Too much togetherness? Join a book club with me

January 6, 2013

Thank you, Debby, for emailing your thoughts on retirement to me. “I worked at a large stock brokerage firm for over 37 years with a lot of people who had big paychecks and big egos, so when I retired, I knew I wanted to help those who were less fortunate. When we moved to Rehoboth, I read an article in the Cape Gazette about an organization called Sussex County Newcomers. I learned about places to volunteer, but also about a newcomer book club. We have been through the death of children, a husband, the loss of a book club member and many serious illnesses together, but seven years later our book club is still together. It is one of the best things that happened to me, and I have read and enjoyed books I never would have chosen on my own.”  

Is there still a Sussex County newcomers group, I asked? Alas, Debby says it disbanded several years ago, but plenty of book clubs abound!

Writer Geneva would like some quiet reading time - alone. “Who knew that retirement would involve so darn much together time? When my beloved husband. who won’t admit to being bored, looks over my shoulder and breathes down my neck, I feel like strangling him. Instead I scream silently, run off to needless errands or take long walks, anything for alone time. I had no idea about the stuck-like-glue togetherness retirement would entail.”

My dearest new friend Geneva, it is 33 degrees with gale-force winds as I pen this letter to you from a bench on the boardwalk. I bought 21 birthday cards, but I can’t go home right now because I might accidentally hurl my Kindle into the big-screen TV. I know he needs to get away from me too, because last week he signed up to play golf in 40-degree weather, and when he came home, his chin was molded to his neck and the little hairs on his scalp stood frozen at attention. His blue lips lied and said he had a really great time. There must be golf packages in Florida in February, and I am willing to make a financial sacrifice if he is. I am working on a proposal now where we each take turns being alone in the house for a minimum of four-hour blocks. I will let you know if this helps. Your letter meant so much to me because I thought I was the only one who wanted to be unglued.”

Kari wrote to say that she enjoys reading my column even though she is still working. Kari works with many retirees who need some support with eating balanced meals and getting more exercise. She has completed her studies to become a licensed nutritionist and invites you to attend two free lectures on “Eating Healthy in the New Year.” One is held Saturday, Jan. 5, at 3 p.m. at the Good Earth Market and Organic Farm in Clarksville, and another will take place Saturday, Jan. 12, at 2 p.m. at The Yoga Studio on 24 near Rehoboth. Kari also recommends more cardio exercise for seniors. Does running away qualify?

I don my hat, gloves and scarf and ask my husband if he wants to take a lovely, winter walk with me. He smiles and says yes, and I put my hand in his and remind myself that some of my friends’ husbands are too ill at this time to walk with them, and I need to count my blessings. While the challenges of retirement are many, the rewards outweigh all other scenarios.

Have a happy, healthy new year, everyone - and give yourself a gift this year by taking care of yourselves. Please email me at so I can share in your joy, adjustments, embarrassments or sorrows as well. What will be new in your new year?

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