Some older people do not get to retire when they are eligible. I was one of the lucky ones who not only got to retire at 65, but did it on my ex- husband’s account.
This was not always the law. It got changed when there were so many older women who got dumped by husbands that refused to let them share in the Social Security payouts.
Now you only have to be married for over 10 years, and whether you are still married or divorced, a woman gets the benefits. In this day and age, when women are still lagging in the equal pay departments, this is a life saver.
So many still have obligations to others either caring for grandchildren or involvement in other “causes” that she has no time for herself.
What is it like to have no strings attached?
For me it means I can eat out any time with no obligations to please anyone as to where to eat, or what to eat. When you consider what a wife has to do in the cooking department this is a very important choice to have.
For a family of two, she has to prepare three meals a day which for me meant packing a lunchbox for 17 years.
Add in four children, that is how many meals? Let us say that the average family size is three for 17 years. That computes to 3,285 meals. This includes all menu planning, shopping, preparation, serving, storage of any leftovers (hardly any in my family) and cleanup.
This is how the average housewife and mother spent her time around food.
If she does not work outside the home, she still has a multiple of tasks to perform during the daylight hours. Then there is the afterhours choices. Does she get to determine the television choices? Does she get to choose her “free” time activities? Some do, some don’t.
As for myself, I read until I cannot keep my eyes open, choose what and when to eat, do the dishes or let them stack up for a week, choose all my movie titles from various sources, and dress however I want.
Some friends and husband used to make comment on my hair, as if they were the ones who had the choice of whether it should be short, shorter or let grow out.
How do we get into this?
I think as females we are programed to serve others, and to put other people first. Where is the early childhood training that teaches little girls that they can do what they want in life?
I hope for their sakes that they can educate themselves into independence when they grow older.
They are going to have to be stronger, and participate in life on their terms, as no one is going to provide for their old age and good health but themselves.
So- here is a typical day of a retired female, living alone.
1 Wake up, have coffee and television news.
- Plan the day.
- Pack a lunch.
4 Catch a bus, train or walk to whatever place has been chosen for the day.
- Check e-mails, answer some, delete 99% of inbox.
- Read a couple of newspapers both online and in paper form.
7 Shop, or just wander aimlessly through a mall. No schedule.
8 Return home, have dinner, watch PBS programs, or read a book.
9 Check phone for messages- usually none, but the average is one a week from tele -markers that made it through the blocking.
You notice that there is no activity concerning talking on the cell phone, or charities, or appointments for doctors. That is because I do not call just to chat, and my children have once weekly or less phone conversations with me. They have no time now, as they are not retired but face a rigorous daily schedule of caring for kids, commuting to work, obeying spouses wishes, and in general tying themselves in knots from the pressures of daily life.
Retirement means just that for me-sort of going on retreat without leaving home.