time shifting is being done by people of all ages, because we are now location-independent. It’s easier to time shift when you are over a certain age, and have saved enough money (or if you are lucky have a pension or a Social Security check). But, I’ve seen younger people time shift too, because they are willing to move to a location that is less expensive, such as Costa Rica.
Wendy Holt “time shifted” at age 40
Wendy Holt time shifted by moving to Costa Rica at age 40 and now she runs a bed and breakfast and volunteers her time.
“I gave up the unhealthy lifestyle I’d been living and took up fun stuff—like shooting water at kids during Carnival and visiting the frogs at the sanctuary.
Looking to fund trips back home, I decided to revive my once abandoned writing career and I now work remotely for a publication out of Dallas. I earn enough money to live comfortably and I bank around half of my Social Security every month. I like to think of myself as semi-retired. I work…but I still have enough free time to eat decadent desserts and enjoy the parades.”
As you can see, she’s still working, but not because she has to. She has time shifted and is working remotely from her home. She could fully “retire” because she is saving half her Social Security check, but she chooses not to.
More and more internet based sellers are leaving the states and working from home. They didn’t “retire” in the classic sense of the word. They have time shifted. Time shifting is related to retirement because we get to do what we want to do with our time. But you don’t have to be old to do it. John Lee Dumas, who interviews business owners on how they became successful, moved to Puerto Rico. He lived in San Diego before moving overseas, so we’re pretty sure he didn’t do it for the weather! John Lee Dumas appears to be in his 30’s!
John Lee Dumas By EJO25959 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Hank from the Hillbilly Nerd Talk Show talked about how he “retired” from his business, but he doesn’t consider it “retirement”. He’s another person who has time shifted. He no longer has to work for money, but he wants to work. Hank is enjoying his new “time shift” by managing his family’s commercial real estate holdings. He is filling time with something that he enjoys, AND he’s getting paid for it. And it’s not just him. His wife Petra has recently become a hair stylist because that is what she wants to do–and she is loving it.
Hank said that the word “retired” conjures up someone hating their job for years and years, and then they get to stop that and do something they like.
He said that in his case he loved what he did when he was working, but that the word “retire” doesn’t fit what he is doing now. Hank said that we need a new word to explain…”When you do something different, but you aren’t retiring”. He’s right, we DO need a new word.
I propose that this new term is “Time Shift” or “Time Shifting”.
Let us know what you think about this in the comments below!
If you want to hear about time shifting or other retirement lifestyle issues, listen to the Rock Your Retirement show on your smartphone, computer, or other pod-catching device!
He is known for such roles as Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show, and Richie Cunningham on the Happy Days show. After he left Happy Days, he became a director of films such as Cocoon (1985), Apollo 13 (1995), A Beautiful Mind (2001), and The Da Vinci Code (2006).
2. Jon Bon Jovi is a baby boomer born in March. 3/2/1962
Although his big screen breakthrough came when he starred in True Lies (1994), I remember him most for his TV comedy appearances in Roseanne in the 1980s.
4. Bruce Willis is a baby boomer born in March. 3/19/1955
Bruce Willis is a baby boomer born in March by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Born in Germany, Bruce (who’s first name is actually Walter) as the son of an American soldier and a German mother, I remember him most from his role on Moonlighting, but you may remember him from his numerous action films such as Die Hard.
5. Mathew Broderick is a baby boomer born in March. 3/21/1962
We know him for his preppy sportswear that he created for us in the 1980s.
8. Vickie Lawrence is a baby boomer born in March. 3/26/49
Vickie Lawrence was born in March. Photo sourced at http://VickieLawrence.com/publicityphotos
Of course we loved her from the Carol Burnett show.
While a senior in high school, Vickie entered the Miss Fireball contest hosted by the local fire department. A newspaper reporter covering the event noted that she bore a striking resemblance to Carol Burnett. Vickie cut the article out and sent it to Burnett along with a fan letter. Later Burnett called her and told her she wanted to come watch the Miss Fireball contest. Pregnant at the time, the celebrity did indeed sneak in to watch Lawrence and the rest is history.
9. Reba McEntire is a baby boomer born in March. 3/28/55
Reba McEntire is a baby boomer born in March by Keith Hinkle, CC BY 2.0, Link
Reba took control over her country music career in 1984 and has since been known as The Queen of Country. She is one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 85 million records worldwide.
10. MC Hammer is a baby boomer born in March. 3/30/62
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