Retirement and Living With Diabetes

By Richard157 Latest Reply 2013-07-28 10:02:57 -0500
Started 2013-07-25 21:42:26 -0500

I was employed as a teacher at the college level for 34 years (1964-1997). I had complications with my diabetes, and had to retire several years earlier than I had planned. Two years after retirement my health problem was resolved, but my former position was filled, and I was no longer needed at the college as a full-time teacher. After retirement I taught part-time for several years, and did a lot of carpentry work and painting on my home. My strength was gradually declining, and I had too little energy for strenuous activities. I felt like a fish out of water, and was very bored much of the time. Retirement did not seem to be as great as I thought it would be.

As a teacher I did not earn a lot of money, but the fringe benefits were very good. My wife and I financed our two sons while they were in college, until they had MS degrees. We were heavily in debt by the time they graduated. Gradually we paid off our debts, and our financial situation was stable. There was too little money for traveling like I had always wanted to do. My wife did not want to travel, she was perfectly happy staying at home, and taking one trip each year to see our sons and our two grand children. I wanted to do so much more, but we could not afford it.

In 2006 I discovered a diabetes support group online at The support group there was a new found hobby for me. I soon joined other diabetes websites, and made many friends. Sharing my diabetes experiences with others was very rewarding. I helped my new friends, and they helped me. I was the only long term type 1 diabetic in most of the support groups, with more than 60 years of diabetes. My friends encouraged me to write a book about my life with type 1. That book was published in March, 2010. I was pleased with the hours I spent each day with my friends. I joined Facebook in late 2010, and found many more diabetes support groups. The parents of diabetic children were encouraged to find a long term type 1 diabetic who had good diabetes health. In July, 2013, I attended the Friends For Life Conference in Orlando, FL. It was a wonderful experience. So many great discussions, pictures taken with friends, and great food! My wife wants to go with me to the FFL in 2015.

More recently, health problems began to emerge. My wife needed a knee replacement in 2009, and now (2013) I need both of my knees replaced. My wife and I have arthritis, which slows us down, and makes many activities difficult. We don't know how much longer we can make those flights to Atlanta to visit our children. Our sons are very busy with their jobs, and they find it difficult to visit us each year. We live in New York, so we are are not physically able to pack up all our belongings and move south to Atlanta.

Without the online activity and communicating with my friends, life would have become incredibly boring. With my good health, working out at the gym, taking long walks, and my online activities, I am very content. My wife is very happy tending her flower gardens, spending time with her hobbies, and communicating with the neighbors. We have been married 49 years, and we will celebrate our golden anniversary on May 31, 2014. Retirement is good, for both of us!!

10 replies

Type1Lou 2013-07-27 17:41:36 -0500 Report

Congratulations on the many milestones you've achieved. I left work in 1994 and seem to be busier in retirement than when I was working (and I worked 10 to12 hour days!)…maybe now I just have the time to do all the things I've always wanted to do…reading, sewing, quilting, teaching quilting and sewing, volunteering at the library. My husband and I are traveling as much as we can while our health still permits…he'll be 71 this year, with no major health issues and I am 64. We just returned from a Baltic Sea Cruise with Holland America which was fabulous. We've been to all continents except Antarctica and are not likely to go there. Not sure where we'll head off to next, maybe the Canadian Rockies. Richard, you are an inspiration to us all!

Richard157 2013-07-27 20:59:57 -0500 Report

It sounds like you and your husband are doing very well. I attended a diabetes conference earlier this month, in Orlando. It is called the Friends For Life Conference, mostly for type 1 kids and their families. Adults attend too. It was wonderful! That, and visiting our grand kids in Atlanta is the extent of our traveling now. My wife and I are healthy, but arthritis slows us down.

MoeGig 2013-07-27 15:16:54 -0500 Report

Hello Richard: Today is my 69th birthday which makes me 48 years with Type 1. We are still very active and both my wife and I have the traveling bug. The way we do it is with Home Exchange. We have done it 8 times and today we are in the Loire valley for 3 1/2 weeks. It's about as cost effective as you can get and every experience has been great. The family is in our house and we exchange cars as well which gives us the flexibility we like to live as if we were home. Congrats on your long and successful association with T1. Hope I can do as well. Best wishes.


Richard157 2013-07-27 21:02:32 -0500 Report

That sounds great that you are traveling like that. I hope my wife and I will travel more in the next few years.

John Crowley
John CrowleyCA 2013-07-26 11:50:05 -0500 Report

As always, I feel like you're the wise Grandpa of this site. Your perspective is invaluable. We're happy that being connected online helps bring you happiness, because your contributions here are always helpful.

Glad you're doing well and congratulations on 49 years of marriage! My parents reach their Golden Anniversary next year as well.


snuggles11 2013-07-25 23:15:36 -0500 Report

Richard 157
Great hearing your story
I lived in Atlanta for 20 years
It's not the perfect place for everybody

Richard157 2013-07-26 08:49:27 -0500 Report

I love the smaller towns without the heavy traffic, and expensive living conditions. We are comfortable where we are now.

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