How to manage living with your 24/7 retirement companion

Feb 26, 2023
Source: Getty

Yes, the day rolled around. The ageing male retired, living his new stage of life. What caused his retirement? Older age, health issues, time to retire from the rat race, you name it. At first, he sat there in a fugue, blaming everyone else. Like some ageing males, he got a bit surly and morose. 

It was retirement together, 24/7. At first, he wanted to come everywhere with me, even to do mundane things like supermarket shopping, and when I was choosing birthday cards for my family. I had been used to managing the household and pets on my own, and can still do so.

The ageing male soon lost interest in selecting the weekly groceries, as  I turned to one online shopping food delivery per week. That way, I did not have to act as his armed female escort everywhere.

The routine soon changed and sorted itself. Older people can be a bit dependent and querulous. Then there were the interruptions and endless questions.

“Where are you going now?”

“How long are you going to be?”

“What time will you be home?”

“What are you reading?”

“Why are you reading that?”

“Are you in bed already?”

“Looks like it!” I muttered quietly. 

Then there was the classic, “Hey, the TV remote is not working! I can’t fix it like you can!”

Being a pacifist, I realised that I had made a choice to persevere, and smiled as I kept up with my own modest part-time tutoring students, as well as keeping in touch with my social contacts and good family.

As a football umpire might say, “Play on.” So, this might be you next.

For retirement together, a woman needs to establish her own space, very relaxing, to follow her interests. My craft den was amazing. The woman of the household also needs to develop patience and tolerance, plus a good sense of humour.

I did subtly encourage the retired male to cultivate his own interests. His hobbies were local football and cricket matches, where there was a role for him to spend more time as a mentor and team manager of young players. They were quite absorbing hobbies really, even if it meant I prepared an array of water bottles and such.

Somehow, along the way, we all turned into boring old greys who barrack for crap football teams. I still do, part of this old city of ours. We probably would not have it any other way. Football continues to be one of my interests. These things happen. When in doubt, and anyone’s team is losing, throw chocolate. 

Funny now, the ageing male lived until nearly ninety years old, in retirement together. I am older now too and have learnt that we do not expect people of our age to do too much. Some do, and some don’t. One ageing male I know had a garden allotment, on a council property, where he grew vegetables for his family and friends, donating the excess to the underprivileged. Good choice, doing things for the community.

I still like getting up with the larks, finishing chores bright and early, meals prepped and then having lazy senior afternoons. There are other things to think about than the past. No complaints, no biggies. We can wake up with chirpy smiles, and do things with a joyful heart.

It could be you next.

What are your plans for retirement together, 24/7? 

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