When you retire you think you’ll be able to travel and live the retiree’s dream. However, life may have other plans. We went to Hawaii right after retirement and spent nearly three weeks there. It was lovely.
Very soon after I retired, my mom began to need more and more help. She really wouldn’t have been been able to stay in her own home without my husband’s and my ever growing help. Over 7 years or so, Mom’s health steadily declined. Ultimately, I couldn’t go out of town further than 2 hours drive unless I had someone else on call.
My husband had developed A-fib a few months before he retired which required a pacemaker. A few months went by before I had to ask my kiddos, “Is he just driving me crazy [since we are spending so much time together] and I am being a B, or is there a real problem here.” They agreed we had a problem. He was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s which was easily “ignored” and hidden from others at first, but is insidiously progressing. I was constantly driving either or one or both of them 110 miles one way to see specialists, etc. I have been taking care of my mother’s business, with the help of my siblings, and taking over more and more of the things my husband used to to for our household. One of the ways I dealt with this entire situation was to sit in front of the television, eat and veg out. Oh yes, and procrastinate doing what I would eventually have to do anyway under mounting pressure as every hour and day ticked by.
Slowly other things that I loved, and long neglected interests that I was so looking forward to picking up again in retirement, got pushed to the back 40. I have always sought refuge in my plants, flowers and garden. I threw or gave away many plants a few years ago. My plants, flowers and garden have never been so neglected and ignored. All I had time for was taking care of the ones I loved and taking care of business. I neglected my friends and myself. The procrastination crept into every area of life.
After Mom’s death, for a fleeting moment I thought, “At last we [my husband and I] can go on those trips we dreamed about”. In reality, I had changed and our life together had changed during those seven years. I am not as brave, courageous, and willing to take a chance as I once was. I have to fight the dread of what life is bringing from the gradual decline of my husband’s mind and body. And, I can’t fix it. I have come to realize that procrastination is a fear. The only person who can deal with the procrastination wormhole is me, but it is hard.