Like almost everyone else I know, my wife and I have both been working from home during the COVID-19 situation. The stereotypical picture of what happens to couples when both are “retired” is that the wife is soon ready to run the husband out of the house; they find that the many years of having their own careers and circles of friends has left them with few common interests and no hobbies. What we have found, since we’re both a few years away from when we want, as a former professional colleague put it, to “go home” from the workplace, we’ve been seeing the current situation as a rehearsal for that day.
While we’ve both been mostly focused on our respective work obligations during the day, and my job has required going into the office a couple of days each week, we’ve enjoyed the chance to have lunch together and to share during the day what is going on with each of our jobs, something we haven’t been able to do before. We’ve also found that we’ve had more time to do other things around the house, especially in our yard (I prefer the British term garden myself). Creating a beautiful garden to live in is something we both enjoy — a legacy from her grandmother and both of my parents (especially Mom).
The weather has been mild and, with no commute time consuming part of our days, we’ve had times for walks together more often. Even with the heavy pollen in Atlanta this time of year, we’ve enjoyed a few opportunities to enjoy our garden, while not working on it, from our deck where I’m sitting now as I write this on a gorgeous, cool, breezy Sunday afternoon with a glass of iced tea close by. I hear the birds in the nearby trees and watch them come to the feeder mounted on the rail of our deck — bluebirds, nuthatches, two species of woodpecker, chickadees, and cardinals (among others). There’s a purple finch there now, and we see goldfinches too in their bright yellow summer plumage.
So, all this to say that if this is a picture of what retirement for us will be like, I say bring it on. We look forward to spending our days doing our new “work” tasks. For her, painting in pastel that has become her passion, maybe even some watercolor or scratchboard some day. For me, woodworking, reading, writing more like this, and maybe some drawing or watercolor myself.
Because of this, COVID-19, while scary and cause for concern, has been a gift. For us, it has been an opportunity to rehearse, at least some, for “retirement”.