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Driving Each Other Crazy in Retirement?

November 1, 2019

No, not likely to take up churning my own butter, but my husband and I enjoyed this step back in time at Humpback Rocks pioneer farm along the Blue Ridge Parkway recently.

Another Way for week of November 1, 2019

Driving Each Other Crazy in Retirement?

(Or, my latent, domestic side)

“Are you driving each other crazy yet?” This question from my dental hygienist caught me off guard because yes, I knew it was an issue for some couples. But in a word, no, we are not driving each other crazy yet, I’m happy to say. Frankly I’m a little surprised because, yes, that is something to worry/wonder about, along with preparing financially. But I’m currently feeling contented and perhaps curiously to some, cautiously celebrating a return—or perhaps launch—of a delayed domestic life.

Loving a table full of friends and family.



I used to think what I wanted to do after high school was just get married and have children. I guess you could call me a domestic at heart. I looked forward to having a home and family of my own. The role models around me were mostly women doing just that: being homemakers and full-time mothers in their homes.

That bubble burst while I was a senior in high school participating in a retreat with other high schoolers. I will never forget the counselor who asked us what our hopes were for after graduation. I said something like “get married and have a family.” The wise man looked at me (no doubt a bit surprised) and pushed, “What if no husband comes along, Melodie? What then?” That was 1970 and the entry of large numbers of women and mothers into the work force had certainly begun; this may be a bit hard to believe now in 2019, but a career or longterm employment had not quite become a personal goal of mine at that time. I had never questioned that I would get married.

Picking apples with grandsons at amazing 200-years-in-the-same-family orchard, Stribling Orchard.

Let me hasten to say that I went on to attend college and began a wonderful job and career that I enjoyed 99 percent of the time. I was able to be involved in exciting, creative, mind-stretching and life-changing work. Even when our children came along, my husband and I decided I would stay in my job half time to help make ends meet, and as they grew and started school I gradually increased my hours over the years until I was working about 36 hours a week. I loved reserving a little domestic “me” time.

Walking our dog Velvet along a marvelous paved path (with stream) in Front Royal, Va.


I realize that at this point my husband and I are fortunate not to have to get up and go to work, although there are many that enjoy part time work long into retirement. Now that I am six months into retired status, I am relishing the opportunity to get up late, take a nap, read a book, work in the flower bed (during the day when I still have energy, not in the evening quickly before or after supper), clean out files, wipe the dust and lint from behind the dryer and refrigerator, go with my husband to the gym/pool, run errands around town, and travel to visit and help out with our growing grandchildren.

Late garden harvest–still producing through October.

This summer I enjoyed work like canning and freezing vegetables from our garden. Even though it’s still a chore, it’s much better to be canning at 11 in the morning than 11 at night. I’ve even done some mending and have many more deep cleaning and organizing projects to launch. I’m enjoying baking pies and taking meals to those with an ill or recuperating family member.

So yes, I’m a little surprised by the contented blooming of my domestic side. Not that life is perfect; patience, love, and forgiveness are required in all stages of life.

Enjoying volunteering with our local Broadway Lions Club, here at the annual Pancake Days.

Likely the spouse who is able to retire first ends up establishing somewhat of a routine. In our case it was my husband. One relative said she retired first and enjoyed her own routine of going to the gym, then having extended coffee time with women there, which she didn’t want to give up. After her husband retired several years later, he fell into his own routine—of always feeling like tomorrow would be a better day to get started on XYZ. “There’s always the next day to keep you procrastinating,” he warned.

Thank you Lord for many simple blessings.

Until there’s not, of course. Again, no matter what age or stage we’re at, we all benefit by accepting each day as a gift, and NOT put off until tomorrow what we want to get done today.


What do you hope to do in retirement? Do you worry/wonder about whether you will be happy? I’d love to hear from you with your experiences, or wonderings about the future! Comment here or through the addresses below.


For a free short book, Work Therapy, contact me at or write to Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  



  1. Since retiring, I’ve fallen into a writing routine that I have embraced since I made the commitment to blog in 2013. My husband has been self-employed for more than thirty years, but is home more since he travels less and less with his art/music performances. Our house is laid out in such a way, that we often don’t know where each other is unless there are noises, like the microwave door I hear shutting in the kitchen right now.

    Usually he leaves for a coffee-shop in the morning to work on art and is gone for 4-5 hours during my peak work time. The only time we were driving each other crazy was in the weeks leading up to my book pub, when the deadlines for the manuscript and art work for my memoir loomed. That’s behind us now, but he still helps with book promotion, which I welcome wholeheartedly!

    I admire your garden harvesting and volunteer work with your husband. Viva la retirement years!

    • Thanks for this great description of how you make gathered and scattered time as a couple work for you. The separate spaces where you can each hang out is helpful. I’m glad the deadlines are behind you for your book and I’m sure he’s a willing companion as you travel now for book promo. You surely did work hard on it! So gratifying to see the results.

  2. martyw37 permalink

    Hi Melodie
    I had not worked outside of our home when my husband was working and although he didn’t have a huge income but we were able to sustain our home and family.
    He was able to take an early retirement at the age of 52 and after 33 years at Bell Canada.
    He continued to start a small company and worked for him self for many years .
    Now we are into our 63rd year of marriage and have gone out together for 66 years . We enjoy our life together and still are able to do many things that we enjoy with our family, children ,
    grandchildren and great grandchildren and friends.
    We have a great church family here in our new home of over 7 years (having moved from our former home of over 38 years and we have many outside things that we can still do . God is good!

    • Thanks for sharing more detail here, Caro-Claire. You are closer to my mother’s generation, who didn’t work outside of the home either (unless you count the garden and occasional field work) :-). 66 years of knowing each other–and you still look so sweet and great for each other and in love. I know you have had numerous health challenges. Thanks for your testimony regarding the grace of God as we go through life! Blessings to you and good to hear from you.

  3. I’m looking at entering this next phase in the next 10-12 months. I’m already looking forward to catching up on gardening and writing, writing, writing. So many stories have lingered on the back burner for two long – tales that need more time involved for deeper research than I’ve been able to allocate to them.
    I enjoyed reading about how your life has transitioned in this new terrain.

  4. Oh wow, Trisha, I didn’t realize you were thinking about retirement this soon! Stories needing research–does that mean working on novels? Perhaps that’s not retiring but whatever is ahead for you sounds interesting and exciting and fulfilling. New terrain: yes! I like that way of putting it. Let’s keep connected as you journey! Blessings. (And I’ll try not to write too often about the ups and downs too much.)

  5. Yes, retirement is coming soon. People have warned my wife that she will be getting half the income and twice the husband.

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