My husband retired last Friday. Today is the first day he is at home when he used to be at work. This morning, after going to the YMCA, was spent reviewing online accounts and setting up our new health insurance plan.
Our old plan was through the hospital at which he worked, now we will be going to “the other provider” in town. I am optimistic about the change. But, for me with change always comes some anxiety. Last night, I was up between 2 and 4 a.m. with thoughts swirling about in my head. I was not exactly nervous about anything, just cogniscent of the transition. I am also in the midst of my final comprehensive exam for my second Master’s Degree – this time in Natural Resources. The last four years have gone quickly and I am intrigued as I read over some of my past papers as I scour for resources to cite on my essay answers. I do not think these three papers will be my best work, but I do want them to reflect what I have learned and who I am as an environmental educator.
Today, as we sat at the table together, him working on the investment accounts and me paying bills, we talked about our new future together. Many of our friends have been interested in the plans he/we have for this next phase in our lives. Although he has already had some offers to return to work in yet another capacity, we made a pact that we would not make any major decisions (like resuming or obtaining employment) for at least three months.
In the meantime, he is already making furniture for the local summer show where he’s been featured as a guest artist before. I also have a bathroom renovation planned for him after the holidays, once our kids are back at school. I’m very fortunate that he is so handy! Finally, we revealed to each other some of our hopes for the year ahead.
I would like to travel. We had been in the habit of taking a major vacation once a year. Sometimes these were extravagant, including three past trips to the Hawaiian islands. And, sometimes, they were closer to home, such as going to the Door County Peninsula. This last year of employment precluded any trips other than going to a our cabin (which is a beautiful get away in itself). It was not that he did not have vacation time; it was that he could never use it as he was too busy covering for the other providers who seemed to take every bit of time they had earned as soon as it was available. As you can tell, this was a bone of contention for me. But, I am also proud of his work ethic.
Anyway, I will look into a spot for a nice summer vacation, maybe at one of our National Park’s or maybe somewhere in Canada. We also plan to take some day and/or weekend trips together around the area to experience Madison’s Saturday Farmer’s Market, the English style pubs in Mineral Point, and maybe an art gallery or two in Milwaukee. My spouse is open to these ideas but I can see that I will be the driving force for planning most of them.
He has breakfast twice a month with a friend and I have lunch occasionally with friends as well. Both of us will continue to do so. We need to retain our separate identities, as they make us better and more interesting as a couple. We plan to take in lunch and a matinée movie once a week and go out to dinner weekly, as well.
But, both of us have become health conscious, so we also both have plans to attend the YMCA on a regular basis – as a couple and separately, during the week.
The only frustration that has arisen have been some brief issues with technology. The requirement of second lines of security that seem to go over and above password protections can be nerve wracking. When these freeze you out of your accounts, it is time wasted trying to retrieve passwords via text or email when they do not arrive quickly enough to complete your business. Finally, he gave up and went to out to his woodshop. Using a saw always seems to quell his irritations.
Since I am completing a degree that has been entirely online, the technological issues seem less daunting to me, but I understand his frustration. I think we both long (at least a little bit) for the old days when you could speak to a human on the phone and spend less time on a computer, phone, or tablet.
It is a new chapter for us. I am excited to see what our future holds!