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This retired couple talks about the highs, lows of retirement amid COVID-19 pandemic

FRIENDSWOOD, Texas – Retirement has looked quite different during the last year. Plans of travel have been replaced by isolation for many families.

Michael Jeffcott is playing the hands the pandemic has dealt. The 75-year-old retired from a long career in landscaping two years ago with hopes of traveling nationally and internationally.

But then the pandemic hit, which halted his cruise trip to Barcelona, Spain.

“Little by little as COVID progressed one part of the trip got canceled, and then another part of the trip, and so that just got put on hold,” Jeffcott said.

The retiree said the most he travels these days is to his craft shed in his backyard to try to limit his exposure to others.

“We’re very careful about when we go shopping,” he added. “Try to go during senior hours if possible. Just curtailed most of the activities that we do with a group of people.”

Jeffcott said he and his wife, Judy Hodges, missing going out dancing, dining out, riding their motorcycles, and playing cards with friends.

Hodges has been spending the last several months sewing, quilting, and making masks. The 71-year-old hasn’t been able to spend as much time with her three children, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

She said the couple have experienced good and bad days in isolation.

“I know we are both very down and depressed when the weather is gray outside and we’ve had a lot of that recently. We both enjoy the sunshine and being outside,” she added.

Jeffcott said though they stay busy within the house the biggest hurdle has been getting over the loss of social interaction. He said that can take a mental toll.

“We feel incredibly grateful that we’re not suffering from COVID from a health standpoint,” Jeffcott said.

The retired couple are due to receive their second COVID-19 vaccine shot next week. Jeffcott said while their health precautions won’t change, he hopes their travel plans will by the end of the year.

“I’m sure as soon as we’re comfortable, we’ll be on the road,” said the retiree. “Traveling around the United States looking for some small towns and quite frankly looking for some dance halls.”