My husband, Jim, retired today. I have no idea if this decision will last, though he has promised me he will take at least a year before considering another full-time role. He has been joking at least once a day for the last month that he cannot see how he would have time for another full-time role given all he wants to do with the rest of his life on a personal level.
I sure hope the joke sticks.
Today is not about me. But, it is at least a little bit about us. Jim and I have dated since 1991, and we’ve been married since 1996, and for all that time, either both of us held full-time roles or he did while I served as primary caregiver. And for over 16 years of that period, he was in a top two position with a publicly traded company. As you might imagine, as close as we are – and we are each other’s best friends – we were apart a lot. Sometimes it felt like we were apart more than we were together.
For all those many years, we spoke just about every day no matter where Jim was, so we’ve never been distant. That said, work of course was a huge priority for Jim, and so we’ve had little time to explore what more leisure might feel like for both of us, together
On top of today’s event, our twins left home for college last fall, and we moved from Durham to split time between three residences. With the twins happy at their schools and the moves all finished, both of us are facing a new stage of our lives.
Over the past few months as we’ve discussed what the next stage might bring, I’ll admit I have been jealous of Jim. While I have been trying to balance professional/personal ambitions with family priorities for over 19 years now, Jim seems likely to discover this balance quite naturally. Jim may be retiring from a full-time role, but he has already filled his plate with advisory and board roles that will provide him with so much professional satisfaction. He also has incoming requests for his time constantly.
No, Jim won’t suffer the “what am I doing with my life syndrome” because all he accomplished in the public domain has paved the way for him in this next stage. I am delighted for him of course, but it’s been a reminder that I just don’t have the same choices he does. I have reaped huge benefits from his hard work – more time with our kids, more time for fitness and so on – but it’s a contrast that I will have to adjust to, as I work out how I want to have impact now. The fact is that while I have to create my opportunities, Jim’s often land in his lap. That said, Jim will need to be incredibly thoughtful about what he takes on, or he will find himself with no free time for personal goals. He knows this too, and I am already reaping the benefits of his thoughtful approach to this next stage. We are enjoying planning together to ensure we are in sync, and this feels absolutely wonderful.
I always thought that, if Jim had a much time as I did, boy, would we have fun. Since this morning, we have hiked our favorite hike in Beaver Creek and lunched with our best friends. And we toasted our future over a glass of rose at 12PM!
Really, I think I am as happy as Jim today. I have gained a partner in crime, and we are going to have a blast!