Why Would You Want To Do That?
Imagine my surprise when I told my husband I would love to go to Nebraska City (a little town in eastern Nebraska) and stay in Lied Lodge for the weekend, wander, and go to Arbor Lodge – and his response was “Why Would You Want To Do That?” This after being home all week, foraying out of the house only to go to the gym, to church, to play chess, and to the grocery store. This, after saying for over thirty years that “we will go more places once we hit retirement; we just don’t have time right now”. This, after spending hours on a mind-map laying out what he would like his retirement to look like – and including travel in a very prominent bubble on the map.
Okay, so maybe it would be a stretch to say that Nebraska City is “travel”. But, it is a wonderful small town, a first class hotel, and I love to walk and wander in neighborhoods that ooze personality. Rather than choosing to feel deflated by his decidedly lack of enthusiasm, I cheerfully suggested we drive up to Omaha to see his sister and brother-in-law for the afternoon. His response: “What for?”
Houston, WE HAVE A PROBLEM!
I was so flabbergasted, the only response I could think of was “Because we can! We can go anywhere and do anything we want to do, just because we want to do it!” He reluctantly agreed, not wanting to spend money on gas to drive the one hundred twenty mile round trip.
We had a wonderful time, chatting and playing with their new puppy – Shadow/Storm (they can’t decide on a name). We talked about their trip to Europe with the whole Feiste clan, and we shared pictures and stories about Australia. Sooner or later, I knew we would get around to road trips and short vacation jaunts. Yup – we got there. The three of us thought it would be great fun to travel to central Nebraska to the town I grew up in. I haven’t been back in 45 years. They had gone about 8 years ago, and stayed in the historic hotel on Main Street, right across from the town square, and enjoyed their stay a great deal. Of course, I could be tour guide and show them all the historic sites – where I used to live, the church we went to, where I went to school, where I used to get my hair cut, where I learned to drive – and of course, Holcomb’s Drug Store where we used to stop and have a limeade every day after school on our way home. Karl was sitting on the settee looking puzzled. Finally, he blurted out “Why Would You Want To Do That?”
Choosing the coach approach, I asked him to tell us what he would like to do for fun during his retirement, when he would like to do it, and how often. His response was to play chess, golf, bowl and travel. In that order. He wants to play chess three or four times a week, play golf or bowl once a week, and travel once or twice a year. The lifestyle of a retired introvert! His sister was all over him – asking him about hobbies, going to movies, the theater, concerts, ball games, and my goodness – why not a road trip several times a year? The lights clicked on, and you could see him start to think.
It is often difficult to adjust to the concept of retirement as a door opening up to the time to do the things you have put off for years because of work and family obligations. It is an opportunity to enjoy the little things in life like a walk around the lake, or through the woods. For years, the only night of the week we had to do anything as a couple was Wednesday – and night life is not hopping on a Wednesday in Lincoln, NE. We had foregone those road trips you take to surrounding areas on a weekend because we never had a weekend together except when we took our annual vacations. Now, we can go to the movie most any day, the theater on a Friday night, or a weekend to Kansas City to see the Christmas lights. Why would we want to do that? Because we can.
While I would never tell anyone to wait until they retire to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, I especially coach retirees to stop worrying about being productive every minute of every day. If you want to read a good book in front of the fireplace – do so. If you want to take a nap so you can go to the blues bar on Saturday night – do so. It is time to have fun, develop relationships, see your world for what it is – as well as to find your purpose and live it with all you’ve got to give. You don’t need to wait for a two week period in August to enjoy yourself. Why would you want to do that?
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