Could have planned better

by Nancy
(South Bend, IN)

Just before my 65th birthday, I decided it was time to retire. My husband had been happily retired for 8 years and I thought I was ready to join him.

My game plan for the first year was to move around just enough that no one would mistake me for dead! I planned to sleep late, stay up late, do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. Life was going to be great.

After all, I had anticipated this day for 47 years.
While we do enjoy road trips on occasion, most of our time is spent at home or with friends and family. Our hobbies are reading, watching TV, internet and some yard work, depending on the Indiana weather.

The first 4 months of my retirement were exactly what I had hoped for. The stress was gone, I would never again be under a boss's thumb, and I had never been more relaxed.

Then something happened. One of my classmates passed away, another co-worker was in the process of dying, a cousin died and another friend was diagnosed with a very serious illness. Suddenly, I questioned my own mortality more than ever before. I wondered what I would do with the rest of my life, beyond finding new ways to entertain myself.

I became clinically depressed, no longer interested in the trips to the beach, shopping, dinners out. Nothing seemed to matter. I became anxious, waking after a few hours of sleep with trembling and mind racing. And retirement started to suck!

At about the same time, I developed an illness that will require surgery in the next couple of weeks. Having been healthy all my life, this was a major shock and of course disappointment.

Currently, I have started antidepressants which I know take a month to reach full effect, and an antianxiety drug.

After the surgery recovery, I plan to find ways to volunteer in the schools in my area and have signed up for a "forever learning" course where I hope to meet new friends who are also retired.

Until then, wish me luck and take a lot of time to plan what you will do after retirement.


Comments for Could have planned better

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Slow response
by: Nancy

Hi people,

Thank you all for your very interesting comments.
Unfortunately, I missed the notifications that you had responded and will be working on answering each of you.

Take good care and enjoy your well-deserved retirement!


by: Anonymous

Hi Nancy,

Hope by now you have had your surgery and are on the road to recovery. I think volunteering is a good plan. I did for awhile in our hospital and also for Hospice. School would be fun, the kids are great. I think elementary would be what I would pick.

I don't volunteer any longer as I have hip problems and don't want to be tied down. It is hard to make friends at our age. My husband is not retired and my friends husbands are home. A big problem. I really don't fit in.

Like you, we enjoy staying home. Although we are talking about getting an RV so we can visit our children and see the places that I have dreamed about. We can do it together, meet people and take off when we want to. My husband retires in 2 1/2 yrs.

Meanwhile we can get the RV now. I have been depressed also, being alone all week, my husband is on the road, is not healthy. With my children grown the empty nest is really empty. I am glad you have a plan also, we need that, something to look forward to. I hope you do the things you said you were thinking of.

Good luck to you, it will all work out.

Forever Learning
by: Joe W.

Most seniors seem to think that retirement life is all leisure time. I think it's the more consumption that often leads seniors to anxieties or depression. Take time for bereavement then when your ready start with your 'Forever Learning'(Lifelong Learning) course. You will probably be with other like-minded seniors taking the same course. From this point see what

opportunities are presenting themselves and go with the few that sound exciting to learn more about.

Joe W.

Retirement planning
by: Paula

Hi Nancy. First let me wish you all the best in your retirement. I retired in March 2014 and like you I did not really plan. I just wanted out of the rat race after 40+ years! At first it was okay and I enjoyed not having to get up to an alarm, fight traffic, and work in a windowless office all day. But eventually it began to get boring. To make matters worse health problems kept me from doing certain things and a diagnosis of diabetes threw me into a deep depression. I am getting better and beginning to accept my limitations and do what I can do and not worry about what I cannot do!

The way I look at planning though is you can plan all you want but sometimes the best plans get thwarted by life! I have also recently realized that my whole adult life I have been a caretaker. And now suddenly I do not have that responsibility and I was lost. Retirement is a huge life change. Some people just seem to slide right into it, others have a very difficult time. I just say hang in there and you will work through this.

Best wishes to you.

Good Luck!
by: Sheila White

You are thinking in exactly the right way. Instead of focussing on a possibly gloomy future, you have decided to think of others and what you can do for them. It's the best way of all to overcome retirement stress. I know. I've been through it and come out on the other side. Now that I need help myself, I am not afraid to ask for it, knowing how beneficial it is to the giver. Jolly Good Luck to you!

An important time in our lives
by: Elna Nugent, Lenox, MA

Dear Nancy : Thousands of people spend their whole life avoiding questions involving mortality. Yet I think that these questions can be answered and can save countless people from clinical depression which is the malaise of our times.

I spent most of my life trying to find the reasons behind what we are doing here on thie earth and why. I eventually found the answers I needed and wrote them in a published memoir, Mountain Ash ,that is available free through your public libraries if you ask for it. Or at where you can read one of my strange experiences.

It took many unusual and unforgettable crises before I found the answers that satisfied me. We all have to find our own answers. But I can tell you this, we are here for a purpose to learn things specific to our history, and sometimes our darkest moments open the doors to this understanding.

We would be shocked If we could only know the height, the depth and the breadth of the unconditional love that is available to us. Just "asking" the universal consciousness or God for something you need can do amazing things. Ask for it as if you were sending an order to an online store and trust without question that you will receive it .
It seems that only in our helplessness can we defer our ego to the larger Mind. We have to ask to receive and it doesn't take that long. Blessings.

Retired for 10 years
by: Linda

Hi Nancy,

I so understand exactly what you are saying in your letter. The same thing happened to me but now, after a few years I realized that I love my free time just for me. I love going out to dinner at 6pm or 9pm ~ whatever time I like. Things will get better for you and if you need a person to talk with about retirement, just let me know. I will be happy to write you.

I'm with you ...
by: Anonymous

Hi Nancy,
I've experienced almost the same outcome from retiring. Retirement was forced on me when my company moved and didn't take any administrative staff with them. I felt just like you. Having worked 40+ years, I was ready to sleep in, stay up late and do what I wanted when I wanted. No more getting up at 5 am! At first, I felt the relief of it all, walking, doing yoga, working out at the gym, gardening and working on projects. Also took a cruise. Life was great!

Soon enough the gloom set in. My niece had terminal cancer and passed away, weeks later I totaled my car and soon after my spinal stenosis became unbearable. Walking was agonizing and I felt like I was living in a black hole. I had surgery to relive the nerve pain and looked forward to it to get my life back. Well it hasn't come back. The nerve pain went away but I have different pain now and am no better off, being inactive as I was before the surgery. I'm 4 months out from surgery and have been going to physical therapy with no end in sight. It's the only thing I have scheduled to do.

My husband was already home when I retired. He's been disabled for 16 years.

Since surgery, I have no energy, could care less about the house and yard and money is extremely tight. I've never been without my own income and it's been very hard to NOT shop for anything but food and the bare necessities.

Hubby just doesn't get it, he tells me I should be grateful for what I have. I am, but I used to be a positive person, always looking to improve our home and myself. There is no reason to clothes shop. I have more than enough casual clothes. I haven't put on a pair of heels since my niece's funeral and have boxes and boxes of them.

I started missing getting dressed, wearing make-up and putting on jewelry. You know, feeling good about yourself. I wear no make-up or jewelry when I leave the house. I would never do that before.

We do absolutely nothing. Stay home, watch TV. Hubby starts planning out nighttime viewing at 6 pm. Our life revolves around TV shows. We NEVER go out to eat and I cook EVERY day. I'm starting to hate it. Those peanut butter and jelly sandwich dinners we had when I was working don't cut it for him anymore. I'm so sick of COOKING I could scream, but it is the most cost effective. If we only went out to eat once a month, I'd be happier. I can't take it much longer. I spend a lot of time on-line and reading. I've decided to go back to work. I finally realized everything was pointing to it. I'm so much better when I'm working. I'm organized, goal oriented and ON. I'm none of that right now. I was meant to work, not stay home. It's been a good eye opener.

Good luck to you.

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