Issue of the Week
We’ve Made It This Far. What Next?
In 2006, the oldest of 78.2 million Baby Boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964, turned 60. That, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, works out to 7,918 turning 60 every day, or 330 every hour!
But if you think you know where I’m going with this, stick around.
What I Think:
First some background: Sue and I passed that “turning 60” milestone a couple of years back, but didn’t think much of it at the time. That was then, this is now.
As you know, I’m a writer freelancing my way through the 25 years since my Managing Editor gig in Indianapolis was downsized out the door. But as Sue pointed out at the time: “Freelancers can do what they do anywhere. Why not do it in Florida?”
That’s all it took. Within weeks, Sue, our son, Bill Jr. (12 at the time) and I had moved to Tampa, and never looked back.
Sue soon found her calling in Workers’ Compensation claims, advancing from entry-level Office Adjuster in 1985 to Claims Team Supervisor. When she took early retirement in October, the tributes from her company and co-workers were clear expressions of how highly regarded Sue was–make that is!
But saying that Sue’s work ethic, intelligence, gentility and buckets of determination are what have allowed us to build a happy life on beautiful Tampa Bay is a rather large understatement.
Sue kept us going—literally–through my two kidney transplants, 1992 and 2007…with months of pre-op dialysis and extended post-op recoveries, plus a couple of bouts with cancer. You might say that for a good chunk of our time down here I’ve been a freelance writer-cum-professional patient!
To their credit, Sue and Bill–who both offered up their kidneys when my original equipment and first transplant went south—never lost the faith! Or as young Bill (now Captain Willard, USMC) would say: Semper Fi, Dad!
Together Again for the First Time?
That term refers to the phenomenon that prompted me to write this, and which (to tie it up into a neat package) many couples may soon be experiencing as you, too, reach retirement age, especially if you’ve been running a business from home.
When both spouses retire, every day is a weekend! That means everything you’ve both been accustomed to doing on your own all those years will now be done together. Every married couple is unique, and there are no easy answers. But if one of you has been running a home business, and intends to continue doing that after the your better half retires, brace yourselves for some major league adjustments.
For one thing, starting when you’re fixing coffee or feeding the animals in the morning, expect to be running into each other every time you turn around. And that will be just the first of many awkward moments throughout the day.
I’ll be writing a lot more about this in coming months, but here’s my first take on preventing some serious discord from spoiling what should be among the happiest times of your married life. I call each of these “Phases”:
- Phase 1: Awakening – – This is a big, big change; the sooner you both understand where you are and what you need to do the better.
- Phase 2: Accommodating – Plan ahead. Agree to who does what when! Long term, short term. This is a day-to-day necessity, but it gets easier.
- Phase 3: Reconciliation– Communication is essential in coming to terms with the future. A word to the wise: Do not let petty grievances fester.
- Phase 4: Reconfirmation – Do what works for you both, spiritually and in the here-and-now. If a public renewal of your vows seems to be in order, go for it!
- Phase 5: The Long Good Bye – None of us is getting out of this deal alive. Sue and I intend living out our remaining years with purpose and passion, daily exercise, a sense of adventure and mutual respect–and no regrets.
If We Can Do This, So Can You!
No one claimed it would be easy, but as I said, every married couple is different. Financial issues aside, everyone approaching retirement should prepare for the kinds of things I’ve been ranting about. They took a couple of old hands like Sue and me by surprise, but we’re working our way through these issues one day at a time—just as we’ve done with everything since pledging our love and commitment, 14 June 1969.
What Do You Think? Was this a News Flash, or had you already snapped to the potential problems facing retirees who suddenly find themselves together again for the first time after many, many years? We want to hear from you. Have you registered?
Bill Willard is a freelance writer in Clearwater FL. He has been a high-impact writer and editor for over 30 years. In addition to his byline pieces, Bill’s beat includes ghostwriting and editing for businesses of all types and sizes, professional practitioners and individuals.
Bill is a www.thefreestyleentrepreneur.com Contributing Author and creates the popular email missives, Daily Grin and Take Back America. To sign up for one or both–or simply to contact him–email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit his Website: www.writergazette.com/WillardAssociates.shtml
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