Sunday, August 19, 2012

Strange Retirement Question

So Sylvia....You retired?  I'm so happy for you.  What are you going to do, TRAVEL?

The first time someone asked me, I gave a rather long answer about how we had always traveled and would probably continue to do it.  However, mainly we hope to insert ourselves in the middle of our busy children and grandchildren and figure out how to help them more.  It's time for a little "pay forward" since both of us benefitted from the love and support of our families.  

And then I kept getting the same question over and over and the answers got shorter and the thoughts got longer about this question.  It almost seems like people see their lives as bookends - the BEGINNING - romance, adventure, and that first pregnancy...the MIDDLE tough years - raising the results of 1 or more pregnancies and solving all the myriad of fiscal and personal family problems and then finally the "golden years"  I think this is supposed to be the travel and relax and reward yourself time for getting through the other two times.  But our lives have never been so separate.  Maybe it was because we traveled like gypsies for the first 5 years of our marriage - my husband pursuing his dreams of being a flamenco and classical guitarist and my just plain pursuing him.  There was so much traveling - but we traveled in a way that probably you can only do when you are young, poor and with no real future plans.  We really lived in the moment.

Then came the kids - baby1, baby 2, baby 3 all within 3 1/2 years.  I don't even really remember those years.  However, I was thrilled because initially we didn't think we could have children.  Boy were we wrong!   Then we both started thinking about jobs and college and two more kids arrived and life really began to go into warp speed.  However, we decided early on to take time for ourselves too.  We found crazy ways to combine business with pleasure, sneak off for weekends we may not have always saved enough for and just genuinely carve out time to remember that we were first and foremost a couple - and that we needed to nurture that part too.  We didn't always make the smartest financial decisions, but we were never in serious debt.  And of course, we had lots of support from our parents to make those "get aways" possible.

So now we are retired, and yes we will travel.  We continue to look for opportunities to share experiences.  Sometimes I travel for the book series I am involved with, and MiVida comes too.  Sometimes he needs to go somewhere, and I try to join him -  except when he goes fishing...ugh!   We are going back to Hawaii and hope to go to the Galapagos, and we are planning a wonderful trip to Italy, but that isn't why we retired.  

We retired because we have five amazing grandsons who rock our world.   And we want to share their lives and bring a little relief to their equally amazing parents.  We want to go to as many sports events as possible; we want to be there when they come home from school; we want them to call us with problems, and we try very hard to be their "sugar nana and abo."   We love when they come over and
spend a few weeks like this past summer.  Yes, the house resembles the picture above, but most of the time it is way too neat.  We love the chaos, the commotion and everything that represents our infamous grandsons commonly known as the COUSINS.  

And at the end of a busy time, when the house is all settled and quiet again, I love just having time with the person who got me in this so long ago and...
I hope we have many many nights like this.

So - why did we retire?   For all of the above reasons with a little travel too of course!

RETIREMENT Rule #2:  NEVER ASK THAT QUESTION TO SOMEONE WHO HAS JUST RETIRED.  Instead trust that they probably know exactly why they are retiring, and if not, they wil figure it out soon enough!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Bathing Suit Story - and yes it's a retirement story

I don't love to shop for bathing suits.  I just try to find one that covers what needs to be covered, is comfortable when I swim and paddle board, and doesn't embarrass my family or me too much.  So today I made a quick run to the department store in the afternoon to try to replace my very old swimsuit that was starting to get a little threadbare.  I felt very lucky to be able to shop in the middle of the day when the stores weren't so crowded.

Of all things, there was a woman with her "retired husband" shopping near me.  He was the most annoying shopper.  Instead of waiting patiently in a chair while his poor wife tried to find something, he was actively involved in the selection.  They were both more advanced in age than me, and I could tell that the wife didn't like shopping for bathing suits any better than I did.  So there was her annoying husband pointing out suits (very ugly ones at that) and then when she showed him one, he would remark in a very loud voice - "Is it big enough?"

To make matters worse, he started talking to other women shoppers nearby.  I hid behind a rack of bathing suits so I didn't have to deal with him. He told them how he was helping his wife find a bathing suit, and he wanted to be sure she got one that was big enough!  Another woman began laughing and almost flirting with him, and his poor wife just kept plodding through the racks.

Later I found a bathing suit that met my criteria and was hurrying to pay for mine and get out of there.  Sure enough, there he was at the checkout presumably to oversee her payment skills and telling anyone who would listen how he helped her.   MiVida has never wanted to go bathing suit shopping with me, and I think I love him even more for that.  I just hope when she got home, she make him very unhappy for a long period of time.  And that brings me to

Retirement rule #1


Hopefully, I won't have to shop for one for another 7 - 10 years.