Well, that’s a good question–one of which I think I may know the answer.
I was a Type-A parent who juggled parenting, a husband and household, a career, religion and philanthropy, and my own needs with varying degrees of efficiency. I noticed that when any one of these needs got too much attention, one or more of the others suffered greatly in varying degrees. It was a constant balancing act.
So what happens when all of them disappear over time as they all must? What takes their place? Well, here is what what happened in my life.
As soon as the kids left, I put more attention into my career. I was lucky. I loved my work and spent most of my forties and fifties being very productive and saving greater percentages of my earnings to use in retirement. Even with the added time, though, I got too mentally caught up in this and my health suffered. I forgot that it is always to be a balancing act. I spent my latter forties figuring out my new “older” body and how to better take care of myself.
Then Chuck hit his magic 70s; and we both retired, though I was only 60. He asked me to do it with him, but he didn’t have to twist my arm. After 40 years of working full-time, except for a brief seven years to have my kids and another brief four year period to go back to graduate school and keep my teenagers out of trouble, I walked away.
So what is this Type-A parent doing now? Well, I retired in May of 2014; and by that September I started this blog. By this date I had already started writing the first book in a trilogy entitled “Palmetto Pioneers”. I also started an application to have two of my ancestors certified as Florida pioneers.
I spend two days a week in libraries gathering research and the other three days on the Internet doing the same. I work mornings on these three days, and I’m usually out of the house or in my garden in the afternoons. I have a basic work schedule.
I fully realize that I just found myself another job. ?
And if that isn’t enough. I expanded our tree farm, tripling it in size. Tree farming was something I did on the side before I retired. It was inherited from my dad when he passed in 2003.
I spend more time than ever in my garden. Right now one of my beds is way overgrown but with carefully planted plants, not weeds. It rained a lot this summer, and the annuals and perennials did very well. My sister recently called it a hot mess. ?. I guess I need to do some pruning.
I exercise more regularly, and I haven’t felt better in years. I do yoga twice a week, lift weights twice a week and swim twice a week. Nothing major just 8 or 10 laps and about 20 minute of weights each session. I can wear sleeveless dresses again and I think my breasts have lifted some. ?
And then there are the grandchildren! It is a little like watching my kids grow up all over again. And if they get too rowdy, we always know that it won’t be too long before their parents come back. ? Last weekend we watched our three and four year old grandsons and even took them to a college football game in Atlanta. We all had a wonderful time. Both little boys were a testament to their parents’s parenting skills.
Our religious needs are handled in our own individual ways. Neither of us are regular church goers, though I was when the kids were still at home. Now we just tithe; and I fulfill my spiritual needs with a morning devotional, though I’m not sure everyone would agree with what I’m reading right now. I’ve been reading the books that didn’t make the cut–those Biblical readings that were left out when the New Testament was formed.
Oh, and I almost forgot. Most importantly, I thank God a lot lately for all our blessings.
I still attend alumni meetings of my old college sorority, and through them Chuck and I serve once a month at Grace Mission. I always feel sympathetic to the needs of the homeless, but giving them money to further harm themselves through alcohol and drug abuse is something I cannot do in good conscience. Helping at the mission is our way of helping.
Finally, Chuck and I like to travel. We just got back from cruising the Baltic Sea, which I plan to share in some future blog posts.
So lately what do you think Chuck and I have been talking about? Well, we can’t figure out when we had the time to work before we retired!
So what is the answer to the question, “What Happens to a Type-A Parent When the Kids Leave?” You just get busier–only if you are really blessed, you get busier doing the things you most enjoy!