Harry & Iris Matthews††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Web log 27-7-2003

First Reactions

I retired on July 1, after a wonderful retirement party after work the previous day. Iris and I flew out from California on July 5 arriving here in Blenheim, New Zealand, on July 7.

This is phase 1 of our 3-phase plan. Phase 1 is essentially a no-restrictions phase where we do what we like without much concern for our age. Weíve chosen to move to Blenheim, build a house, travel, and develop our interests in photography, genealogy, and dressmaking/tailoring, as well as become involved in the local community.

Phase 2 cuts in at the point where we get tired of cooking for ourselves most of the time and where we give up driving a car ourselves. From our observations of our friends and relations, we anticipate this will happen in 15 to 20 years at age 76 to 81. Phase 2 involves a move to a more sheltered environment where daily living is simplified, taxis are readily available, and we can continue to be active, even as we slow down, and age gracefully. It is very important to plan for this transition and to do it in good time.

Phase 3 is our ďsynonymĒ for a phase where options are very limited due to loss of ability to support ourselves in normal daily living. Planning for this phase is contingency planning, mainly financial. Hopefully the phase 2 living situation will allow for a seamless transition to phase 3 if that ever becomes necessary.

First reactions after 4 weeks (3 in Blenheim)? Not going to work is really easy to take. Iím proud of my career and seem to have no problems moving on, so far. I am having trouble coming to grips with the notion of living in such a beautiful place as this; normally we would visit for a vacation and living here feels quite different and confusing.

Iris is having to adjust not only to me being around but having much more energy. Itís a two-edged sword. I help with the cleaning, cooking and so on but I also stick my nose into areas that Iris has had to handle on her own for many years. In some ways, it is like learning to live together all over again, just as we did when we got married and began living together 24 years ago. Fortunately, itís coming together well.