Artist covered in paint holding brushes

Holidays on the beach? Pottering about in the garden? Long walks in the countryside? A blank calendar. Doing what you want when you want. Doing nothing if that’s how you feel that day.

After a lifetime of working 40 hours every week, I’m sure this scenario sounds appealing to many soon-to-be retirees. But the surprising reality is that a life of unstructured leisure can and does create stress, strain spousal relationships as well as individuals, and can lead to feelings of uselessness and depression.

When today’s successful retirees stop working, they learn the “ART” of retirement. It’s about Activity, Relationships, and Time. They experiment. They try new things. They make new connections. And eventually, they create a new daily routine focused on the people and passions that make their lives fulfilling.


I’m sure you know people who have already retired, does this sound familiar?

Jack just retired. He has no idea how to spend his time anymore. So, he potters around the house, fixing stuff that isn’t broken, rearranging things that don’t need to be rearranged, watching a lot of TV … and driving his wife, Jill, up the wall.

We chuckle when we see a scenario like this play out in a film or a TV show. But Retired Husband or Wife Syndrome is a very real problem. Many newly retired couples have spent eight hours or more apart from each other every single day for decades. Then, suddenly, they’re together all the time. A recipe for disaster?

Often, this is the moment when spouses realize they each have very different ideas about what retirement is going to be like. One spouse might have visions of garden centres and immaculate, herbaceous borders, while the other has plans to see the world and take up scuba diving. Somewhere in between those expectations are the activities that are going to make retirement worthwhile for both people.

The things you do in retirement should be meaningful, stimulating, and energizing. Your passions should be your guide to a new routine – both with your spouse, and apart from him or her. Take professional lessons to turn a hobby like golf or painting into a real skill. Volunteer at a charity or nonprofit that’s close to your heart. You and your significant other can then indulge yourselves and spend quality time enjoying each other’s company.

Whatever your vision of your retired lifestyle looks like, it’s important to have these conversations in advance so you can plan for this exciting transition in your life rather than just being a by stander. That way your retirement will really become an “ART” as opposed to something that just happens to your life.

Here at Hartcliff we encourage you to come and talk with us to start the ARTistic dialogue by calling Andy on 01226 446135 or email at


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