Algarvean Daze

Events & Activities - mainly during the daytime - across the Algarve

The Hidden Side Of Retirement Planning

Aren't you lucky? If I've heard those words once I've heard them more times than the remaining hairs on my head. The reference is, however erroneous, about our retiring to the Algarve.

First, luck had nothing to do with it. We didn't win the lottery, nor did we derive any sort of windfall from the untimely demise of some unknown reclusive relative with a mattress stuffed full of thousand dollar/pound/euro notes. Second, retirement, early or not, comes with it's own baggage.

Yes, we were prepared for the physical aspects of professional unemployment. Our home in the sun was unencumbered by loans, it was furnished, we had transport and we had an income stream capable of allowing us a lifestyle at least akin to that which we were used to during our working lives. And we had time.

Endless hours of time. Time which used to frequently be spent apart, due to the nature of our jobs. Time which now juxtaposes us 24/7. This was the unplanned entry in our financial model. What do you do, what do you say to your partner during the eighteen daily waking hours that you now have at you disposal? When we worked, we exchanged our stories in the evenings or, depending on travel for work, only at weekends. The time allotted to our sharing of events was proportionate to what we actually had to say.

Now we are together almost every waking moment, and managing this closeness is probably the hardest work we have ever done. However, counsel on how best to survive the emotional aspects of shared retirement has fortunately already been written, not by me, but by Kahlil Gibran.

"...let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow."

Damn, I wish I would have put that variable into my retirement planning!