At loose ends...

by Gail
(Michigan)

I decided to retire - I didn't have to retire but was of age. I had held several high level professional positions that had cast me into public view as well as leadership roles.


I had all kinds of great plans - learn French and to play piano, take up painting and write the great novel.

Now that I'm actually 'retired', I can't seem to marshal the energy to follow through with much of anything. I allow mundane house hold tasks to take up much of my day. I shun crowds or even meeting with people, preferring to 'hole up' in my comfort zone of our house.

I feel worthless and useless. I'm invisible when I go to the store. When younger people open a door for me and smile, I feel depressed. I decided to seek treatment with a qualified therapist and feel this was a good decision.

I'm not 'out of the woods' yet, but at least I see daylight on the horizon. I am also going to force myself to take some risks (like I did when working)and put myself out there. Wish me luck.


Wendy: Much of what you are experiencing is what many of us felt... and like the rest of us, you will survive retirement.

Oddly enough, I bet younger folks opened the doors and smiled at you when you were 40... but NOW you watch for those things and feel them differently.

You didn't mention your age, but if you do want to get back into the workplace in some capacity - consider it. We aren't all ready for retirement simply when we reach that magical entitlement age. You might not work full time, but maybe part time, maybe contractual helping companies do what you did before retirement, or maybe you start a home based business.

There is a world out there in front of you and so many opportunities... if you'd like help finding your way to the next adventure in life, please contact me via the "contact wendy" in the left column, bottom of page.

Best Wishes!

Comments for At loose ends...

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...a year or so later
by: Anonymous

and things are different! I didn't go back to work but my head is certainly different.

I got my 'power' back. With it came the energy I needed to move, plan and enjoy life again.

What a miserable period that was! Like they say, grief is a jagged journey and a highly personal one. But, I had to go through it and in my own way.

Today, I'm just grateful. For everything. And I don't feel I need to 'control' everything (it's an illusion anyway). What a freeing experience to let go and just flow.

And the most enjoyable aspect of my life now is making a positive difference in the lives of others. Who knew!


(Sort of like diet and exercise - who knew!)

Look in the mirror - love what you see, and then get out of your own way and reach out to someone else. It's amazing what you can accomplish.

WENDY: Kudos to you! So happy to hear you have found life after a year or so!

You SOUND Amazing!

Acceptance
by: Carol

Just wanted to chime in and add that after I retired I went through a period of depression/transition. Looking back it seems like the absolute normal response.

Didn't think so at the time!

I felt a stranger in my own home. My mind told me it was wonderful to be "free". I think my soul knew I had to weather the huge change, occurring after 40 years at a successful career.

Be good to yourself. Trust yourself. Do what you can each day. Be thankful. God bless.

Thanks
by: Gail

Thank you, Joy for your wonderful, insightful response. To answer your questions, I am married, 68 and have adult children living an hour away. I guess part of this equation is my arthritis! In addition to retirement (which I failed twice - this is my third attempt at it), I have a chronic condition that is painful, frustrating and limiting. I am trying to put all these pieces together and was encouraged by your observation that it may take some time.

For Gail - At loose ends
by: Pam

Hi Gail. I am retiring in June. However, I am actualy starting a new career, one I'm creating for myself [with encouragment from God] and my family. It means I'm going to need advice [at a minimum] from people with the kind of experience you have. I'm sure I am not alone. There are volunteer organizations for retired persons with experience that can be shared.

If you'd like to contact me to find out what I am trying to do, try Hahn at the spirit of light dot com. Or Google "The Star Who Almost Wasn't There."

At Loose Ends
by: Joy Collins

Hi Gail, Right there with you. I am unsure how long you have been retired, but I am just beginning to pull out of a very deep depression that came after retirement.

I went out after almost 40 years of teaching. I was going to work one more year, got another treatable bout of cancer, and so went directly from my teaching career to chemo/ radiation, etc.

I had lots of attention and interaction with folks in those 2 years of treatment as I had in my career. Then last August( third year of retirement) it all came crumbling down.

My husband, a bit younger than me, returned to his teaching, my daughter left to return to her work in NYC after being here for a wonderful week and I fell apart. Joy was not so joyful anymore.

It was just me and 2 mutts all day long. We have few friends here, as we are not from here and it is a very close knit community. Thank goodness we have each other. I have been struggling with the feeling of uselessness and feeling I am just getting ready to die. I wrote to this website when I was at my worst. I too have sought a small amount of medication - a little antidepressant. It has helped so much!

Don't let anyone tell you it is not necessary. It just might be, sometimes. Slowly I am coming out of this really low period and again coming to appreciate my home, my volunteer work, and the daily miracles and blessings I used to see before I retired.

I have found through this wonderful site and research that what you and I are experiencing is very common. I have had inertia and lack of energy which I attribute to depression.

Slowly I am beginning to clean up my home with some help from a cleaner,(it's not that bad really) and to see that old joy in life that I had lost. But it has been a real struggle.

If possible try to do some volunteering work, Somebody can use you. I too, though not in a position of power, as a teacher, had much respect and attention for a very long time. That is gone, but I do have some folks that stay in touch, and through volunteering I am meeting others. it is a drastic change to feel useful and productive and then suddenly that is all gone. But believe me, you will get past this. But only in God's time. LOL

I now am very happy that I do not have to rush out the door in the cold on someone else's time. As my daughter says jokingly "I do what I want, cause I can." That is our joke.

So easy does it, and one day at a time. You will see yourself coming around, but it will take time.

Try to get out each day, if just to the grocery store. You did not mention if you were married or had children, but if you are alone, try not to hibernate. That isolation is not healthy.

I hope to hear from you again, sometime down the road. But believe me, initially, I felt I had retired to DIE.. I no longer feel that way. Slowly plans are beginning to form in my head.


Wendy: Joy, I LOVE reading your words! Kudos for a great response!!!


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