Our relationships center on our marriage, family and friends. Maintaining relationships and social interaction is very important to us. Yet we put that to the test when we decided to relocate shortly after we retired.
Certainly, after we moved we experienced the pangs of separation and felt isolated (and questioned our sanity). We had two good friends who had moved from the Bay Area to Arizona several years before us. We were so happy and fortunate to have them! They helped us to get settled in and to have someone to hang out with.
One of the biggest challenges that I faced was my relationship with myself. To keep it simple and brief, I’ll just say that I suddenly had ample time to ponder a lot of unresolved past issues. I didn’t do so well. So much so that it was affecting my relationship with CeCe. Something had to be done. After considerable time, reflection and research I found a book that seemed to address my issues. I read and worked the book cover to cover. Bottom line is that I benefited greatly. I realize now that I had to resolve those issues or I would never have been able to really enjoy retirement, to be happy. I most likely would have made a mess of everything I worked and lived for!
I also want to mention something that I never expected. I primarily “knew” my wife as a finance professional through her work and friends. After we retired, that’s how I still saw her. I kept thinking, any day now, she’s going to go back to work. She must miss talking shop with her colleagues. All the while CeCe cheerfully quilted, read, tended to her photos and the like. Whenever I mentioned whether she was interested in work, she either looked at me like I had to be kidding or just said no! I couldn’t stop feeling anxious for her. I wanted her to be happy and I was unable to get past my image of her. Well, it only took 3 years, but one day a light bulb went off. I looked over at her and said, you’re really happy aren’t you? You’re an artist now. Wow, it finally had sunk in. I was guilty of projecting my own images onto her and unable or unwilling to see that she was who she always was.
Relationships are always hard but they are worth the effort. We are who we are in part based on our relationships. I know relationships have played a major role in our retirement journey transitions from arriving in retirement, to surviving in retirement and now thriving in retirement.
- Maintaining relationships with family and friends is a commitment worth the time and expense
- If you relocate it is a huge plus to have good friends in your new locale
- Retirement may be the best (or perhaps last) opportunity to “fix” your relationship with yourself
- It may take time to figure out how to relate to your partner and yourself in retirement
- It requires effort and openness to meet new friends