Senior Citizens Adjust To Retirement

Jun 8th, 2010 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Adjusting to retirement is no small undertaking.  I had the “privilege” to retire at 58.  I am now approaching 72 and find that the years between then and now have not only flown, but the variables that have been introduced from year to year have been surprising, unexpected and characterized by change and upheaval.  There is no such thing as a constant in retirement.

The earlier years were identified by specific plans and expectations that had been carefully laid out in the last year or so of our “working” life.  We knew that we would be moving to another state.  We had developed our dream house and had begun making the steps necessary toward its construction. We thought then that we had given consideration to all the implications of our retired existence.  For the first year, we began putting in place all the details of what would need to be done, in order to have our new home completed within a year. Sure enough the planning and executing all came about on schedule.  And on a cold, sleeting December 31, the day of my birth, we moved into our new home and slept there for our first night.

Then the tough assignments began confronting us.  We had to unpack, put in place, and arrange everything.  It would be awhile before it would take on the personality we wanted it to have.  The demands and adjustments and challenges of retirement began to be regular.  That was okay.  That was the intention.  Plans had to be adjusted here and there, but all in all we were accommodating retirement and all it offers. We even named our new home Concord (as in harmony) Lodge.

Following on the inside projects being completed, we were faced with exterior projects, landscaping, cutting dead and infected trees, locating plantings which would hold back the heavy rains that eroded our hillside, installing walkways, finishing the garage, adding a swimming pool and deck.  In the meantime, we were also getting acquainted with persons from our nearby town.  Parties were held and reciprocated.  New friends made life richer.  Projects of a variety now forgotten were initiated.  Adjusting to retirement was a daily undertaking.

Time passed, trees and plants grew, seasons came and went.  We were in the middle of living out some of the best years of our lives.  Family came and went.  Our lives were full and happy and content.

Suddenly, in the very middle of our retirement journey, 5 years to the minute, we were met with a new and exciting and glorious gift.  Sharon received a phone call that raised the curtain on a whole new drama in our retirement experience.  She had had a baby in 1966 and had surrendered her to adoption.  The baby, now a grown woman, decided to seek out her natal mother.  Our whole world, retirement, everything was upended.  It was to be a new and glorious experience that would best be told in a book Sharon wrote later called Shar’s Story, a Mother and Daughter Reunited. Retirement now had a whole new definition.

So it has gone now for the past eight years.  The moral of the story is that Retirement is an always evolving and unfolding experience. It is never finished.  It doesn’t have a conclusion.  It is full of surprises and fun and sometimes hurts and scars.   But, at its best, with our having a son and daughter and four wonderful grandchildren, we can only exclaim that “no, we haven’t adjusted to retirement.”  As for me, my dear Sharon keeps nudging me in directions which open new doors, windows, places, joys and excitements I could not know if we had already adjusted.  All I can say is that whatever is next in adjusting to retirement:  “Bring it on!”

Whatever is next, if it is as full as the years since we retired have been, we relish with gratitude that there is more to come.



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