The Retired Man I Live With

He retired 3 years ago.  I knew it would be an adjustment for both of us.

We worked together for the first year or so of his business.  I learned he has ADD.  He learned I don’t like to be ordered around.  We are both oldest children and both like to be in charge.  It did not go well.

The retired man I live with is always “doing.” His retirement hobby is puttering.  He loads and unloads the dishwasher, vacuums up the clumps of dog hair Sydney drops this time of year, and often fixes dinner.  Our yard is beautiful.  He painted the upstairs bathroom and put in new stick-on tile flooring.  He does his own laundry.

He takes care of me on days when my rheumatoid arthritis acts up or zaps my energy.  He has patience I never expected.  I feel loved.

His busy energy permeates my house and makes me crazy.

I am an introvert who requires solitude and quiet.  I never had long-term sadness about the “empty nest.”  They didn’t go far and I enjoyed the empty house while Mike worked.

I miss my empty house.  I miss my solitude and quiet.

I am spoiled rotten by the retired man I live with and I complain that he is always around.

Okay.  I know.  The only thing I have control over is myself.  And I’m better than I used to be at having the wisdom to know what I can change and what I cannot.

I’ve known the retired man I live with for 40 (!!) years.  He is not going to change.

I’ve never liked those little iPod ear-bud things.  But I think I’ll try being like a teenager and play some mellow music I like and tune out the active energy seeping up the stairs to my office.  I might even stuff a towel in the space between the door bottom and the floor, like you’re supposed to do if there’s a fire.

Got any other suggestions?

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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Robin it’s that Dorko gene…ask Bill I drive him crazy. He can’t keep track of me at home. I am here there and every where doing some thing. Don’t know if it’s a good thing or a curse?

    • Probably both! At least stuff gets done.
      Donna is the same, too. Sierra and I laugh about it.
      It’s go, go, go…sleep.

  2. How challenging…maybe there are other retired people in your community who could benefit from this talented man’s handyman skills? I hope you’ll be able to share this column with him; you’ve spoken the truth in love, and your need for regular solitude is as sacred as his to be “busy.” We all get to our center differently, no? My darling husband and I dance on this same balancing board…gentle peace as you collaborate and meet your needs…

    • He read it before I posted it.
      And this afternoon he left me alone in my room for several hours. We’re getting there.
      I love “dance on the same balancing board.”
      Please keep reading and commenting, Catherine.

  3. I understand the need for quiet, solitude….for space. It’s the only way I can create. And yet…isn’t it wonderful he loves you and cares for you so well…..but you have the right idea. Your office is your haven, your sanctuary and you (and you alone) have the keys to this sacred space.

    • I’m always glad to find other people who understand the need for solitude. Underwater must be heaven!

  4. I am so with you~! But my husband doesn’t fill the house with his energy. He fills it with the sound of TV. Drives me absolutely batty. I refuse to have a second or third set in the house. With only one set, at least I can go to a different room. Do try the ear buds. They work for me when we are traveling and I am stuck in a motel room with a TV and my husband.

    • We have the tv/radio/cd player issue, too. I like quiet A LOT. Ear buds here I come!

  5. I come from a family of loners and married one. My dad spent his time in the garden, my mom at her typewriter working on novels. My husband and I own some rural land and he goes there every day to photograph wildlife and watch the natural world. Like my mother I spend much of my time writing. Geography helps. Even if your territory is just a room, as long as it has a door there’s hope.

    • It has a door which I sometimes close. He does respect a closed door. It took a while!

  6. I think you need to do some weekend escapes…maybe a retreat? LOL Love your honesty!


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