Enjoy your Children and Grandchildren

 

 Blessed with children and blessed again with grandchildren.

Children and then grandchildren…both relationships uniquely special.

In retirement, in an ideal world, we’re finally finished with the anxiety of launching our children into the world of adulthood.  Hopefully, they are grown up, finished with school, working, and married with children, but they are still our children and will always be part of our “primary family.”

They, however, have spouses and children of their own, and we now have a different status.  Even though we revel in the freedom from responsibility that adult children embody, some retirees can feel abandoned by their grown children.  Some others have difficult relationships with their adult children for any number of reasons.

In “Mothers and Their Adult Daughters:  Mixed Emotions, Enduring Bonds,”  Karen L. Fingerman, Ph.D. argues, “The parent-offspring relationship in modern America is based more on emotional affection than on economic or cultural imperatives.”

In other words, adult children who stay in close touch with their parents do it because they like them and like to spend time with them.  That’s the secret. We want them to want to be with us. It’s a choice.

Here are some suggestions to make that happen.

  • Don’t talk about how long it’s been since you’ve seen/ had a text from/ or talked on the phone with them. You’re trying to tell them that you love them, but what they’re hearing is a whole heap of guilt.  It’s better to say (when they finally do call), “Hi!  I’m so glad to talk to you.”
  • “How can you live like this?” is not a good way to start a conversation. Have you forgotten what it was like to try to work, do kids’ sports, teach Sunday school, and get Christmas ready?  Something’s got to give, and in my house back in the day, it was the housework. Here’s a good place to employ the 50-year-rule.  What difference is a clean bathroom when compared to a happy kid?
  • Don’t make your kids take sides in your own marital problems. The prevalence of divorce in our generation has made some big family occasions more awkward than they were in an earlier time.

Try to get along when everyone is together, and make it easy for   them if that’s  impossible.

I have one friend who does Christmas with her adult children early in December so that they can spend the actual day of Christmas with her ex-husband and his  present wife. The appreciation she receives from the children is worth the sacrifice.

A few more tips for “children and grandchildren” happiness.

  • Make sure that your adult children know how much you love them. Embrace them and tell them so.  It’s not all about the grandchildren.
  • Have fun with your adult children. Take them out to dinner without the grandchildren.  Meet as adults.
  • Be a cheerleader for your children. Share their good news with them with genuine joy.
  • Treat your grown children with respect. It’s hard to give up the role of advice-giver.  Just listen and act as a sounding board.  This is difficult!  Sometimes I have to bite my tongue.
  • Accept your family relationships the way they are and not the way you would like them to be. It’s not “over the river and through the woods” anymore!

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”              Elizabeth Stone

I have two children happily married and four teen-aged grandchildren.  This is a wonderful phase in our “richly aged” retirement lives.  Enjoy it everyday! It adds to our richness.

Homework:  Give hugs to all of them, even if they are cyber hugs.

Dixie

richlyaged.com

writers@richlyaged.com

Remember why you chose your Spouse?

When it’s the right match!

Choosing the ONE!

Let’s start with our primary relationship. That means your spouse or significant other…or maybe you are single again but anticipating someone filling that gap.

In the beginning of the relationship what was it that made you excited to spend time with him?  You had so many things to talk about, to discover about each other; music, movies, activities, perspectives on various subjects, unconditional attention for each other and unfettered hopes and dreams.

Now fast forward, 5, 10, 30, even 50 years.

Consider that we may have spent so much time together that sometimes we don’t even really see our partners.  We tend to take that person for granted.  Sure you’ve changed over your history together but it’s probable that your partner has changed also.

It’s time to get to know each other all over again.  Working in separate careers over a long period of time provides exclusive experiences and growth for each of you.  Once retired, it’s time to reacquaint.

Even if we have an indifferent relationship, almost strangers, there was a time when our mate brought us nothing but joy – even butterflies in the stomach!  Can you remember that?

Research shows that couples who do new or different things together are happier than those who fall into same-old routines.

In the beginning of a relationship, you’re going to new places, you may both have tentative feelings about how the other person feels, and all of that contributes to the above-mentioned butterflies you feelOver time, you relax around each other and can get complacent. You don’t need to go zip lining but keeping things fun, like singing songs in the car or trying pickle ball can help keep boredom from clouding your relationship.

Recount that joy here

 This exercise should remind you of why you chose this person in the first place.  It does for me.

 List five reasons why you committed yourself to this relationship.

Okay, I’ll start:

  1. He’s handsome.
  2. He makes me laugh several times a day and is really funny.
  3. He’s my best friend and soulmate.
  4. He’s who I think of first when I see something I want to share.
  5. He gives the “gift of attention” when discussing topics (caveat, not quite as much as 33 years ago.)
  6. He’s a great dancer, tennis player, cook, hugger, etc.
  7. He loves our kids and grand-kids.
  8. He’s “game” for new activities.
  9. We have history, and history validates your life. When you have inside jokes and stories you create a bond.

Okay, I’ll stop.  I know that’s more than five, but I couldn’t help myself.

Now it’s your turn.  List 5 “magnetic” reasons.

Create Your Retirement Relationship together

Now that you’re in a positive frame of mind, you need to spend some time exploring the idea of retirement life together.

According to a recent Fidelity study of 500 married couples ages 33 to 70, more than a third of them gave completely different answers when asked about when they would retire and what they wanted their lives to look like in retirement.

Now is the time!

Planning retirement together.

Here are some partner questions to help you get started.

  • When do you want to retire?  Will you do it at the same time?  If not, how will that work?
  • How much money will you have to live on?  This isn’t the primary question, really, but it does make a difference in what you’ll do.
  •  The secret is in matching the plan to the amount and living happily with what we do have.  There are countless ways to “live large” on a shoestring, but that’s a subject for another time.
  • Make separate lists of ten things that you’d like to do in the next ten years and then compare the lists.  You will probably be surprised and possibly delighted.  But no matter what, you’ll have a great conversation.
  • As a couple, free flow your thoughts as partners?  Don’t limit yourself to listing those things that need to be done around your home.  Dream big here!  The sky is the limit.

“It’s simple: Whether you’ve been together a short time or a lifetime: Be conscious and intentional about making your relationship a priority or run the risk of drifting apart and becoming strangers.”

Now put on your favorite song, pour a glass of healthy antioxidant-filled red wine and sit by each other while you get busy on your “retirement  relationship” lists.

 Dixie

Writer’s@richlyaged.com

Downsize, Snowbird or Stay Put?

Relocate? Stay where you are? Second Home? Snowbird?

Before choosing where to live in your new retirement, there are several important questions to consider.

Key questions for choosing where you want to retire.

  1. Are your kids going to move back home?  Do you want them to?
  2. Is your current residence manageable? By manageable, I mean; financially (taxes, mortgage, utilities), physical accessibility, friendly climate, repair and landscape upkeep.)
  3. Do you want to stay in the area you live in?  Or have you dreamed of moving closer to family, the mountains, the coast or a different country or living in an RV or boat?
  4. Are you situated where you can ‘age in place?’
  5. Can you afford to buy a second home to retreat to and fill those desires
  6. Have you thought about the thousands of “snow-birds” who live six months in their “home residence” and six months in their dream location?
  7. Have you thought about a “house swap” to try out those locations?

Evaluate your Answers

Answering these questions will narrow your choices and move you closer to your ultimate plan.

 

 Remember this:  nothing is concrete (except, of course, concrete).  If you make a choice and it doesn’t work for you, it can be changed.

My location certainly has changed during the years I’ve been retired.

Three out of 5 Americans want to spend their golden years in another city or state, according to a national Bankrate survey. A majority said they’d be interested in moving, regardless of gender, income and education, though wanderlust did seem to fade with age.  See this complete article at  bankrate.com/retirement/3-in-5-want-to-retire-somewhere-else/

Look at one couple’s experience:

Several friends of ours have moved into age restricted communities.  These come in all sizes shapes and costs.  Choose something that works with your retirement budget in an area that you are excited about and check it out.

One couple we know moved into a suburban neighborhood.  Being retired with their children grown, graduated from college, working in their careers, married with children, the couple thought that living in a nearby neighborhood would be just the ticket to get to see and be involved with their grand-kids lives.

This worked for a while but then the grand-kids grew and had their own interests and lives as did the other younger neighbors on the couple’s street.  Without the involvement of their own children’s school age kids in sports and activities, they found it difficult to nurture any active social life in this neighborhood so similar in age as their own adult children’s.

Ultimately, they moved to a retirement community where every day offers choices to participate in tennis, golf, dances, theater etc.  Very little effort is required to become involved in an age-restricted community and it’s easy to say yes or no.

The best advantage is that there are so many choices of activities with people who have a lot in common with you.  They felt like they had extended their family.

Downsize, Snowbird or Stay Put

Today the accomplishment of your goals is determined by you, not work constraints or others’ opinions. If you want to accomplish these goals, do so.  If you don’t want to, don’t. Just forget about it. But realize that at this time in your life,  what you do is your choice.

In all of this exploring and self discovery, please remember this: small changes can equal big results.  Eat less, spend less, sit less, stress less, watch TV less, worry less, be active more.  Get up and walk around the block or skip, skate, run or ride your bike.  Your choices equal your results. When you choose a job, neighborhood, location or partner, YOU choose a life.

Homework:  Grab a sheet of paper and brainstorm all your answers to the above questions.  Add a little research, mix it with desire and see what your retirement possibilities reveal.  There are good doctors and dentists, hairdressers and grocery stores most everywhere. So, get started!

Dixie

writers@richlyaged.com

 

 

Learning New Things – Okay like What?

 

In our last post, Dixie talked about learning new things.  But what?  Glad you asked!

Most of our friends started tennis AFTER retirement.

Below are a few suggestions that come to mind.

  • Study Art History
  • Play the Piano or any instrument
  • Take up Tennis, Golf or Tai Chi
  • Understand classical music or any other type of music
  • Become a master Yogi
  • Take up painting, watercolor, acrylics, and oils. No? Paint the house?
  • Knit, Crochet, Sew
  • Learn to make magnificent sauces.
  • Horseback ride
  • Make jewelry.
  • Woodwork, build a boat and on and on

Explore your options

Don’t second guess yourself.  Incubate your idea of who you are and let it live. You may have formed restricting opinions about your abilities throughout your work years that aren’t actually true. Discard those opinions and test it yourself.  You are different now than you were when you approached the idea in the past and the idea may be associated with a negative situation that no longer is relevant.  Give it a chance.  Learn new things.  You’ve got time!

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right!” Henry Ford

Maybe your adventure list includes wishing you could play the piano whether to dazzle your friends at gatherings or simply to entertain yourself with the music you’ve enjoyed throughout your life. Make a plan. Start by selecting a nearby instructor who is affordable or a friend who plays and begin at the very beginning or take up where you left off in childhood.

The key is START.  Give it a fair amount of time and if becoming a pianist is a fit for you, then keep on. Remember though, new ventures take time for mastery and can be frustrating, but it takes a grain of irritating sand to make a pearl.  In retirement, you have time.  That fact is as beautiful as the pearl!

Take up a sport, or go back to school!

This scenario applies to tennis, art history, sign language, jewelry making, flower arranging, golf, ice skating, kayaking etc.  Your list could go on and on.   Learn a new language or audit a college course where you don’t have to write the papers or worry about the grades.  Your choices are infinite.

Try a new sport or resume one from yesteryear.  There are benefits from an active, competitive sport combined with exercise.  It’s good for you; it’s fun and you meet other retired people with like interests.

If it’s not tennis, then play golf, bocce ball, softball, bowling, shuffleboard, or swimming. Take up archery, ballroom dancing, or bicycling. There are so many opportunities to exercise and play with others.  Have fun and keep active.   If you still have an unmet need to compete and advance since you retired, this could be the answer to that void.

Learn a language; it’s good for you!

How about learning a new language?  This one is great for your brain!  Well, actually, every single one of these ideas help us to age positively and live the kind of vibrant lives we seek.  There’s all kinds of evidence that learning new things is good for us – both physically and emotionally.  Check out this article.

What are we learning?

Here are some of the things Dixie and I have done over the past couple of years to keep on learning.  We both learned to play tennis and now play on a couple of teams.

Music makes you happy and builds brain power!

We took ballroom dancing lessons with our husbands last winter.  I never thought my husband would do it, and I could barely drag him off the floor.  I’m studying Spanish and learning to play the Ukulele – with varying results on both!  Dixie took a painting course and produced some really great stuff.  And we’ve learned how to blog – a never-ending learning curve!

I agree with our old friend Henry Ford who had something else to say about learning.

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”  Henry Ford

We’d love to hear what you’ve been learning over the past few years.

Pam

Writers@richlyaged.com

Retirement 14: Create your personal Adventure List

 

Before you create your personal adventure list- Let’s define adventure.

There are as many definitions of adventure as there are types of adventures to be experienced.

Majestic Adventures

Define adventure.  

Adventure is getting out and being bold. It’s trying new foods or new activities to say you’ve done it. It’s anything that pushes your routine and comfort zone…but most of all it’s fun and thrilling.

For our purposes, adventures for Baby Boomers and retirement generally means something outside your day to day routine, Not necessarily risky but risky in that it pushes your experience level and maybe your comfort zone but is still something you’d like to try.

Adventures can be broken down into all types of new activities:

  • Boating
  • Culinary
  • Tourism
  • Sports activities
  • Mountain climbing
  • Skating, Skiing
  • Outdoor recreation
  • Educational pursuits
  • Games
  • Languages
  • Glass fusing, art
  • Travel
  • Musical instruments
  • Dance
  • Exploring all National parks
  • Visiting Natural wonders of the world
  • Deep sea Diving
  • Writing, blogging
  • Photography
  • Gardening, painting, ceramics, wood working, etc.

In summary, an adventure may include learning or trying something new to you.  Something that you are curious about and excited to experience.

You’re much more likely to make your wishes come true if you write down exactly what it is you want. This list is limitless.  If there are limitations, they are individual to your own restrictions.  Maybe these are physical restrictions, maybe financial, maybe health restrictions but for the most part…it’s all wide open

How do you start? Here’s an ‘adventure example’

Continue reading Retirement 14: Create your personal Adventure List

Retirement 13: Explore, Dream New Adventures

                                                     

 Time to explore new adventures.

So far in this, Baby Boomer’s Guide to a Happy Retirement, you’ve been encouraged to replace old “work think” with new “retirement think.”

Fill your own bucket with your Dreams and Goals.

You’ve also been encouraged to “drill deep down inside” and release those forgotten seeds of your visions for the grown up you. Now you are being asked to push the edge of your experience and knowledge levels and try new opportunities.

This chapter is designed to plant those very seeds that will take you from spectator to participant.    Let’s see if we can pique your interest in some long forgotten adventures.

A “bucket list” is about dreams or goals.

Sometimes, when we steal a few moments to reflect, we might have a tiny tinge of remorse – for the undone or the unaccomplished during our determined mission of always paying the bills and caring for the family.  These regrets might be about the things you once imagined in your life or hoped for in your future but learned to live without.

Can you conjure up those passed-over thoughts now that you are in this wonderful new phase of your life?  Are they, or a version of them, now obtainable?  Is it possible or even probable that you can realize those filed-away dreams?

The recent movie “The Bucket List” capitalized on the idea of the dreamed for and not yet attained.  Its popularity has been nurtured with the current Baby Boomers coming of age and exploding  demographically.

Two of my husband and my dreams and goals were:

  1. Buy a floating home (not a houseboat- they have motors) and live on a river in the Northwest.

    Dream of living in a floating home. Ours on the Columbia River.
  2. Full time in a motor home for a couple of years while travelling our nation.

    Our full time motor home for 18 months dream

 Define Dreams and Goals?

Continue reading Retirement 13: Explore, Dream New Adventures