For those of us in Central Kentucky, this week marked the end of the 2020 school year for the majority of our kiddos. If you’re like me, you may be having a mini-celebration that you don’t have to play teacher anymore – at least when it comes to school work.
I know when all of this started, most of us had to get used to teaching and working from home – simultaneously. Many of you are overachievers and hit it out of the park. As for me, well, my 7-year-old was messing with me by intentionally entering wrong answers and then saying “gotcha!” when I tried to correct him. What started out as an interesting social experiment on what it’s like to teach my children has morphed into me wondering when they’re leaving home!
Although I do still (thankfully) have a few years before my boys start to head out on their own, we are planning a timely series over the next fews weeks focusing on what happens when the kids do leave home, what happens when you leave the workforce, and living with your spouse in retirement. Why is this timely? Well, this Chinese fire drill (too much irony?) has served as a learning experience for all of us, and at the forefront of our minds right now is the question of, what are our next life steps? Sending kids to college, choosing when to retire and how to live in retirement are three of the biggest steps we take, pandemic or not.
Of course what college might look like in the fall remains undetermined, but there are still preparations and decisions to be made. Even if classes are remote, will your child live away from home, or even delay school for a year in hopes of a more “normal” experience?
Others of you who were thinking about retirement this year or early next year may be reconsidering that if you’re finding that working from home isn’t so bad. I’ve heard from several folks who are considering delaying retirement for a few more years if they’re allowed to keep working remotely. Plenty of people enjoy their jobs, but not the office politics, dress codes, or explaining things to colleagues 30 years their junior. I get that.
Still others may be in the newlywed stage, and coming out of the pandemic with a new baby. Or those in longer-term relationships may be thinking that forever seems awfully long….but I digress. The point is that for many, everyday life as we knew it has been torn down, and that causes stress and change.
Of course, some of you were already retired, and the inconvenience to you in all this has been more time in your oasis. Outside of trips to the grocery store and Home Depot, the highlights are drive-bys from the grandkids and Zoom calls with family. This current situation has changed the way you live in retirement.
Now that we’re all past the initial shock of thinking we’re all going to get sick and die, many have gone back to the drawing board and are asking, “What can I safely do based on my own comfort level, and what can I do going forward?
Even now, as we celebrate the joyful events that move us through life’s stages, we’re not just doing one thing because we can’t do another. As life becomes more and more normalized and we can once again go out to restaurants or gather at friends’ homes, we’ll have to jump through a few hoops, sure. But how can we plan around those things we can’t do? If I can’t attend any live music events, maybe I can spend that money improving my home theater. Our visions of how we’re spending our free time have changed. We’re looking forward to exploring that.
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