Monday, May 7, 2012

A new chapter

Photo by Talia Felix

Woke up early this morning to my husband heading downstairs in quite a hurry. It was barely dawn.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"I heard something outside," he answered as he stepped outside in his underwear.

What the heck?

I followed him downstairs. After checking out front, out back and out the side by the garage, he came to the conclusion there was a big water main break somewhere close by. We could hear the rushing water. Bill actually heard the break. We headed back to bed. Before long it was obvious we weren't going back to sleep any time soon, since the news stations' helicopters were circling overhead. Circling and circling. Eventually, I gave up and got up. Happy first workweek day of retirement, Bill.

Yeah, retirement. It happened on Friday with a whole lot of hoopla from nearly everyone ... except me. Of course, I run the risk of sounding totally self-centered as I write this post, but I'll take the risk. After all, I've spent the last 32 months being brutally honest with all of you. Why stop now. Here's the thing:

I am not at all happy about my husband's retirement. Not at all.

There are many reasons why I feel this way.
  1. I don't believe we were well enough prepared financially for such a bold move.
  2. It makes me sad that he's entering into this "final stage of life." I know that's ridiculous, but it's how I feel.
  3. Our 10-year age difference has never seemed so profound. Medicare?? Really??
  4. I now have to figure out insurance on my own. He's covered. Me? Not so much.
  5. As silly as it sounds, I'm going to miss our daily interactions via email. Yes, I know he'll be right here and I can talk to him, but you'd be surprised how many disagreements were ironed out electronically through the last decade or so. Plus, Bill had a way of making me laugh in the midst of a rough day, just by the sheer nonsense of his emails. I am going to miss that terribly.
  6. As much as I have always said I love change, the fact of the matter is, that is subjective. I like the variety of the work projects I take on. I like rearranging furniture. I like changing my style. I like having seasonal decor to give the house a fresh look every few months. I used to like moving a lot (9 different apartments/homes in 14 years, all in different sections/suburbs of Pittsburgh) What I don't like is this ... a major life change that I had very little say about. I don't like this  change at all.
  7. I'm losing some of my 'freedom.' Freedom to come and go as I please without having to 'report in' to anyone. Yes, I can still do what I want, but now I have to tell someone I'm doing it. I have to answer questions. 
  8. I can't play my music loudly and dance/exercise in the morning, if I feel I need a boost to get started. When Bill's not working, he enjoys sleeping in. Tiptoeing around for a few hours does not make for a good start to the day for me.
  9. I'm concerned about how Bill is actually going to feel, once the realization hits him that he's never going back to a place where he's worked for 24 years ... a place, while often stressful, where he had formed strong bonds with people, was admired, was needed and was a constant in his life. After all, Bill hates change, and this is a big one.
While all of the above matter to me, some more than others, there is one reason I hate this more than any other: my absolute need for solitude. As a writer, I believe it's as much a part of me as is breathing. If I am with people non-stop for too many days, my personality changes ... rather drastically. I get edgy. Depression settles in. I feel like a caged lion that has to escape. It's the way I've always been, and I don't think it's such a bad thing. Many, if not most, writers feel the same way. We need hours of uninterrupted solitude. For me, that ended on Friday when Bill exited the building where he worked for our entire marriage. It's a change I dreaded and a change that scares me.

I know some of you are thinking "What a selfish way of looking at this." Most likely, none of you who are thinking this are writers. I've had the disapproving looks and comments from a myriad of individuals who simply do not understand, and there have been many. Their opinion of me has dropped a notch or two. I can't do anything about that. I've never been the type to pretend how I'm feeling and I'm not about to start now.

But before I end on such a negative note, I just want to clarify that I do know there is good in this, and I'm trying to put my focus there.
  1. The first, and most important thing, is that Bill is away from the stress that was eating him up over the last few years. While there were many good things about working, there were also some really bad things about it.
  2. He'll be able to spend more time with the grandkids. The kids and Bill will all benefit from that.
  3. He'll have time to get some things done around here that we've let slide.
  4. He'll help out even more with household chores on days when my workload is heavy.
  5. I won't have to interrupt my day with errands, because he'll be happy to do them for me.
  6. I will have a calmer, and healthier, husband.
  7. I can juggle around my Sabbath days from week to week and Bill and I can choose a workweek day to play and relax if we want to. The day itself is not important. The resting is.
  8. And, finally, the best reason of all is that I'll have my best friend close by every day. I guess it doesn't get much better than that.
It's a new chapter in my life. Please forgive me if it takes a little while for me to adjust. 

Sharing my heart with you, my friends, on this beautiful Monday morning,



  1. Your positive list sounds pretty darn good! Plus at some point he will have a part time job and give you some of that alone time back!

  2. Totally valid reasons, Hana! It's natural to think about how other people's decisions will affect you, especially when those people live in your house! We're starting a new chapter, too. Hubby graduates from seminary on Saturday. He's been in school (undergrad and grad) the entire 5 years of our marriage. So, we'll have some adjustments to make too!

    1. Thanks for your understanding. Congratulations to your husband ... and you ... for hanging in there for the past 5 years. Now you just have to wait to see where God will lead you. Looking forward to finding out what He has in store for you!

  3. I understand Hana. It is the total opposite for me. My husband was off work for almost a year. Today he went back to work. It felt great for me, although I was getting pretty darn used to having him around. You will adjust. Give it time. Love like there's no tomorrow.

    1. Thanks, Megan. And hooray that your husband is back at work!!


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