How can I retire happy?
It’s easy to imagine scenarios of blissful golden years. Just choose the life that suits you and your budget. Do you want to travel or live by the beach or lake or maybe in the mountains? Some want to indulge in sports like golf, fishing, hunting, sailing, running or cycling. You may enjoy pursuing lifelong passions like music, reading, history, geology, astronomy, art, spiritualism, writing or innumerable fields of study that you now have time to devote to. New careers, without the demands of the old life, may present themselves. You may start a new business, teach, volunteer or just see where the wind blows. As simple as it may seem to retire happy, there is one rule that cannot be ignored.
If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
As men, we’re all aware that we bought houses for the women. No one comes over and tells us that our house looks gay. We consider ourselves fortunate to have space in the garage or hopefully a man cave in the climate controlled part of the house. When broaching the subject of retirement, remember that you are talking about intruding on your wife’s domain and should expect a hostile response as would any intruder.
Many, if not most men succumb to their wife’s demand to keep her life intact. The life of a house boy doesn’t look that bad. You fix things and do your chores, be there when she needs you and stay out-of-the-way the rest of the time. You’ll get to do whatever you want, but she will still be wary of your intrusion into her domain.
If you want to retire happy (and not just content), you’ll need to get the wife on board. Remember that men compromise and women do not. If a change in lifestyle is not your wife’s idea, she will begrudge the decision forever. Your mission should you choose to accept it, is to make your wife’s dreams coincide with your dreams.
When I told people that we were moving to Montana, they would always ask, what does your wife think about the move? I told them that we agree on most things, so it’s not a problem. Years later, I found out that she dragged me out here to the frontier. So, it turns out that she decided to move to the West, but I had exposed her to a land that she would not have dreamed of, and then she did.
So, What’s the Trick?
Back when you and your wife decided to marry, I presume that you shared dreams of a future together as a couple. Over the years, you shared a home, children, money, friends, hardships, and celebrations. After what I hope has been many years, it would seem pretty shitty if you end up competitors instead of partners. You may have to remind your wife that you’re her best friend and that the “girls night out” women are not. Maybe careers and gender roles have caused distance in your relationship, but empty nest and retirement should force you together again.
Start dating again. I don’t mean double dating. Go to places that are special to each of you. Go park in the car and have long uninterrupted conversations about everything of interest to both of you. Travel to new places and share your thoughts about each new experience. Grow dreams of a life full of shared adventure. If you play your cards right, your bride just might drag you off to the frontier.
Have a happy retirement that everyone envies!