I adore strong, Southern women. Undoubtedly, I am biased since I was raised by one of the strongest and smartest women I know. Beyond teaching me manners and how to hem a skirt, I witnessed my mother overcome obstacles with grace, determination, and joy. This is her greatest legacy to me.
Passing on what we learned from our mothers and our own experiences is the way of the South. Sharing wisdom is what we do.
Sometimes counsel is offered gently, so as not to offend.
For instance, if you ever hear a Southern lady utter the phrase “have you considered,” prepare yourself to receive a tender correction on some behavior or thinking that is contrary to common sense or decency.
Other times wisdom is offered with a lightning bolt of frankness. When we do it well, the beneficiary never sees it coming. Perhaps it’s the kid leather glove that softens the blow.
Let’s face it. Sometimes in life, we all could use some words of wisdom— whether just a bit of encouragement or perhaps a slap-in-the-face reality check.
However, seeking advice from a family member or friend runs the unwelcome risk of their probing curiosity and intrusive follow-up. All you really want is a considered opinion, with no strings attached!
That’s where I come in. You ask, and I offer a frank, reasoned, and (hopefully) wise solution to your current challenge from a fresh, uninvolved perspective.
Here’s a for-instance. Just the other day a coworker expressed apprehension about her husband’s impending retirement. “What is he going to do with himself? He has no hobbies or interests outside his work!” she exclaimed.
Well, you and I both know that her question revealed a lot more about her concerns and trepidation than it did her husband’s anticipation about his approaching, never-ending vacation. With that in mind, I offered this bit of wisdom.
First, have you considered that your husband is not looking for a new boss? This may be the first time that he will be in the position to cast his own vision for success. Let him experience, own, and enjoy the opportunity.
Second, encourage your spouse to dream and be sure he has something he looks forward to. Ambition and hope motivated your husband to be successful in his career. His aspirations about this next chapter of his life will sustain and inspire him to be a successful and happy retiree.
Last, be patient. No doubt there will be hiccups along the way. Time and freedom to figure things out on his own (and with your support) will surely lead to a happy retirement for you both.
Now, take heart, dear readers—life is complex, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Call on me to help. Until next time, y’all behave.
Ms. Bea Wright will join us each month with her quips, concerns, and cups full of common sense. Send Ms. Wright your questions regarding relationships, personal concerns, and etiquette at firstname.lastname@example.org. Inclusion is anonymous and based on editorial discretion.