This Couple Shares Wisdom on Retirement Togetherness 24/7

This Couple Shares Wisdom on Retirement Togetherness 24/7

They had demanding, top-tier careers in the fast-paced world of high tech.  Busy, A-type, long days at the office with world travel thrown in, type of careers.  With little time for planning, they each retired early, at 50, and have been happily together, a lot, ever since.  What’s their secret for harmonious retirement togetherness?


Retirement Trailblazers

Full disclosure.  I have known Denise and Karl for 25 years.  Most of that time, has been during their retirement. Conversations with them are always interesting and thought-provoking, and usually involve good food and wine.  Denise was a trailblazer in her career, usually the only woman in the room, and Karl was leading change in a change-adverse organization. When the opportunity came, they each had to decide quickly about early retirement.  Karl retired first, and Denise followed about four years later.


“Society wasn’t ready for us”


Denise and Karl were leading the new wave and paradigm shift in retirement and society hadn’t caught on yet.  They were young, healthy, had good financial resources, and wanted to do things. (They haven’t changed.)  What was available to the new retirees was, in a word, depressing.  Retirement living, activities, travel or hobbies offered were geared to the less able elderly.  So, they paved their own way, together.


Pace Adjustment

How did these former executives adapt to retirement life?  It took both Karl and Denise about six months to adjust to their new life.  Initially, they missed the benefits of work such as the social interaction and teamwork.  Otherwise, their lives hadn’t changed that much.


“We never said, let’s wait until we retire. If we wanted to do it, we did it.”


They continued their leisure, hobbies and interests they enjoyed before retirement.  Travel, dining out, visiting friends, equestrian, wine and other interests continued.  Having a variety of interests was important.  “If you sew five days a week, it becomes a job.” The only change was their pace.   They have the freedom and flexibility to set their own pace.  But, her pace is a tad different than his!


That Togetherness Thing

Karl and Denise definitely have different personalities and neither of them are ‘pushovers’.  She’s got to be busy, doing things, learning things, going places.  He’s the calm, yoga-practicing, meditating, art-appreciating type.  They are together almost all the time.  In the time I have known them, I have never heard one complain about the other. Never.  Not one nit-pick.


“We really enjoy each other’s company.  We like each other.”


That’s the key.  They are best friends.  They want to do things together.  They want to experience retirement together. And they have made a conscious choice to do so.  Choices like having one car, a nice one, even though they live in the country.  Errands, activities or socializing – they do it together.


“Never say no.”


That’s Karl, the self-described introvert.  If one wants to do something or follow a new interest, they discuss it first and come to an agreement that works for both.  They find a way they can enjoy the new interest together.

Case in point, wine university in France.  Wine is Denise’s love.  She wanted to live in France for a year and study to become a Master Sommelier. Wine is a secondary interest for Karl, but he wanted to practice his French and work in the vineyards.  And that’s what they did.  Togetherness.


“Do things that you like.  Don’t be a clone of the other.”


If someone does what you want to do all the time, you will lose them.  In retirement, your mate is the most important person, you don’t want to lose their uniqueness, their individuality.  Remain who you are.   Which means, you must know yourself. “If it means going on a 5-day trip on your own, then do it.”


Words of Wisdom

Denise: “Do it earlier rather than later.  There’s so much to do, and it may be more difficult to do later.”

Karl: “Mutual appreciation of each other:  If you’ve got that, you’ve got it made.”


Both Denise and Karl continue to be fully engaged in life following their individual interests, together.  Best buds!


“It’s amazing what two people can do together, when they really appreciate each other.”


Care to share?

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