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Stress in Retirement

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I know, it sounds impossible. When I first stopped working I was terrified: What would I do with my time? What would get me out of bed in the morning? What would shape my life, give me purpose? Well, like most retirees, it wasn't long before I wondered when I ever found the time to work. Life was slower, I had control over what I would do most days.

But then, the activities took on a life of their own. Which isn't a bad thing. I LOVE going to 6 or 7 stores a week to buy food because I love to cook and spend a couple of hours every night making food better than any (well, most) restaurant. I was available to help out my kids more than ever before, and be part of my grandchildren's lives.

When my husband had a few strokes, then broke his leg (which still hasn't healed), I was able to take good care of him here at home. Which made a dreadful situation much better.

Now my mother needs my help. She is having trouble managing her affairs so I will be taking over. It's an easy task by itself, but I will essentially be working for her. I want her to be happy, but since retiring I'm kind of used to doing things my way in my time. "Do you REALLY need to shop at that many stores just for food?" Well by now, yes.

All these things that I started doing to "fill up time" all those years ago have become my comfort, express my creativity. The stress comes in having to curtail what others see as frivolous so that I can help Mom.

I can get through about anything if I have the time to cook and eat well. The only practical stress reliever I have is cooking, which seems to be irrelevant to many people in this day of take out and ready made food.

I have maintained my loss for a long time by cooking, and took it to a whole new level after retiring. My mother doesn't like to eat, doesn't understand why I like to eat, and has little patience for interests in which she doesn't share. I'll manage but it is going to be a second very stressful year in a row.

Funny, even in stress, it's all about the food.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Nell best wishes. I too know the comfort of cooking. When I am cooking my family healthy food it is relaxing and rewarding. Best of luck dealing with the stress.
    2207 days ago
    You are right about the food factor. It always pops up in our life somewhere, eh? I love that you have used cooking as a method of therapy for life. You clearly show love by cooking and feeding good stuff to great people.
    My uncle is the same way as your mother about food- almost aloof. It used to make me mad, but now I can see why he can disappear for hours on a nature walk. Clearly, his mind and mine are in different realms. But as long as your mom feels how much you care for her (by helping to care for her now), I am sure she is happy. You certainly DO have a full plate though; amazing wife to your hubbie,amazing chef, and amazing daughter!!!

    Is this where I spill the beans that I was at a research hospital this past week and mapped out Trader Joes BEFORE we started our 100 mile drive to the hospital since I am so spoiled with good food myself!? Ha!!!
    2208 days ago
    Wow I can relate to retirement and being so busy now. I retired in October. Yes I am doing things my way in my time too!
    2210 days ago
  • KANOE10
    Keep cooking Nell and do what you love to do..that makes you happy. You are being such a strong person taking care of your mother..and helping your husband..But be sure to make time for you..even if others don't understand or it does not matter to them.
    I love to cook also. It brings me great pleasure to find new dishes! Hope you have a good day..and find time to cook something wonderful.

    2210 days ago
    Nell, we never know how strong we really are -until we have to be. Or so they say....
    It's hard work - just being strong & being there for others. Us chicks are really good at it too. But it does wear one out, doesn't it? Take all the advice into consideration, & fit it in where you're able. I'm pretty sure you're gonna get thru each day somehow, so it may as well be with your smile intact & a sense of pride. That sounds like a good plan anyway - but I know its tough to follow thru on it some days. Keep trying to "remain yourself." It will only help you with all the stuff life is throwing at you.
    Keep sparking friend -
    June :)
    2210 days ago
    I guess before you retire there isn't time for everything to go to hell, but there sure is then. Family, health and everything. I totally understand where you are coming from.

    Make time for yourself. Watch your health. Be sure to have your mammograms. I thought I was home free and I wasn't. They have digitals now that catch everything sooner. If you feel depressed, ask for something. I waited too long.

    Life is better now. Live life to the fullest. Peg
    2210 days ago
    I understand and I agree with you Nell. emoticon
    2211 days ago
    I retired 6 years ago. and I had many of the same "retirement" fears as you. After 2 years of retirement I bought my street bike, joined 3 different motorcycle organizations. Motorcycles really helped keep me occupied with club functions and long road-trips. My mother has been in good health up until a couple of years ago it has been declining. Mostly age related but she is so far self-sufficient, still drives short distance. She is now 91 years and the age is starting to take its toll and has reduced her abilities to get around as well with walking outside.
    My worry is the day she will be unable to be totally self-sufficient and require more care.

    I feel for you and know what you are going through. Take care and do as much as you can to enjoy life.
    2211 days ago

    More than ever, you need to keep that time of shopping,
    cooking and eating because it brings you joy.
    You have dealt with a lot in the last year, and while I
    know your mother is important to you, if you don't care
    for your needs/wants, then you will not be able to care
    and do for others.

    I know it is hard for them to understand that this brings
    you so much enjoyment, but your health has to be your
    priority, and everything else falls into place.

    It will keep you will keep you happier. In
    the long run, that will allow you to deal with everything else
    in your life.

    Is your mother still living at home? her home, I should say??

    Blessings and keep us posted....
    2211 days ago
    It is and needs to remain about your health... Sounds like everyone is adjusting to the changes to the best of their abilities!

    Cook on Lady Nell!

    2211 days ago
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