You’ve no doubt heard the old Aesop’s fable of The Ant And The Grasshopper. Ant works hard all summer long, storing food, keeping house, work…work…work. Meanwhile, grasshopper jumps through the grass, smells the roses, play…play…play. At the end of summer, Ant is comfy and well fed, ready for winter. Grasshopper has nothing saved, and shivers in the cold.
Moral of story: BE LIKE ANT.
Well, I’m here to tell you that for my recently retired husband, the supreme Ant of all Ants, BE LIKE ANT is not working. It’s getting to be close to winter in our lives, and while we have our nest all ready, he’s finding his non-working life to be a real challenge. So much so, that anxiety and sleep issues are now appearing.
Over the course of our 32 years together, we adopted the more traditional roles of male as primary bacon earner, wife as bacon cooker. We were fortunate that our choice to expatriate early in our marriage provided enough income so that I was able to be a full-time stay at home Mom. We raised our two kid family this way, navigating a different country and culture, school system, etc, while also enjoying travel…mostly just the kids and myself, though, as hubby kept hacking away at his salt mine, working towards our inevitable “golden years”, when we could relax and enjoy the fruits of his labour.
Now, here we are.
Golden years and golden beaches of our new home in wonderous New Zealand! Everything we need to enjoy the years we (hopefully, many), have left. But husband, Ant, has not prepared…not in the way he probably truly should have. All those Ant years needed to be sprinkled with just a bit more Grasshopper. The hobbies needed to be developed, the fun new skills learned, the ways to unwind and relax adopted.
We’re currently working, (not happy with that term, but…), on his retirement adjustment. Exploring our new country, reaching out to make new friends, (which, by the way, is much harder as you get older). Looking into volunteer opportunities. Meditation. Just taking a much needed breather.
I’ll report back as we move along this journey. I’m not going to lie, it’s scary as hell right now, but I do know we’ve got this.
Ants…drop your crumbs and dance. The Grasshoppers of the world can teach you so much.