Captain of Industry to Captain of the Sofa!! :) What now?

by Kass
(Northern California)

Shock...Exhilaration...Depression...Gratitude...Anxiety...what a wild ride this life can be.

After 20+ years in a commanding tech career, I find myself officially early retired with a diagnosis of severe Rheumatoid. It is unpredictable, it can take me out for a few days or a few weeks. It can vary in severity from being just having to resort to riding in a wheelchair unable to move.

Emotionally, I am officially in the twilight zone. I sacrificed and worked extremely hard to put myself through grad school and climb the ladder. Then I hit the sweet spot, the goal, the brass ring...we called it "expert" designation.

It was everything I ever wanted and was fabulous. I loved speaking to audiences of thousands at conferences, engaging the top levels of academia, leading industry strategy summits. It was so exciting and rewarding, I just about lived on the company fleet of jets and drove global strategies. I was published, recognized and felt like I had arrived in my early 40s. Yessssss!

Now, at 43, all I lead is my cat and bird from the sofa. :\ Granted, the bird is a tough customer and keeps me busy but still....LoL...

This is the biggest challenge I've ever faced. I am trying REALLY HARD to constantly keep my attitude in check, maintain positivity and continue thanking my lucky stars. I am so glad that I purchased voluntary LTD insurance with MetLife through Intel. It has taken 16 months of effort but I've obtained a full SSDI award, LTD award from my corporation and MetLife LTD award.

I now know all about chronic pain, autoimmune diagnoses, ADA law, invisibile disabilities, how to drive the build of a strong SSDI and LTD case with objective medical findings and the ins and outs of working with attorneys for both government and private LTD insurers.

Who knew I'd have this amazing opportunity?! This was the last thing I thought I would develop an expertise in but it has been rather interesting and with the staggering number of folks being diagnosed with various forms of stress related disability, I can imagine there are many folks out there in big corporations going through a similar experience.

Now the awards are done, the official last day at work has passed and life goes on. I AM BORED OUT OF MY MIND.

I cannot work because I'm unreliable at best, when a rheumatoid flare hits me I am out of operation for days to weeks on end. I have extensive knowledge and desire to be of relevance...but my body stops me. It's frustrating.

I'd love to hear how others have dealt with going from 120mph to what feels like a dead do you avoid depression that comes with feeling irrelevant or out of the game?

How does one deal with loss of career identity, especially when the career was (admittedly likely too much a part of your identity and life)?

How do you power on when there isn't a spouse or kids to help you get through things?

What is the way to look at the loss of work friends when you are no longer part of the organization?

Perhaps there is some reading or ideas others have come to. I would be grateful for any recommendations.

Comments for Captain of Industry to Captain of the Sofa!! :) What now?

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Retirement Disability
by: Anonymous

Kass: I'm retired 13 months as of 2017, not disabled but I can identify with transitioning from a high action, demanding job to the daily tasks of trying to sort out meaning and purpose and maintain a positive disposition (nobody likes a grouch, right?).

I try to talk to my subconscious and remind myself that I am so fortunate to not have to worry about keeping a roof over my head, have a healthy, still at work wife and we enjoy being together, I have no health issues (knock on wood), and I have choices where many retirees have very limited choices.

Nonetheless, I struggle with periods of anxiety and sadness. I do my very best to take care of the entire household and tell myself that the housework and yard work is as meaningful in the long run as anything I did at my former job.

I take walks and do exercise at home and this helps work off restless energy. I also have cut caffeine by about 90% as this fed anxiety and nervous energy in ways I didn't realize until I quit. Eliminating processed foods to the extent possible also has helped with weight control and having a better feeling of fitness (along with the moderate exercise). I don't know if I will ever again have that feeling of being important and essential that I did while I was at work but I do realize that it was an illusion.

I am just hoping to achieve a sense of contentment that will last me until death. I remind myself of the old saying that graveyards are full of indispensable people to keep perspective on life and to keep myself humble.

by: Anonymous

Wow Kass, yours may be the quintessential retirement "What now?" I have read since discovering Wendy's site.

Suggestion #1: Write your book! I did it last winter, it distracted me, in a good way, for five long, dreary months that I was stuck indoors, it cost me $800 to have 15 copies printed for friends and family, and it was amazing!

Honorable Mention suggestion, one I keep going back to when people ask me what I do with all my time: Reach back into your childhood and rediscover whatever it was that caused you to completely lose track of time. Music, art, inventing stuff, whatever made you insanely happy. It's still right there inside you, you just locked it up when you got too busy with life.

And finally, one that I'm giving thought to right now, because I too am becoming temporarily bored: start a "salon" discussion group, an intimate gathering of complete strangers with a shared concern for what is wrong with our great country and what we as mere individuals can do about it. The recurrent theme will be in the spirit of Rodney King: Why can't we all just get along? I'm considering calling mine the Race-Religious Roundtable. Each group of ten to twelve must include black, white, young, old, Muslim, Christian, nones and yes, even atheists. And the only real discussion requirements will be brutal honesty and absolute civility.

That's my two cents worth. It may take some time, but you will figure it out.

!00 miles an hour to 0 miles per hour
by: Roadrunner13

Kass, I know where you are coming from. I worked in Research and Development for 18 years. It was a most challenging job and I loved it. I was a Technician but travelled a lot for the company. I also have a handful of patents with my team members at the time.

Lost my job when the company decided to move. I also went from 100 mph to 0 mph and hit a brick wall. I had two more 'real' jobs after that. One was for 4 years with another R & D company. Got laid off there.

My Mom got sick during the lay off and then she passed away. Another stake in my heart. I took care of her dog for a couple of years and she had to be put down and that broke my heart too.

My job was all consuming and Hub also had a job that sucked the life out of him too. We have no children either. Hub got bad news after he was retired two years and has had surgery and radiation. So far he is doing pretty good. Life isn't easy for sure!

Maybe you can look on line in your area for Meet Ups. They are groups that get together to do all sorts of things. You might find a writing group, book group, discussion group, knitting...yes men knit!

There was a story of an older man who made knit caps with a knitting loom. An inexpensive item. You could make them and donate them to Veterans or Cancer patients in hospitals.

Don't think life is over or has passed you by, you have just come to a fork in the road!

You have choices!

Thank you all
by: Kass/Northern California

Thanks to each of you! I really appreciate the cathartic experience of writing my story down and putting it out there.

I'll be looking into functional medicine now and thinking about how I can contribute to the betterment of humanity. I'm limited by my LTD on actually earning income but I can most certainly pull out those old notes I scribbled down that were a start to a book I thought about writing years ago. It looks like one of my awards is coming back and fighting my diagnosis so it's also back to work on that.

I guess there is no rest for the weary or the disabled. LoL!!

by: loyce!

Focus on WHAT YOU HAVE TO OFFER. Can you invite a few friends to your house to converse and/or play cards/games? Go on/line and see all the options available for becoming involved.

Doctor Help
by: Elizabeth/Spokane

It sounds like you could afford to consult with a functional doctor. Look up Dr. OBryan on the Internet or just functional medicine. There are natural ways to heal from autoimmune diseases.

find a way to help the world
by: Anonymous

I understand you are unable to work in a regular job since flares are unpredictable. I would like to help the world with a solar updraft up slope power generator that is also a city. I have been working on it for years, not sure it will ever be built but it has been fun.

Can you find some big or little thing you want to do and plan out how to get it done? Is it possible you could help me get mine done? I am sure you still know many people who might be in a position to help you.

Thanks if you can help me. Michael Hertel

Start an Online Consulting Business?
by: Wendy

Why not start your own online business? One you can work from home?

If you'd like to chat about life, or a home business,
please schedule a call here.

This is not a sales call, simply 30 minute chat about where life is headed.

You stil have much to offer this world!

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