Kicking & Screaming into retirement

My friend Sara and I took a walk last week to get caught up in person. No texts, no phone calls just a walk and talk. Like we used to do. She is almost ready to retire. In fact, she can retire right now but she hesitates because if she does, she will be stuck at home with her husband.

Happily after retirement , sitting in an Adirondack chair facing water early morning in Grand Lake, CO.
There is beauty in every moment – we only need to take the time and breathe it in.

The man she chose to marry is not very nice. When she does something forgetful, he pounces on that and just rants and raves about what a loser she is. During our walk, she told me that in the past month she mindlessly clicked something on her computer and it was compromised. She took it to a computer tech and had to get it wiped and cleaned. She felt so stupid. Her husband won’t let her forget that she screwed up again. He demeans her and takes away any confidence she has in herself.

Sara is one of the first friends I made when I moved to Colorado. She and I have been though births, deaths, divorces and remarriages. When she told me that Eddie proposed and she planned to marry him, I asked her why?

I realized during our walk that she didn’t intend to take any action, she just needed to talk through what was going on, to list offences, to explain retirement possibilities and to unload.  Once I understood my role, I was able to shake my head when needed, offer condolences and some levity here and there.

Happily after retirement, enjoying life in the early morning in Grand Lake, CO.
To find joy where you are, in this very moment, is a thing of beauty.

I know of others like her who would retire tomorrow if they could change their home life. One amazing friend of mine worked to the age of 68 so that she could avoid being home with her unemployed husband. When she finally did retire, it was because she was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease.

Ok, this is the part where I let my naiveté show. Why not stand up and say no? No more abuse? No more put downs? No more hostility? These women and many others are actually the breadwinners and yet, they allow themselves to be pushed around at home – whereas in the workplace they are given the respect due the position.

Do I have to walk in Sara’s shoes and take the verbal abuse in order to speak honestly to her? And if I were in her shoes, would I have the strength, determination and financial means to walk away? And could I walk away … from yet another marriage?

My marriage had none of the negativity and toxic environment that she is exposed to on a daily basis.  In the past, I would speak freely about what she could do, and suggest steps and actions she could to help her move away, or forward depending on what she needed. I send her links to podcasts, youtube video suggestions and books that would help with self esteem, financial information and know-how.

So, this time when she shared her world with me, I understood that she only needed to vent. She wasn’t ready to act and maybe she would never be ready.  I decided to be a good listener and give her the safe place to speak freely.

Is that all she needs?

My heart is heavy because I am so happy in retirement. I am hiking, taking drives to see the beautiful autumn colors, taking daily walks, visiting libraries, reading, making friends, traveling and enjoying my space.

What are your thoughts about this? Know people like Sara? Any words of wisdom for her or me?

Many thanks.

************

Keep Reading:
 – How to practice mindful aging
–  Picking up the pieces
6 brave personal stories about domestic abuse

sunset over rocky mountains
To be at peace with yourself is a true and wonderful gift.

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “Kicking & Screaming into retirement

  1. 😉 I’m not very good at just listening, to be honest. I always feel if someone is opening up to me about their issues they are implicitly seeking opinion or advice, else why do it. But I could be totally wrong. It’s happened many many many times before. 😉

    Like

  2. It’s very hard to just listen, especially to a story retold that is hurtful. But, like you, sometimes you have to realize that where you are and where someone else is are 2 different places – nothing wrong or right – just different. If/when she makes a move, she will. Until then … MJ

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There are many who live a compromised life. I suppose that most choose to live this way due the fear of change, the cost of divorce and the fear of failure in making the proper changes. For her I believe that the daily escape in going to work serves as a refuge, but also an excuse for not taking the appropriate action. You are a good friend and the only advice you could give is through her seeing the lifestyle you lead. Our daily actions serve as a larger motivator to other rather than our words.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. And when she is ready to make a move – in any direction, she will know that I will listen, be her rock and her shoulder to cry on. That’s what friends are for – and there is so much I want to say – but she already knows it all. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    Like

  5. What makes me sad is that for as much as she would love to retire, the thought of being home makes her sad. I LOVE being home, don’t you? It’s my most favorite place in the world. I so appreciate your thoughts and comments.

    Liked by 1 person

Write on...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.