Retirement Blues

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I am sitting in a comfy chair, intent on finishing a new needlepoint pattern. If you don’t want to make mistakes, you have to concentrate. My mind, however, is wandering a bit and has set its sights on my husband’s retirement. Will he adapt to a lack of a schedule? Will he be content to watch me with my needle and yarns or will he stay glued to the TV with those blank retirement eyes people have? I don’t know why this has come up but I suppose years before the big event, you start wondering how to prepare and what your days will be like.

My husband suffered from SAD a few years ago—seasonal affective disorder. It is known in some circles as winter blues or depression, but it can happen at any time of the year. It is a real mood disorder that requires medical treatment. Now it is called seasonal pattern disorder. Some parts of the US have a high incidence such as in Alaska. SAD affects one’s ability to sleep normally. They sleep too much, have low energy, and feel depressed. It goes away when summer comes, bringing with it more daylight.

My husband talks about this condition and how difficult it was until it suddenly went away when he got an artificial light machine. It produces a simulation of bright light and is deemed by experts as “light therapy,” It was a quick and easy solution. They use these appliances in Sweden, Finland, and Norway, countries with a high incidence of depression in winter. His memory of SAD is arising now that he is contemplating retirement. I must help him dismiss his fear of its return. We will plan a lot of fun activities alone or with the family so he has something to look forward to each week. He knows how much I enjoy my needlework and hopefully he will seek his own hobby. We have plenty of room in the garage for a work bench and tools. He may elect to restore old bikes or cars. He liked model trains as a child and may want to assemble and paint them as an adult.

While SAD is a serious concern, we will do everything we can to fight it. The first thing to do is research whether he’ll get SAD again, which led me to this web site. Maybe we can buy him the Be Right Light as well. Statistics show that they really work in most cases, unless the winter depression has other roots. We will get one for our living area and the bedroom. Expense is no bother. Everyone should enjoy their retirement. After all, they are called the golden years. Some start early—in their fifties—and some wait decades later. There are so many community activities offered these days for seniors so they never are bored. Then there is the huge prospect of world travel. This could be our fate. Because of our kids, we never went to all our favorite places.