New Positive Beginnings require Soul Searching and Honesty ~ personally and politically

What a year we’ve had, my hubby and I ~ Both travelling around and living in Kinghorn, Fife ~ enjoying a sabbatical and writer’s retreat ~ making new friends and soaking up the warm Scottish hospitality. We were so fortunate, but how has life been this summer ~ back in sunny England?

As Scotland and rUK (rest of the UK) grapple with their changing circumstances and new relationship, here at home here we have also gone though a similarly momentous but personal, parallel struggle.

First of all my husband reached 60 and, rather than retiring decided to take a sabbatical this summer to decide what to do next at his leisure. This had a double edged sword. On the one hand it left his options open ~ a psychological positive when coping with the aftermath of leaving an all consuming job which was stressful, yes, but certainly in the last year extremely rewarding. (even though his blood pressure kept on increasing along with the medication)

The downside to this was uncertainly. Would we be returning to live in Scotland in the autumn? Would we sell the house this time? I had no choice but to try and relax and let him make the decision in his own time, even though it made it impossible for me to make plans for either my writing or publishing projects. I had enjoyed a year long sabbatical, but applying for jobs and possibly returning to part time work was also impossible for now. I had no idea where I would be living. (The deadline for applying for college posts for September passed and I like to think this was meant to be ~ was that path was closed from me for a  reason?)

Secondly, and this is a very personal one, don’t let anyone tell you that getting used to each others company 24/7 is easy. I had been used to long periods when I could organise my time and make my own decisions. At times I felt like screaming…I just need to be alone for a while….and my brain stopped functioning properly. I could not plan my day, let alone my life. My confidence in social media crashed with activities squeezed ~ my writing ground to a bare minimum and all I could concentrate on were the two publishing projects I was already committed to, for fellow writers. Marketing – phew, what is that?

Thirdly the four year age gap. ‘We are world’s apart’ my husband kept repeating. When he had time to explain, he said that he understood that I was not ready to retire, but had plans and dreams for future projects. On the other hand his desire was to downsize and be free to see the world and do something different with his life, but was not sure what it was yet. He also wanted to live near the sea whereas I felt I needed to be near my elderly parents, family and friends.

We were at loggerheads!

It was a painful time for both of us, when it should have been such a joy. Family events and the many catch-up jobs around the house meant that we were unable to escape, as my husband would have liked, and anyway, I had work to do. We’d been travelling for nearly a year now and I needed to take root for a while.

Occasionally we enjoyed refreshing days out when a truce was silently agreed upon ~ to the north Norfolk coast, Lincolnshire and places of beauty and interest in and around Bedfordshire, but back at home it was as if knives were drawn. (My murder mystery ‘Murder now and then’ set aside here! A friend tells me that my powers of prediction are uncanny…God forbid for that one to come true too!)

Unsurprising it was back in Scotland on a ten day break that we finally made peace with each other. I don’t know whether it was the ambiance of the sea, the fellowship of the people who have become so dear to us or just the magic of Kinghorn itself but, half way through our stay, two friends demanded that we were totally honest with each other about what we each wanted out of life and why. It was soul-searching, tough but it was the beginning of an amazing time of healing.

We returned ready to acknowledge each other’s needs and try to find compromises where we had been ‘worlds apart.’ Although nothing had physically changed. Though we still spend a huge amount of time at home ‘together,’ the majority of the angst has evaporated and I’ll explain a little of how we did it in my next post. (Though we have decided it is ‘better together’ we know that we need quality time to feel independent too and to respect and acknowledge each other’s needs)

Are you coping with the challenges of retirement? Tell me about it. Did you plan beforehand?

Are you a 50 something whose career has been cut short due to redundancy? Have you changed direction and how has it altered your life?

I would love to have more guest posts of the heartwarming ways you have overcome either of the above. Whether it is just a piece of advice or whole proposed post I look forward to hearing from you:



About Diana Jackson

Author of 'The Healing Paths of Fife', Historical Romantic fiction ~ The Riduna Series set in 19th and early 20th Century a murder mystery ~ 'Murder, Now and Then' and two memoir. What links my books ~ history! Riduna on Twitter and on Facebook too!
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3 Responses to New Positive Beginnings require Soul Searching and Honesty ~ personally and politically

  1. Pat says:

    This is an interesting post, Diana, and heartfelt. I can relate to what you’re saying and feeling in so many ways, though a little further along the road of retirement myself. I officially retired in 2012 after my full-time job was outsourced. I guess you could say I was gently ushered in that direction. I would have been happy to continue in that position for as long as they wanted me but the ‘forces that be’ had other ideas of which I’m still learning.

    I’m still adjusting being home with hubby 24/7. He retired some 15+ years ago working on some things of his own and enjoys the solitude. While I enjoy the solitude, I still miss the daily interaction and camaraderie of co-workers and friends. It’s difficult at times and still a work in progress. For me, I can see a fine tuning that’s happening in my heart and soul. I don’t know where it will lead but I can’t help but feel there’s more I need to do.

    It’s tough when life and routines change and you’re in the process of adapting, especially when you still have so much in your heart that needs to be expressed. I love how you’re both working through it together. It sounds like you’re taking it slow and your strong love for each other is helping you honor what you both feel and where you’re coming from. Because of it, no doubt you’ll both arrive at a far better place than you could have imagined. It’s what I feel is happening for us.

    Be patient and good to each other — you’ll be okay. I hope we can encourage and help each other along the way, my friend. I’m excited to see what the future holds for you and what you’ll discover.

  2. Hi Pat I understand how you feel about missing the folks at work. I do too but I was fortunate that everything was so refreshingly new in Scotland that I rarely had time to brood ~ and then in tended to coincide with a trip down south when everything would flood back. It has been harder here because we have to begin to carve a future for ourselves. We did think of relocating, and still do, but there are so many reasons why I feel the place for us to be is here in Bedfordshire. Working at coping with having each others company 24/7 is much harder than i thought it would be. I think that Kingorn will always play a special part in our lives now ~ as does Alderney and Cornwall. Thank you so much for your comments. best wishes to you and yours

    • Pat says:

      They are challenges, Diana, for sure. But, oh so worth it just in the excitement of exploring and discovering who you are. It must be lovely to have special places like those in Scotland to draw inspiration from. I’m excited for you.

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