Anne Chilton from Relationships Scotland offers some advice
• A retirement tattoo
My family asked what I would like to do to mark my retirement and I heard myself saying I would like a tattoo. The room went silent, then my granddaughters said they thought it was “cool”. My daughter was horrified. She said she never thought I could be “that sort of woman” and didn’t believe I meant it. I said I had always wanted just a small one, a rose or a butterfly. I have always done the right and proper thing. I think I am old enough now to make a choice for myself but it worries me that others might not see it the same way. Should I or shouldn’t I?
When we are young we’re somehow prepared for the disapproval of our parents – it’s a positive thing in a way, telling us we are forging our own way in the world, headed away from them. We don’t expect the same response from our children. I wonder what your daughter’s horror is about? That you are turning into an aged hippy? That you are not the solid mum she has depended on for years? That you might be someone who has dreams and hopes for the future and might still want to wholly engage in life now that responsibilities are lessening?
The dilemma here is not about whether or not others approve; it’s more about giving yourself permission to be and do what you want, to allow yourself to become the person you want to be. It isn’t about the tattoo really; that’s the symbolic gesture. It’s about grasping the day and living the life you want without always having to consider if others approve or not.
• Ready for adventure
My wife and I both retire next year and have started talking about what we should do. She has plans for us to join walking groups, go to the cinema and join an art class – to do more of the things we already do. I want to use some of our savings to buy a camper van and travel around Europe. My wife is stunned and thinks it’s too risky at our age – that we should be doing less not more. I have worked hard in a job I didn’t particularly like, always doing the right thing, and now I want to do something a bit more exciting while we still can.
Change can be unsettling for some people, while for others it is a huge, exciting opportunity. It sounds like, as she looks towards retirement and the changes it will bring, your wife is filling potential space with safe choices whereas you see the spaces as offering endless opportunities. Have you talked to her about her concerns? Could you do things in smaller steps – maybe hire a camper van for a holiday to see how you get on? It sounds like you are ready for an adventure, and she too is open to new things as she has said she wants to do more walking – I am assuming she isn’t meaning the same walks you already do – so build on that. Take time to develop that new future together.