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Retired and Free to Be.. Who?

by Katrina
(Western New York)

I have been retired for a little over two years and I am still finding it hard to adjust.


I retired a little earlier than I planned due to a change in leadership at my organization and some very negative treatment as a result. So I left under difficult circumstances. I was looking forward to pursuing a second career in consulting and spending more time with my aging Mom, grand-kids, traveling, pursuing old and new dreams.

3 months after my retirement I was visiting my sister in Florida after having attended an exciting conference. I was feeling hopeful and even a little excited. The day I was flying home I got a call from home saying that my Mom had been taken to the emergency room in the middle of the night and was not doing well. I flew home and drove right to the hospital. Two days later we put her in the hospice wing of the hospital. Four days after that she died alone in the early morning hours.

This was the beginning of my depression. A major part of my retirement plan was to spend much more time with my Mom in the nursing home where she had lived for the last four years. I had recently made a group of friends there who were also daughters of moms living in the same facility. I never went back to that nursing home after my mom died and I went through a wretched grieving process.

Two months after my mom died my wonderful sweet 12 year old dog, Jake, a great dane, died suddenly on a Sunday afternoon. I had recently spent $4000.00 for an operation to help him breathe more easily. As he was recovering and we re-started our walks together I prayed hard that I could have at least one more year with him, a year to get me though the loss of my mother. The hoped for year turned into a few short weeks as we discovered that the operation had caused a blood vessel to burst in his brain so that one Sunday morning as we awoke he suddenly staggered to his bed and had a seizure. We rushed him to the emergency vet where I and my daughter, my sister and my son in law made the agonizing decision to have him euthanized. The vet tech who was assisting us explained that Jake would never regain the use of his legs. so as we all held him and sobbed Jake left this world. So as I look back on it I had three huge losses in six months.

I joined an online grief group which helped a great deal. Now two years later I am having a setback.

I still work part time doing consulting work to supplement my income and my dwindling retirement savings. I like the work I do, it is challenging and rewarding and gives me a lot of autonomy.

Six months after I lost Jake I adopted a wild, cuddly little terrier mix from the animal shelter. He makes me laugh, gives me exercise as we walk every morning, and keeps me warm in bed at night. I also joined two book groups and have a small group of lovely girlfriends.

I am often lonely however. MY oldest daughter, her husband and my two grandchildren live about 4 hours away and I seldom see my youngest daughter and her husband.

I have no interest and little motivation to do all the mundane housework type chores that need doing. My recent setback has been caused by several physical difficulties which have hindered my ability to be active and by the fact that my identity has been stolen. Also i have had one of those times when for the past six months I have had multiple problems with my laptop, printer and cell phone.

So right now I feel powerless to make anything work for me. I feel unmotivated and find I spend a lot of time at home alone avoiding doing the things that need to be done. I guess I am in a slump. Thanks for listening

Wendy: You might be in a slump but you pulled yourself out of worse before, and I think you will again. You know you aren't right, you need to talk, here I am, listening...

Now -- Give yourself a good old-fashioned "Kick in the pants" and figure out where life is headed next.

As we age, physical difficulties happen... and we must carry on. If you are lonely, seek out new friends... or pick specific gals from your clubs and make arrangements for lunch or dinner. If your retirement monies are being used, consider some type of work that you can do at home.. so that you use less savings (leaving it for years from now), and especially the the identity theft, maybe even a website income like this site. I love my stay-at-home work!

Bottom line: I think you sound pretty darn logical and well on your way to the next adventure in life,.. you KNOW there is one just around the corner!!

I wish you well!

Comments for Retired and Free to Be.. Who?

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Praying for you
by: Anonymous

Hi Katrina, will be praying for you.

Anxiety and Depression
by: Anonymous

I retired less than a year ago from a high-power, professional job. I was 59 at the time and although I enjoyed the work, significant changes had taken place at work and I became very unhappy.

An early retirement package was offered and after months of thinking about it I decided it was time to leave.. I was thrilled for the first month, but then anxiety and depression set in.. I have been treated for those conditions for many years, but now the meds don't seem to be working.. I find it difficult to leave the house, and when I do I feel very anxious until I return home.

I live alone, have no children and my parents died a few years ago. I do try to exercise 4-5 times a week and travel, but nothing really seems to work. I go out with friends but I always feel anxious.

I miss working, and I have to constantly remind myself that there were good reasons I left. But I feel completely worthless and almost tortured.

I can't sleep and I have no direction. I tried some volunteer work but didn't enjoy it. I don't want to give up, but sometimes I feel like I can't go on. I feel there is no hope for me. I do try and push myself out the door, but the sadness and anxiety are always with me.

Wendy I *think* it WILL get better... many of us (as you can see from all the posts here) go through much of the same phase. We are lost, lost our work identity and not sure who the heck we are any more! Weird... then we've got all this time and never figured out what we'd do with all of it.

Being from a professional 'high power' job, you might be someone who will never totally retire -- BUT you don't have to work for someone, or don't have to work full-time. So many options but you can't see them!

If you want help, please email me using the "contact me" to the bottom left... maybe I can help?


Feeling Your Pain
by: Anonymous

Dear Katrina,

Except for a detail here or there, my story is almost identical to yours, except I retired right after my mother died. A year later my brother got killed. A friend gave me a sweet dog and a few months later he died.

My husband still works and is very quiet when home. My children are too far away to visit frequently and too busy with work/family. I live in a remote area where there aren't any activities and no town left.

All my friends work; have their own family activities; and are tired when they get off work, so that doesn't leave much time for friend times.

Due to health problems, saving money and, at times, extreme weather conditions, I cannot travel the extra miles to the city where I can participate in activities I enjoy.

My husband does not want to move, so I feel stuck in the moment. I am creative and have found at times,I can push myself through part of a project whether I finish it or not. That keeps my mind busy for the moment.

I also try to look at just today to make it as satisfying as I can.

I find retiring at a younger age, I don't find satisfaction in my everyday life as I did working. I had worked for 38 years. I do find solice in my religious belief.

It is helpful to me to know that through the ages that others have gone through trials and tribulations, yet managed. I realize there isn't any instant cure.

I find it is helpful to know that others, such as I, do care and understand your situation, even though I am not bearing your load.

One of my doctors once told me the following statement to remind me that I am only human and I should not feel guilty about my feelings and that we all matter in this huge world: 'Your pain is your pain and others' pain is their pain'.

So, in our individuality, we do matter, plus we do not suffer alone.

Wendy: Thanks "Anonymous" for sharing!!

'PUNYA' - Noble deeds - a sure-shot antidote to sorrow and depression ....
by: Mr. Durgesh Kumar Srivastava JiBhaiya@gmail.com New Delhi, India


Esteemed Ms Katrina,

There is a belief in Hindu Mythology that if some one is able to successfully complete 100 Ashwamedh Yagyas (a ceremonial circular trip of a caprisoned royal horse which goes around different areas and on its safe return the sponsoring man holds a big grand religious congregation called Ashwamedh Yagya). So, when 100 Ashwamedh Yagyas are completed the man becomes entitled to the throne of Indra, the traditional King of the Gods.

After having completed 99 Ashwamedh Yagyas a certain King had sent out his ceremonial horse for the 100th time, guarded and defended by the King's 100 sons. Somehow the horse chanced into the hermitage of a noble saint but the King's sons falsely blamed the saint for stealing the horse. The saint got angry and put a curse on the 100 sons of the King and they all were burnt to death.

The King was plunged into gloom and sorrow. He became very depressed and fell ill. Ultimately, someone directed the grieving King to go into the shelter of the Saint and ask for a way out of his grief.

The Saint told the King - there is only one way out - Punya (noble selfless deeds in the service of entire society).The King did as he was told, living a life of humble service and noble deeds. After a long penance by the King the Saint was pleased and pardoned him. He lifted the curse and all the King's 100 sons came back to life, as if they had awakened from sleep. The King's grief and edpression ended and he was happy again.

This world is full of misery and sorrow. When you begin work of wiping the tears from the eyes of suffering people your grief, loneliness and depression will just disappear. My best wishes!
--------------------------------------------------
Retd. Prof. (Mr) Durgesh Kumar Srivastava,
JiBhaiya@gmail.com New Delhi India, 22 Nov., 2010


RETIREMENT: LOOK UP
by: gina in allegany ny

DEAR KATRINA,

I WEPT AS I READ YOUR LETTER AS I HAVE FELT THE SAME DESPAIR. JUST LAST JAN. LOST MY LAB. I HAVE LIVED ALONE SINCE I WAS 40 YRS. OLD AND NOW AM 75. HAD A 20 YR. VERY UNHAPPY MARRIAGE AND HAVE HAVE BEEN VERY LONELY AT TIMES. HAVE TWO WONDERFUL CHILDREN AND THREE GRAND CHILDREN. HOWEVER COMING HOME TO THE DEAFENING QUIET HOUSE AND HAVING NO ONE TO GREET YOU IS VERY HARD.YOU NEED TO KNOW THAT ALL CAN CHANGE IF YOU CHANGE YOUR THINKING. I CHOSE TO BE HAPPY YEARS AGO JUST ENJOYING THE SIMPLE THINGS IN LIFE. DIDN'T DO IT ON MY OWN, BUT ASKED OUR LORD INTO MY LIFE .

QUITE HONESTLY EVERYTHING CHANGED FOR THE BETTER. I DO BACK SLIDE EVERY NOW AND THEN BUT PULL MYSELF TOGETHER AGAIN. WENDY'S SITE HELPED ME RECENTLY.

JUST LOOKING AT OUR WORLD AS A CHILD DOES WITH EAGERNESS AND EXCITEMENT WILL REJUVENATE YOU.

THERE ARE MANY PROBLEMS IN OUR UNIVERSE BUT IT IS STILL AN AWESOME ONE...

YOU TAKE CARE AND PULL YOURSELF UP BY THE BOOT STRAPS......YOU CAN BE HAPPY AGAIN.

REACH OUT....
GINA

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