Retirement means constantly making adjustments

June 2, 2013

Dragons and Shorebirds and pearls - Here I come!

I looked at the pictures of a happy couple’s recent vacation to Scotland and was envious of their picturesque journey. Another friend, Colleen from Rehoboth, is contemplating some type of pilgrimage as well. She isn’t sure where she wants to go but would like to study an ecosystem. She suggested I ask readers: Where would you go if you could afford to travel anywhere on the planet? More importantly, who would you take with you? Who would you hope to meet along the way?

My husband Rayquest would choose the Galapagos Islands “because Darwin went there and developed his theory of evolution. The komodo dragons are unique to this island.” No comment. He would like his two adult children and their spouses to go with him. I am invited provided I don’t complain about the lack of comforts. Moi? Complain? Also no one can say ‘Are we there yet?’ until we are there.

About my mythical notion that once I retired I would not have as much to worry about, one reader who wished to be anonymous pointed out that as many retirees do, we worry about our own health issues or our parents’ failing health and fear the uncertainty of our own demise. We may be wondering, ‘Will I be the one who forgets where my cart is in the grocery store? Why did I come in here?’

My friend Carolyn drew an analogy between adjusting to retirement and facing her first day of school. She didn’t want to leave the house until her mother told her, “You will love it because you will learn to read.” So she waited and waited for the day to finally come and off she went in her new dress clutching her lunchbox, ready for Dick and Jane! When she came home with a sad face, her mother asked her what was wrong.

“It was boring! I didn’t learn to read at all.”

“You have to give it some time,” her mother said.

My friend Cathy says her partner Margie, a recent retiree, is having trouble adjusting to a new life. Cathy wants her to donate her business clothes to create more needed closet space. Her partner wants to keep the clothes and the shoes right now. Letting go of the clothes is letting go of her old identity. For a long while, I got showered and dressed in my work clothes even to go get gas in my tank. I was afraid of becoming that woman whose hair looks greasy and who stays in the same shirt for two weeks. Truthfully, I pride myself on overdressing whenever possible. I accessorize too, wearing jewelry that matches my cute little outfits. Don’t need to pack my ankle bracelets for the Galapagos Islands. Some dragon might want them. My idol was Donna Reed, who wore pearls to pack lunches. You can never go wrong with pearls or wearing black and white, right, Irene?

My new friend Sue got me to thinking that some people should never retire. Why change their lifestyle if they love the work they are doing? Of course you could also argue, how they will ever experience something new and wonderful if they don’t try something different? Maybe the old way really is wonderful.

My something new was attending my first Shorebirds game last week. I upgraded my bleacher seat to an armed chair behind the home team dugout where I could actually enjoy the game.

Ah, sweet fortune - this retired teacher did not have to sit with her class and the 90,000 other school children on their field trip. Wondrous news! They have a chicken dance and encourage audience participation! Of course, I wore orange, sang along and flapped my chicken wings.

OK, friends, what’s on your retirement agenda for today?

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