Retirement Lifestyle Question--need more structure
August 7, 2016 8:39 AM   Subscribe

My husband and I retired and moved to a resort town and immediately met great friends who are very active athletically and we are constantly being invited to do beautiful hikes and wonderful social things with them. I have actually become very fit and have benefited by all the social activity. (I am an introvert). So my question is how to balance all the social/hiking with my need for down time/alone time/homemaking time. I need more homemaking time but don't want to cut off the hiking invitations. Having my husband around more had given me even less alone time so I am feeling like I need more structure to my weeks.

Is this as simple as saying yes to hiking on Monday Wednesday and Friday and Saturday and no to the other days? Most of the hikes are 4-5 hours door to door.

Any lifestyle tips are welcome! I am not complaining. I have a wonderful life. Just need some help managing my time.

I also need help figuring out better how to spend my time (ie hobbies) instead of doing the things my friends and or husband likes.

Thank you!
posted by seekingsimplicity to Human Relations (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm newly retired, and I don't yet have your problem. However, I think that a name for your alone-time and a schedule could help. In my case, I have sailboat races on Thursdays evenings in the summer. Everyone who knows me knows that. If I can't join an activity on Thursday, they understand.

My wife and I are taking some EdEx courses in topics of interest. I think it may take the place for us that Elder Hostel did for our parents (who were more into travel).
posted by SemiSalt at 8:51 AM on August 7, 2016

If you accept invitations regularly even if not every time, and if you are seen to be having fun and enjoying yourself on the occasions when you do come out, I think you'll keep getting invited. If you beg off with a specific excuse—even if that excuse is something boring, like needing to do housework—people will generally understand. It's OK to say that you're just not feeling it that one time, too. Just make sure that you do accept on a regular basis.

I would caution against giving people a schedule of what days you are willing to hike, except perhaos to your husband. You don't want to put people in the position of feeling like they're expected to manage your schedule for you. If your husband is in a position where if it comes up he can say "Oh, Wednesdays are Simplicity's day to work in the garden, she probably won't want to come out then," then that all to the good. But generally just make sure that people know you are available and interested, and it'll be fine if you don't come out every time.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:20 AM on August 7, 2016 [11 favorites]

(P.S. I envy you for all the hiking opportunities it sounds like you have! Have fun out there!)
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:22 AM on August 7, 2016

When they invite you and you need some alone time, you can simply say, "Not today, thanks! I look forward to next time, though!"
posted by lazuli at 9:26 AM on August 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Have you considered your husband going on some hikes without you?
posted by studioaudience at 9:41 AM on August 7, 2016 [7 favorites]

Having my husband around more had given me even less alone time so I am feeling like I need more structure to my weeks.

When I began homeschooling my sons, it soon became clear that the entire family operated on an assumption that if hubby and/or kids were at home, I was at their beck and call. This worked okay when the kids were in school, but quickly became untenable when they were home all the time.

It sounds like you are experiencing something similar with retirement. With one or both of you no longer pursuing a paid job, built in structure has evaporated and some rule of thumb that worked fine before is ill suited to your new reality.

We handled it by instituting some rules to protect us, time-wise and energy-wise, from each other while all home all the time. If it wasn't an emergency, no, I was not going to drop everything. I and the kids began notifying each other that we needed to talk and began making an appointment for later in the afternoon if one of us was currently busy. I sometimes shut my bedroom door so I could journal or something. They learned to knock and ask if I was available or not.

You might want to set some additional boundaries with hubby and also decide how much hiking you want to do and let people know something like "I have been having a great time, but three hikes a week is all I can sustainably handle. I am already booked up for this week. So, I can't also go Thursday. Thanks!"

I wouldn't tell people it is to set time aside for homemaking. Some people seem to feel that doesn't really count as an obligation. Ditto your hobbies. Some people will think if you set x time aside for "hobbies," then hiking is an option because it is also a hobby.

Just sit down and write up your own schedule, then let other people know how much of your time they can have. Do not feel obligated to justify or explain the time set aside for other things.
posted by Michele in California at 9:43 AM on August 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Encourage your husband to make some guy friends and join clubs on his own, so he can go do stuff with them periodically and leave you home alone.
posted by lizbunny at 10:15 AM on August 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Along the lines of what lazuli said, I've found that asking folks for a raincheck is a way to gently say no while conveying interest for next time.
posted by oceano at 10:19 AM on August 7, 2016

I am retired, and need time to myself also. I just say "Oh gee, I would LOVE to but I'm always busy on Tuesday and Thursday. Can we do that another day?" You don't have to say what exactly you are busy doing, but if pressed I say "Oh, life's necessities, haha." But you DO need to make sure your husband is on the same page and backs you up. He can say "yeah, she takes care of business on those days."
posted by raisingsand at 11:49 AM on August 7, 2016

Send a short text or email after fun events- "thanks again for a fun day- always great catching up with you!" The resulting warm feelings will ensure nobody thinks you don't enjoy the outings when you occasionally decline. Plus it's an easy way to deepen friendship.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:29 PM on August 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'm often in this situation with wonderful people suggesting great hikes and outings, many of which I deeply enjoy. When I can't go, I've learned to say: "Sorry can't make it this time, but I'd love to get out on the trails soon. Keep me in the loop." I don't know about everyone else, but reading everyone's particular reasons for declining an outing is too much information! If the invitations fall off, which they probably won't, then generate your own as well.
posted by Elsie at 4:13 PM on August 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

Seconding Elsie's comment - I now tend to decline invitations with just "I'm sorry, I can't make it, thanks so much for the invitation - hopefully next time" and resist the temptation to offer a reason. It's totally normal to have diary clashes and not be able to accept every invitation. As long as you go a reasonable amount and keep being positive about it, you'll get invited again.
posted by penguin pie at 4:55 PM on August 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Invent an interest that sometimes, "inconveniently," contradicts your new interests. Do not feel guilty about it. Make sure your friends do not figure it out.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:44 PM on August 7, 2016

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