It is now five years since I left my fabulous government job assisting businesses with their growth and development.
I took early retirement as a package was available and I saw my retirement as time with my daughter as she started her family as well as an opportunity to operate a micro business.
In those 5 years I have become a nana to two beautiful grand daughters and spent many hours caring for them. Many more hours than I anticipated due to baby sleep issues and suddenly finding myself in a carer role of my elderly mother. My eldest grand daughter started school this year, so I only really see her at school pick up – three times a week. But no longer for regular full days. The youngest who is 3, we care for each Thursday.
So early in the year and with the reduction of need for caring, I have found myself struggling. I am missing a sense of purpose. A sense of feeling belonging. A sense of feeling fulfilled and making a difference.
I have started the year determined to improve my health after 3 weeks of physio on my back. I attend a community centre and attend stretching and Pilate classes. I plan to book time with a personal trainer to help me keep on track. I have booked sessions with a psychologist/hypnotherapist to assist overcome some childhood issues.
On the wellbeing side – I have joined a women’s group choir. The group sits or stands in a circle and harmonises. I found out it is a form of cappella singing. I loved it. It made me feel grounded, relaxed and uplifted at the same time.
I love to of the ‘songs’ Bella Mama’ and The River Flowing. Below are some links to some You Tube of these songs and type of singing.
After much research, I joined a local VIEW Club – which is a group for women that raises money for The Smith Family who in turn provide financial support to disadvantaged children. Not long after joining I volunteered for the committee and as assistant secretary am the guest speaker organiser.
Sigh……I just feel brain dead. I feel a lack of stimulation. A lack of purpose. I am still busy assisting and providing care for my elderly mum. The hours of care depend on her health. I have just come out of two months of intensive care hours after she had had a fall.
As a celebrant I have conducted a few weddings.
But I am over being involved in all the stress of brides and weddings. Well at least the very big weddings. I still enjoy the small weddings of 2 – 20 guests. Especially when held on a property or backyard of a home. Just so much more relaxed and intimate.
However I am seriously considering retiring and handing in my celebrant registration.
So, now what to do. I looked at University of the Third Age, but nothing I am interested in is available on my pockets of available time. That is of course part of my dilemma . I have pockets of availability in between when I help mum, take her out, take her shopping etc, the day I mind my grand daughter, being at the school by 2.30pm to get a car park close enough for pick up of the eldest grand daughter – then minding them both until 5pm. I also set aside time for the hubby – he is at golf 3 times a week.
Soooooooooo! What can I do to stimulate my mind. What can I do that will give me a sense of purpose. I just feel the days and weeks are passing so quickly.
What do I want to do with my life? I don’t want to ‘just fill in the hours’, with gym, lunches, bowls – oh I did try some bowls but then it go SO HOT! – I will look at that in the cooler months. I learnt crochet. Loved that but made everything I really want to make. Will look at making some items to donate.
My thoughts are join and volunteer with another charity. Maybe some volunteer office work. Perhaps use my event management background and stage an event of some sort.
My needs are – new friendships in my age bracket for now until………..well …until death us to part! As well as brain stimulation and a sense of purpose.
Well it is now time to think about dinner – gawd……I am after nearly 43 years of marriage over coming up with ideas for dinner. Thank goodness for the good old basics of spag bolg, sausages, roast chicken! I love baking – but everything I love to bake my daughter tells me has too much sugar! And hubby has asked when I am going to diet and lose weight! ARGH!
Oh look, it is wine o’clock…………..must go!
Honey….I’m home for good – 24/7
About 2 and a half years ago after I left my corporate job and was in a routine of my own and helping my daughter with her baby, hubby retired at 60 years of age.
At first, everything was fine….it was summer – and lovely and hot, so we spent much of our time, swimming, relaxing at home and caring for grand-daughters.
At that stage my micro business as a celebrant was growing , I was working as a business coach …..and I was just very busy with work. Hubby was happy, pottering around the house and the garden completing projects. In between he played golf, helped look after the grand children and going out to lunch with me, reading, watching the share market and footy panels on TV, watching the footy replays, and also some travel.
There were times however when I woke and thought…..OMG….he has retired.
This living together is 24/7 forever!
Especially on days when he would ask me in the morning at breakfast…
“would I be home for lunch”….
“what time would I be home”….from where ever I was going
if I was going down to the shops…… “oh….I might come too”
and what’s for tea? EKKKK!!!
Oh….and there is nothing on the calendar, so you mustn’t be doing anything today!
Now for the past 2 years in particular, I provide a very high level care and support for members of my family, which has had a huge impact on my time and therefore on business activities. Hubby has been fabulous…when he is not at golf….he is a fabulous dad and Poppy. A Poppy who has not problems playing dolls, with 2 and 4 year old granddaughters, and no issues changing dirty nappies for putting the girls to bed. In fact he just loves his time with the girls and is a highlight of his retirement.
However, so many women I have spoken to struggle with the 24/7 living with the hubby who says “Honey…I’m home for good”!
Comments I have heard include:
Hubby puts me down. I don’t feel relaxed anymore…there is tension in the home
Hubby is critical of the things I do and say now that he is home 24/7
Hubby won’t do anything.
Hubby is so controlling.
Hubby won’t belong to anything.
Hubby only wants to go out with me all of the time.
Interestingly these are statements that I have heard by a number of semi or fully retired women. They are struggling with the hubby being at home all day every day. The relationship is under strain, particularly where the retired hubby is not involved in anything.
Living with a retired hubby can be a huge new stress and re-adjustment in life.
Now I am not saying all husband and wives have issues. I know and see many many happy retired couples. And no doubt there are some retired hubby’s who might write a blog on their retired wife….but this is my point of view, experiences and observations.
So I reflected on what my now 88 year old mum did with her retirement time – as she lived with an often grumpy old hubby who had not many interests and didn’t like to go out – except for lunch – dad liked a good feed – once he turned about …oh…probably around his late 60’s.
Tips on Living and Coping with a retired hubby
My Mum – Role Model
Take up a sport
My 88 year old mum always kept busy in her retirement. She is a great role model to me in regard to what she did to cope with my dad who was a non joiner and as he aged was more and more reluctant to go out anywhere. Mum joined many organisations over the years after she retired. Initially she joined a bowling club….and dad soon followed her….and they had a year of two playing bowls together before he didn’t want to play any more….but mum continued and made lots of friends. Other than that……dad really just pottered around the house and went travelling wherever mum organised oh and started to go to church a few times a week and prayed a lot.
Later when she had given up bowls, mum took up table tennis and played until she was around 80 year old.
Now whilst my hubby plays golf 3 times a week…..as much as I have tried…..I am absolutely hopeless at golf.
I would love to share a sport interest with hubby…..and I know he would love for me to…..but honestly…..
I have really really tried…….
but I’m just no good with little balls, they just won’t go where I want them to…..soaring up in the air or in that bloody little hole.
Joining a local gym and attending fitness classes and crochet in a creative crafting diva’s group, is more my current interest oh of course and coffee and chats with my girlfriends. I observe with interest that many of the girls when they have completed the stretching or Pilates class (majority of participants are over 60) , go to the gym café for coffee and chats….and stay there until nearly lunchtime. Not sure why they are not hurrying home!
Belong and Attend Club/Organisation Meetings
My mum joined Probus and ended up the activity officer. She would organise the day trips and longer trips for the women. It kept her busy in a coordination role, committee meetings, general meetings as well as going away for the day or for longer. She did this for many years.
Mum also was a member of the local Garden Club, took up playing cards (which now in her late 80’s she plays 5 to 6 days a week), joined a patchwork craft group, was a member of the Red Cross and at one stage a volunteer for a local historical house….which dad occasionally helped out with.
Currently I attend at number of women only business and networking meetings. I love getting out to listen to a speaker (particularly if the talk is relevant) and catching up with friends and meeting new people. I am considering starting my own Retiree Women’s group, as I do find it difficult – to find meetings where I connect with the speaker or the topic….rather than ”been there done that”….so I am seeking women 55 plus who have stepped away from the corporate world and re-defined themselves.
Book clubs –mum attended the VIEW Club, and used to go to meetings, outings and the book club. I have joined one that meets on a Tuesday night for dinner. Not too much chat about the actual books we have ‘read’.
I have a great system….hubby takes Miss four and a half grocery shopping on a Thursday morning. Occasionally I go with them, but generally I stay behind with the 2 year old. Hubby doesn’t like me going….he says that he spends more on the groceries. He always takes a list. Problem is that I haven’t always remembered what I really need. What I am cooking. So each week, I top up anyway.
But yes, I am very lucky I have a hubby that likes grocery shopping.
These are growing in popularity. I would love hubby to go. However he and some of his mates, found out that we women, behind their back, were trying to leverage each other off the other, pretending that they WERE interested in a Men’s Shed. Damm…we got found out! A very powerful statement though was made: “Why do we HAVE TO DO ANYTHING?” ‘I’ve worked hard all my life, for decades….now it is finally my time to just relax and do whatever I want to do, if and when I want to do anything.” GULP!!!!
How foreign an idea is that to me and many semi or fully retired high profile, corporate leadership type of women.
Things to fix
I always seem to have a list of things to fix inside and outside of the home. Bunnings is a favourite place for hubby…and thankfully he happily fixes things.
One woman I know plans multiple holidays each year, both international and domestic holidays. Staying with friends, travelling with friends, making new friends who can come and visit, travelling to see family………. So the mostly stay at home hubby….at least he is out and about…..as a travelling partner and hopefully absorbing and enjoying all the he is experiencing and always has something to talk about.
My mum also initiated all of their travel – mostly around Australia.
Hubby and I have taken two overseas holidays…a European River Cruise and also a Mediterranean cruise.
Loved these and we are likely to take more overseas travel and look forward to more domestic travel.
Hubby and I spend a huge amount of time with our little grand daughters. Sometimes it is very tiring – exhausting – but it is also wonderful to mind and care for them as we are contributing towards their development. Yes, I know some grand parents live a long way from their grand children – we are lucky and blessed to have ours live so close to us.
See a Counsellor
On a really serious note. Honestly…..don’t hesitate to seek some counselling – either alone or with your hubby. At the very least….if they won’t join anything, then take my elderly mum’s advice….get out yourself every day….live and enjoy your life.
Initially and from time to time, I have had counselling. Yes adjustments and compromises are required…..and I am not saying it is easy. We have our days – and sometimes days of days……or days of weeks – when we irritate each other….but when you have a balance then this stage of life can be fantastic…..some of the best years of your life.
Must go….hubby is going through the fridge and cupboards and letting me know of items out of date, and that the left over pumpkin I didn’t use up has gone off. Sherry time!
Note: All images used are personal photos or purchased.
Nearly two years ago, I gave up my corporate government business card. The one that for 15 years, was my professional identify – to who I was in the business and community world. In the past 22 months, the transition from corporate world to semi retired was and continues to be challenging.
How many hundreds of business cards had I given out – and how many hundreds had I received. Suddenly I was faced with deciding which business cards to keep and which to throw away – and that is hard – it is like throwing some part of your life away. Even now, there are some that I have kept – although I realise that we have both moved on and I have not seen these people since leaving and have no reason to expect any further interaction. Think aobut how many business cards in your corporate career that you have collected, filed away as you maybe like I was, out and about every week at business breakfast, lunches, dinners, training, forums – always networking, developing business relationships – looking how you might be able to assist another business, refer, or do business with them.
I loved my corporate government work as a business development officer. I was always looking to assist those business owners with a passion and real commitment, to coach and support in the development and growth of their business. My background and high level of government training covered Exporting, Manufacturing (large and small businesses), start up businesses, businesses hit by natural disasters, global downturns, Innovative IT businesses and everything in between. My business card – my title on my business card, the years of relationship development, my credibility and trust in government departments at all levesl, throughout the business community enabled me to network successfully with the business card providing an immediate impression of what I do, who I am.
Then suddenly, with a first grandchild on the way, and always thinking I would retire at aged 55, I accepted a government package, and resigned to spend time with my daughter on maternity leave and enjoy time with my first grandchild.
Did I give any thought to what else I might do?
Well yes, of course. I just could not walk away from business development work. And after all, who was I without a business card?
So I set up My Business Doctor – as a way to satisfy my need and passion to continue to assist business people – whilst at the same time, I continued – actually I ramped up, with a new website and some marketing, my other micro business as a Celebrant.
As time went past rapidly, I found myself providing far more support, far more hours, days to seeing, helping my daughter and minding my grand daughter. Beautiful, fun, memorable times. And then add to the mix my elderly mum. I will always remember fondly, the time the four generational females, had coffee and cake, lunch or shopped together. I also found myself providing many hours of care and support for my elderly mother. And then!!! My husband decided to retire – and looked to spend time doing things together.
But what of the businesses? With such limited time, one was bound to fall behind. And it was My Business Doctor that just didn’t receive the time for marketing and promoting that I had anticipated. Providing so much family care support and with the huge increase in wedding work I didn’t have the time to follow up some amazing publicity that I received in the media.
Enquiries for my work as a celebrant were so regular (I estimate it takes 12 to 15 hours per ceremony!), that I found myself declining some ceremonies – as I struggled to manage all the family, personal and business demands of my time.
So, who am I without a corporate business card? Without my corporate identity?
What do I say when someone asks – So what do you do?
I am still tied to that high flyer, the high achiever, the woman of influence, the queen of networking – it is still hard to let go, of all that I worked, studied and aimed for in my vocational position within Government.
No longer Celena Ross, Regional Coordinator of Office of Women’s Policy, no longer Celena Ross, Principal Business Development Officer, Department Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, no longer Project Officer of a large infrastructure project, no longer manager, no longer team leader. My government business card provided an impression of seniority, of influence, of knowledge – a professional identity with value and meaning.
I just haven’t been able to let go, of some of those labels which define my background. I do introduce myself as Celena Ross, Celebrant as I start to transition, to let go of My Business Doctor. But my ego just won’t let me do that completely. I am nearly out of my My Business Doctor Business Cards. That leaves me with Celena Ross Celebrant cards. It is interesting to observe body language and facial features of business people I am now introduced to, or introduce myself to….using just the title of Celebrant.
It is a classic lesson, to look beyond the cover! For behind this title lies so much knowledge, experience and yes still strong contacts….but they will diminish. When I attend local businesswomen network meetings, I now observe the next generation of business and corporate women, striving, working hard to make their mark on the world. Juggling work and demands of a family! So difficult! Hmmm here I am still doing the same thing, but as a mature aged person, we just don’t have media attention of how difficult it is when you become part of the sandwich generation, providing support to grand children and elderly parents and working or operating a small business. And when you are working from home semi-retired, it is expected that you are available all hours of the day.
Question What shall I do next?
How might I continue to make a difference? I continue to have new ideas…but presently, my daughter has had another baby – and I am again providing huge hours, days to help and support her. I declined many enquiries for December to February ceremonies, so that I would have the time to assist her…and don’t forget my elderly mum – today I spent nearly 2 hours talking to tradesmen, Home Assist and Occupational Therapist – before doing shopping for my daughter. I love the time with my family…..but at night, I think….who am I becoming? Whilst grappling with where to from here, I enrolled in 2 Young 2 Retire facilitation training. That was fantastic – every week I would link into a telecast – mostly all participants were from America. It was fantastic for my brain, for the start of new ideas and how I might in turn assist other women plan for a transition to semi retirement.
Certainly I have transitioned to a semi retirement lifestyle – in that my business takes back seat to family demands and finally some time for me…..but where to as my daughter needs me less? Hmmmm of course my elderly mum will likely need me more. But I have great flexibility in my time. My daughter has many friends and no doubt will soon be busy meeting with friends, and activities with her little daughters. Hmmm my elderly mum and her increasing demands though are a concern. I don’t want to get to 65 years plus and not achieve what I hope and plan to, because I have had to become a full time carer. How often does a woman in particular on transitioning to semi retirement suddenly become a full time carer? Travel – yes have flexibility for travel and looking forward to a trip soon to Europe and a river cruise. Yes, there are times when hubby and I just go for a walk, go out for lunch.
However, the question remains when you have spent decades building your career, you are a high achiever – who do we become when we let go of our corporate identity? How much time, do we plan when we dream of stepping away and out of the corporate/business world? Research reveals that most of us just thing, I am so sick of this job,career, I am burnt out, I need a change, can’t stand the new boss, have been around so long that in meetings when the younger, new staff come up with an idea I hear myself saying, no won’t work, we’ve tried that a couple of times over the decades!
We dream of travel, of time to just sit and read, to shop, to exercise, go out for lunch at the spur of the moment, to garden, spend time with grand children, to pursue passions and make volunteer…..but we just don’t really stop and plan our semi to full retirement life. How strange, when we have decades of experience and highly developed skills in planning.
Who will you be and how will you cope without your corporate business card? Who will you become?
Transition to Semi or full Retirement is more than financial planning. Retiree Matters http://retireematters.com.au is my answer to not only who I become, but also to mentor and assist you with your life planning, your transition to the next Stage of your Life.
What will you do without your corporate identity? Will you semi or fully retire?
What will you do if your health fails? How will you manage living 24/7 with your partner in retirement? How will you fill your hours? How will you use your well developed skills, your education?
How do you let go of your high visibility, status and influence?
Will you start a small business – in redefining your next stage in life, you don’t have to let go of everything, but you do need to really stop and plan. What do you hope for as you transition to retirement? Can you see it? what issues might arise that might derail your plans? How will you cope moving away from decades of experience, high powered meetings, leading teams and projects?
2 Young 2 retire has provided me with facilitation accreditation but my real life experience provides me with the extra to assist support and guide corporate women in their transition.