People look forward to retirement after a lifetime of work, and while their to-do list becomes more like a bucket list, it’s clearly interesting to sit by and watch them every day…watching their next move in play. It appears that once retirees begin their next phase of life, excitement brews in those first couple of years…joining clubs, making new friends, learning new things and enjoying different types of entertainment. One thing I know for sure, those that retire in the sunshine states usually have a love for golf and cars. Many retirement communities offer a variety of activities, not to mention classes for those that want to learn new skills, while others want information on healthcare, computers, tips on traveling and just about anything else you can imagine. Possibilities are endless. It gives them a chance to see what they like and how it might play out with their new found freedom…retirement. But not all retirees do this; some become more sedentary than others. Their intentions are great, but after their move into their new community is complete, some don’t find the energy to go out; after all…isn’t that what retirement is all about, not having a set schedule to be somewhere, doing what they please (?)

Men and women seem to have different ideas about retirement…as I’m finding out. In a recent conversation I was given an example of a married couple (retired of course), and they wondered why women never get to retire. I said “What do you mean by that?” The reply was, “Well, the man retires and he begins to do what he wants, golf, hang out with the boys or maybe get his new sports car (his TOY of course), but the wife still cooks, clean, and does the shopping as well as the bills, all the things she did before retirement.” This statement made me think; there seems to be some truth here. I won’t dwell on this subject, while I consider it food for thought. But retirement should be a joint venture for the married couples; this is only my opinion. So as I’ve watched over the past few months, I noticed many of the couples doing their own thing. Many of the men have their toys, whether they’re decking out their golf carts with fancy wheels and such, or hanging out on golf courses or auto clubs, they are definitely enjoying their retirement. As for the women…some are making items for craft fairs, engaging in classes, or taking walks throughout the neighborhoods, while others are still the home body, making runs to grocery stores, cooking and entertaining. These couples seem to be content, and it works for them.

What is sad, is the couple that retires to these communities and one suddenly takes ill; it’s a heart-breaker. It is an all too common scenario. Stories are endless like these, and usually after a very short time this couple is no longer. The surviving spouse will move back to where they came from, in order to be surrounded by family and familiar friends. If that isn’t the case, the other gets involved in community activities to keep busy. Depending if it’s a man or women, things just turn out different here. Men will date sooner than women, in fact…men are out looking for another companion, while the women just want to be with their friends… and while they grieve longer, in the end they usually decide against another marriage. Men and women are clearly wired differently, right to the end of life. Age doesn’t play a factor as to what they’re choosing to do these days; they want to do the things they never had the chance to do, like riding in a Hot Air Balloon or getting in the cockpit of an F-16. It’s the latter part of life and they’re out to live it the best they can.

Make your week count.