Retired Husbands - Pain or Gain?
Working people on the verge of retirement look forward to their last day of work. After working for 30 over years, there is nothing more pleasurable then calling it a day, not worry about getting up early to go to work, meeting deadlines or projects to complete and producing results. They drool when they think about freedom from work, their much needed rest and needless to say enjoy their gratuity or pension, like going for holidays and pursuing their hobbies. In short, doing things they never had the time or money to do so when they were working. 

But alas, retirement is not all bliss as some newly retired husbands discover. A friend of mine who retired early as she had to take care of her children when they were young now finds that her newly retired hubby is a pain. He demands that his wife be at his side at all times and is annoyed when she has her own programme. To start with, he questions her on her daily activities.

“What!? Coffee morning again? Why do the luncheons with your friends have to stretch to tea-time.? Are you going shopping again? What do you need to buy? You have everything already. What is this activity call line dancing that takes two hours of your time?”

Manicure, pedicure, volunteer work at the handicap center, sewing sessions - all these words are foreign to him. The husband who once thought that retirement was bliss began to have second thoughts. Many of the friends he has are still working. His older friends who are retirees have their own activities. His adult children have no time for him. He turns to his wife for constant companionship only to find that she has activities of her own that do not include him.

Wives at a line-dance class
The wives of today refuse to be tied down to housework. They have fun-filled activities that stimulate their minds and in so doing they have a bigger circle of friends. But the newly retired husband clings to his wife.  He becomes a pain. Soon he gets tired of reading. There is a limit to the television programmes that he can watch and then he becomes a nag. He is envious that his wife is more sociable than he is.
Another friend told me that her newly retired hubby decided to do spring cleaning and in so doing, cleared the storeroom of things that she needed. He meant well but angered her as he had disposed of things that she had cherished.

Yet another newly retired husband became a hypochondriac. From a healthy senior he started to develop imaginary aches, pains and headaches and demanded constant attention and unnecessary visits to the doctor. He became unkempt and was always seen in his faded tee shirt and shorts. As he had nothing to do, he started to find fault with family members and neighbours. He complained incessantly about life in general. Truth be told, he aged by leaps and bounds.

I remember this senior colleague of mine who used to mark on his calendar the retirement date and tell me what his activities would be like. He was going to paint his fence, repair some faulty appliances, polish his car till it looked like new and in his own words, just relax. Two months later, this same enthusiastic retiree was looking for part-time jobs. Retirement, he sheepishly confessed, was not his cup of tea! He was bored to tears, and was a nuisance to his wife and family. Today he is doing part-time lecturing at a private college. He is enjoying himself, deeply immersed in his new found job. The pay packet though small is not an issue. He is gainfully employed and happily occupied.

But there are two sides of the coin.

Retiree indulging in his hobby
My neighbour on his retirement has embarked on his hobby - gardening. After six months of retirement he has a manicured garden to show off, the envy of his neighbours. He grows passion fruits, bananas and papayas, and also herbal plants. The best part is when he reaps the harvests we all get a share of it. His organic fruits and vegetables are indeed a delight. It is such a joy to see him tend to the garden daily. He looks healthy. His eyes sparkle when he tells us about his plants.

My uncle too has taken to retirement kindly. He has his own activities and respects the activities which his wife has and they meet up for dinner. His day starts with golfing with his friends bright and early in the morning. He and his friends often lay a wager and the losers pay for breakfast. Nothing elaborate, just a cup of coffee and maybe a packet of nasi lemak or some cakes. Over breakfast they sit and yarn about politics, their health, and a post-mortem on their golf game. 

Grandpa spending time with grandchildren
By 11 am he is back home to read the papers. Sometimes he has lunch with his cronies and then he goes on the computer or watches television. If the weather is favourable he goes for an evening walk, this time with another set of friends. When he and his wife are not off on a holiday, they are grandparents on call. When their adult children need them to baby sit they are there to lend a helping hand. During long school holiday breaks they take the grandchildren to their home and give their children a break. It is evident that my uncle really enjoys his new found retirement.

Yet another newly retired husband is my cousin’s other half. He converted his garage into his work- room. He bought a DIY set and now he churns out useful things. I was presented with a footstool to put up my legs when I watch TV – a much appreciated handmade gift of love. His children too get lovely gifts. The other day, his daughter-in-law proudly showed off the wooden trolley that he had made. He is now going to make for his wife a spice rack.

Yes, these retirees are certainly really a gain.

And so retired husbands, which one are you - a pain or a gain? Don’t know the answer? Ask your wife.