1 yr in, retired at 60. I had every one of the feelings and psychosis listed on this page

by Kevin
(Madeira, Ohio)

There are two sides to the retirement coin, those represented by the do-it-now, FIRE, love doing nothing retirement pages/blogs and what I call the wandering pages/blogs.

I have been almost chastised on the pages of the do-it-nowers for searching for more personal fulfillment and purpose from retirement than just working on hobbies, having unlimited "me" time, and enjoying being away from the working grind.

On the other hand, I have found myself in agreement and alignment with the worries, issues, and complaints of the retirement wandering pages.

The following are the roots of the prominent issues that have almost a circuitious way of popping up at intervals throughout year

1: Self worth- we have all been mostly defined by decades of working life. Our lives away from work, families, and sometimes church, surely added to that definition but none actively defined us more than the participant sport of work, getting up every morning and actively participating in something that contributed to our very existence

2: The collegial experience- no matter what you did for a living, the relationships, workplace, and even conversations you had with co-workers and family/friends about your work and co-workers was an inexorable part of the entirety of your adult life.

The very things many of us despised about our work environment also were the fundamental basis for doing something that provides a daily personal diversion.

When you retire, that part of your life ends immediately. Yes, you absolutely have new retirement friends to discuss current events and glory days, and the occasional discussion with ex-colleagues, but a vaccum has developed in a major aspect of your life.

3: Ground hog day- it seems no matter how hard you try, eventually you wake up one morning staring at the same ceiling, preparing for the same breakfast and routine, and wondering how you got here.

You probably did the same thing when the alarm clock rang every working day, but you didn't have time to reflect on it or think much about it, there were expectations that you would get up and get on with it.

Retirement is delightfully cruel in its ability to promote daily self analysis and provide ample time for extended appointments on your personal analyst couch.

4: Wealth and health- for many, retirement provides an almost continuous backdrop for inspection of and calculating our personal and financial well being.

Worrying. Back of the brain nag.

While most don't focus on retirement as the beginning of the last chapter or cresting the hill into the realities of our health past 60-ish, there is a drive to want to continue to accomplish meaningful things for as long as our health and money will allow. And how long exactly is that?

While we have a good financial plan based upon the facts and years of calculations, will it be enough to allow for our desired quality of life, not be a burden on our families, etc etc.

More than that, personal health can interrupt the best laid plans. Is there enough?

As a 35 year Silicon Valley executive, I retired thinking good riddens to that rat race, thankful goodbye to 5 million miles of international business travel, and hello to a midwest cost of living retirement that allowed me to climb off the perpetual stress hamster wheel.

I didn't realize that those four categories above would constantly influence my thoughts and that multiple parts of "me" require a different timeline to adapt to all aspects of retirement.

One thing comes through from almost every retirement book, blog and study I have read, it takes more time to adapt to this life changing event than what any of us thinks.

9 months into retirement I began to make plans to go back to work. I realized I needed to convince all parts of "me" that the time, money, etc was right for retirement. I started to lay the foundation for going back full time in my previous industry with 1 year in mind as my target commit.

This allowed me to actively think through the life trade-offs I would again be taking on over the months as I got prepared. 2 months of prep and planning helped me to realize I didn't want to jump headlong back into the environment and issues I retired from, I have now reduced my personal commit down to a 3 month consulting "test."

Over the past month I have thought through this further and looked at other options deciding to go to work part time for a local business that I am interested in.

I have limited the stress risk, provided myself a chance to really weigh the values of retirement and what was missing from my life, and made myself an active participant in resolving the elf-worth, collegial experience, ground hog day, and health-wealth issues that have plagued me over year 1 retirement.

Funny, the actions of considering this part time job has made me much more at peace with my retirement decision and day to day life.

It's erased many aspects of depression and, more than anything, I have created an environment that allows me to evaluate my time and continually build evidence that I am as valuable and happy in retirement as I was working.

Comments for 1 yr in, retired at 60. I had every one of the feelings and psychosis listed on this page

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by: chris

I’m experiencing the four things you listed. And I have come to realize it does take a lot of time to adjust.

I’m glad to read your post as Im sick of hearing people talk about how great retirement is. And all you do is volunteer and everything is great. NOT!

Well Said
by: Canadian Retiree

Wow you hit the nail on the head for me about leaving my job and my purpose and wandering aimlessly through retirement land without a compass or a map. I totally agree with you.

My identity got left behind when I retired. I’ve been trying different things to fill my days but like you say nothing takes the place of one’s job.

I had to quit bemoaning about it to my friends and family because they were tired of hearing it and they don’t really understand. I keep it to myself most days.

I’m taking a water colour painting class which is helping and exercise class. Just finding one thing to do gets me out of my rut. As Wendy says do something!

As the days and weeks go by I am adjusting. I often dream about my job and have made attempts to get part time work but nothing comes of it. Maybe I am too old now, I forget I am 65. Not a spring chicken anymore!

Well thanks again I enjoyed your post.

by: Lee

I thought this was a really great summation of the issues, including some I hadn't really identified, like the Groundhog Day syndrome.

To retired at 60
by: Anonymous

Good for you! You GOT it! It's the moving from the old (many times rat race) to the new! :)

Great Post, Kevin!
by: Anonymous

Kevin, you eloquently summarized the feelings I've been having since retiring 3 years ago.

Although my position wasn't nearly as professional as yours, the emotions and struggles are the same.

Shortly after retiring, I also interviewed and obtained two different jobs in my same field, but decided to turn them down after further soul-searching.

Today, I am experiencing a sort of delayed "groundhog day" scenario and it's probably the toughest one to deal with so far.

No matter how ready and eager people THINK they are for retirement - they will find that they are never really ready for the emotions they'll encounter.

Round 2- Retirement Life
by: Joe W.

@Kevin, I think that you got it right now. Round 1 is year 1 not knowing what to do with your spare time in retirement.

Then before going into Round 2 you first sat yourself in the corner on a hard stool imagining what Round 2 is going to be all about.In retirement you have many choices. In your Round 2 you selected to work in a part-time job.

Retirement is about fighting in different rounds and retirees have the freedom to choose whatever they want to do in each round before the final knockout punch is thrown at you.

Too many retirees are afraid to get into the ring and fight in those different rounds. Don't forget your Round 3 doesn't have to be the same part-time job that you selected in Round 2.

Be creative and challenge yourself to conquer any anxiety or depression and still have the time to do what you always wanted to do in your own retirement life.

Good Luck!

Discovering the journey
by: Jane Curtis, Hawkins, Texas

You are an excellent writer. I enjoyed your analysis and realize you very intelligently describe what we all go through.

You are very luck in that you arrived at the conclusion that you had retired from work not life much sooner than I did. I hope to read more from you. I could see myself in every paragraph.

Thank you for sharing.

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