By Rowdy Ron Rowden
I’ve been retired for over four years now. I couldn’t wait to retire since my supervisor was driving me to drink. Although I didn’t mind the drinking part, my days were very stressful. I’d been in the Information Technology world for over 40 years and was ready for a change. So for the first few months it seemed pretty good to be retired.
I retired the first of February, that spring I joined a golf league. Which was very enjoyable. I caught up on my reading and worked on some projects around the house that I had put off. And mowed my 2 plus acres of grass or did the snow blowing depending on the season and all the other maintenance that is involved in having a house in the country on the river.
Of course, my wife decided that she will never retire. She is self-employed and loves her work. I’ve always been happy about that but since I retired I started to wonder if she was continuing to work to avoid spending too much time with me. My mind began to come up with all sorts of scenarios about life. Perhaps I had too much free time.
After a couple of years of retirement, I was downright unhappy with life. So I decided that if we sold the country house and moved into town that could make me happy. Then, I wouldn’t have so much yard work and I could golf more and take the dog to the dog park. I had convinced myself that this would be a good plan. Although when I told my wife she was not so happy about it.
However, after a month or two, my wife decided that we should check out houses in Janesville and see what was available. It didn’t take long for us to find a house that we both thought would be a good fit. We put in an offer and it was accepted. So the sorting, discarding and packing started. It’s amazing what two people can accumulate in 18 years. We decided that it would be too much to try to sell our country house and move all at the same time. So we would have two houses for a while.
Closing on the Janesville house was on Feb. 4, 2014 and we moved on Feb. 20. Well, all of the packing and unpacking kept me from being bored for a while. Once we had moved everything, the fun began with painting and fixing up of the country house so we could sell it. Of course, I then had snow blowing and lawn mowing to do at two houses. It’s amazing how boredom will create situations to try to keep one entertained.
Then the stress from owning two houses really started to set into my body. I was completely miserable for months on end. The country house finally sold and we closed the day after Thanksgiving. What a relief! Now I really started to attack my boredom by starting to plan how to do all the updates at the new house. That kept me entertained for a few more months.
Retirement had been a dream for so long but it had turned into a nightmare. The Universe was trying to drive me over the edge. This spring my wife encouraged me to follow up on a suggestion that some friends had made in the winter. It was to volunteer at the Rotary Gardens which is close to where we live here in Janesville. The group is called the Grumpies. It’s a group of retired people with time on their hands.
There are a lot of different projects to be completed at the gardens. In April, I swept sand off the sidewalks one day. They had decorated the garden for the holidays and spread sand on the sidewalks for families to walk safely through the gardens to see all the decorations. Another day I painted obelisks. Recently, I helped to dig up hundreds of tulips when they were done blooming for the season. A nice perk was to get to take some tulips home and share them with others.
So on most Monday and Thursday mornings I work with the Grumpies. It’s a great group of guys. I had really missed the camaraderie that I had enjoyed with coworkers. I was starting to feel some happiness again. I think my wife is happier, too, now that I’m out of the house more at the Grumpies and golfing.