by Bill Hartford

I seem to be going thru this right now. I retired over a year ago, and no, I don't miss my job of 32 years at all. I was a Custodial Supervisor at a local college and nothing rewarding outside a paycheck was how it was at the end.

Motorcycling has been my favorite hobby for many years, but the bike broke down for the first time the other week. I'm sure this adds to my depression but it does not account for it.

Really felt like I had it made last year, but now I'm not so sure. I was always concerned about the Existential side of retirement and now it seems like those concerns are hitting me head on. I have much to be thankful for in this life and so I'm hating myself for feeling this way at all. Life doesn't seem to have any meaning right now.

I don't seem to have any purpose for being alive. And I'm certain another job is not the answer...

Comments for Depressed

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I can so relate
by: Jayna

I retired at 58 after 30 years teaching. Teaching was a passion for me, not just a job. I retired because I would lose 5 years of cost of living increases if I did not. I made the decision in May and was done in June. I did not realize what a huge transition this would be. I have friends who are retired and they seem content.

Then there's me. I feel like a lost soul. I have been struggling with anxiety and depression for 3 years now. I did some ELL tutoring and even tried retail part time. Can't seem to find the fulfillment that I really miss.

Working with a therapist and psychiatrist. I have learned that my expectations for life as a retiree are unrealistic. I have so much to be thankful for......

A bit different
by: Elizabeth , West Virginia

Then most of you, but still the same. I worked until I was 81, with the same firm for 37 years. I too feel as though I am hanging in the wind.

Try to keep busy with my charity knitting. The volunteer route was a dead end for me, after learning that my age and handy cane, Fred, was not needed at numerous charities.

Love history and the Great Courses has just begun a streaming service with their over 400 classes in all sorts of subjects, keeps mind moving.

One of your blogs mentioned pen pals, I call it snail mail. So nice to have something in the mailbox besides bills.

This is only my second year of retirement and I too am looking for purpose, after all of those years in an office environment, I do miss interaction with others. Will keep searching as I am sure you will too.

by: Louisewt

Devein said exactly how I perceived my working life: "I am sure like many men, I am a victim of my own making in that I always identified myself by my job. And most of my social life was also with co workers. But most contact with them also stopped as they were all much younger."

I am a woman and this statement applied to me too. I had a fantastic job that I fell into. I worked there for 18 years. It was a dream job where I was treated with respect, got fantastic raises, travelled, the the company benefits were over the top. Even went to a golf outing in CA all expenses paid for a long weekend.

Then got laid off from that job and had to take a job I despised and was micromanaged so bad and was even turned down to buy a pair of scissors! At my previous job I had carte blanche to buy just about anything. I finally got another job that was better but the company was always on the brink of financial ruin. I was laid off after 4 years.

When I think back to the bad experiences I had after I left my dream job, sometimes I am glad to be forced into retirement. Sometimes I miss the old hustle bustle. Sometimes I miss being the 'go to' person who could help someone get what they needed.

The one thing I know is that the past is in the past. There is no going back. So we must march forward!

Think of Daniel Boone and other explorers who were the first to go thru uncharted territories. Never knowing what was ahead! But did go forward with bravery!

One thing of interest I would like to share is The Internet Archive. It is a website with TONS of reading materials and old radio shows and I think old TV shows. There are some really interesting PDF books from long ago. Scientific, biography's, how to books, religion, military, cookbooks and much more. So much interesting stuff. Plus, it gives you a peek into the world 100 years ago. I find it facinating!

What are your values?
by: Anonymous

Read toward the bottom for a concrete suggestion, i ramble.

It makes good sense to be depressed about some things. If some things did not depress a person I would think they were not really participating in life.

When I asked one friend for less phone time, she basically dumped me as a friend. Well, I miss her, but I have observed in the past that she cuts people off cold and entirely. With forgiveness a big big part of my value system, I feel sorry for her.

I do have a concrete suggestion.

Figure out what your top five values are, and improve your life to fit your values. For example, if you value civility (like not having a short temper, that kind), then pay close attention to see if you behave in a civil manner most of the time, or if you would be happier if you improved that area. So for example, I am much happier because I am not being snippy at my ex (I am instead being civ il_

If forgiveness is one of your top values, spend some time seeing if you live to your values.

I have found this to be quite fulfilling. Basically, I am making myself become more aligned with my top five values.

Please let me know if you try this.

i agree
by: damaged 2

I left teaching after 33 yrs. with only the paycheck as incentive, and now the year is up and I still feel no purpose, depressed and angry most of the time.

I have two mentally ill adult children and one is now living with us.

Every small dream or "bucket list" has gone out the window. The people that say just get going and volunteer don't really understand the depth of depression and its effects.

My husband is happy and content and "it will all work out."

I don't really want another job either. I just want to hide from people and life, so I understand your pain. Wish I had a robot.

I get it
by: Joe, NY

I am new to this forum and have never participated in this type of thing. I just turned 60 last month and retired this past November after 31 years with my State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Also, separated and very soon to be divorced. Not sure if I'm depressed (maybe) but certainly rudderless. Am keeping busy with mostly small projects trying to upgrade the home. I have been a biker my whole life also.

Most friends are still working at this point. The first few months were pretty difficult but things are getting better.

Good luck Bill!

Make your Bed
by: Paul/NY


I read a book less than a month ago and it has made a big difference in my life. It is titled "Make Your Bed" by Admiral McRaven, who was the commander of all the Special Forces. Actually, the book is more about living than the Special Forces, but they and we must require something of ourselves.

Good Luck, and I hope you find peace.

Retired Custodial Management - Hospital
by: Barry in Omaha

I'm 66, retired since 2009, a 4th stage Renal cancer patient and occasionally depressed but surprising fighting depression by keeping busy with computer fun, pen pals, Streaming TV and helping my wife of 38 years who is a 3 time cancer survivor.

Somehow, I still feel blessed to have family nearby and the support I feel from others.


by: Ken San Diego


What you have is 'reactive' depression, caused my some traumatic experience... ALL life milestones are traumatic, going to school, leaving school, getting married, having children, new job, firing from job, medical catastrophe, etc.

SO DON'T FRET IT ... EVERYONE goes through it ...and if they say they don't then they are fibbing!

Go out on a trip somewhere, contact some high school friends etc. I tried doing that ..and it was interesting what their lives turned out to be!

If that doesn't help right away... have a beer (but just One) LOL

There's a bunch of us, Bill
by: DeveinCalif

Boy! can I relate to your letter. And this is probably just a "misery loves company" type response.

I worked for NASA for the last 20 years of the Space Shuttle Program. I LOVED it! However, when the Shuttle retired in 2011, all the excitement of that program disappeared and so I retired a year later at 67. I was not a gov’t employee so I don’t have a generous lifetime pension. But financially I'm OK.

I’m a single guy who never quite got to the alter for the pleasure(?) of marriage. So no children or lady in my life at the moment.

I’ve tried many volunteer activities but they all eventually seem to be just busy work with no significant reward. The little bit of gardening that I do has even turned into "domestic drudgery". Traveling alone is also not very fun.

So I am also dealing with some depression. NOT the serious, "end it all" type feelings, by any means. But like you, just can’t seem to find a fulfilling activity.

Like you, I do believe in a higher power and am grateful daily for the good things I do have. I am sure like many men, I am a victim of my own making in that I always identified myself by my job. And most of my social life was also with co workers. But most contact with them also stopped as they were all much younger.

So, even though I don’t have an answer for you, I just wanted to let you know there seems to be a whole bunch of us in that same boat.

And with all the boomers heading into retirement, … well to paraphrase a line from the movie Jaws, I’ve got a feeling that, … "we’re gonna need a bigger boat."

But in spite of this temporary gloominess, life is still GREAT!

Let’s all hang in there together, Bill.

We're not alone!
by: Sandi

wow.......I really do know exactly how you're feeling! But I guess it is a natural thing to feel this way. Keep in touch with this site because it helps you to realize that how you feel is not uncommon!

Also, you can express how you are feeling to people who have walked in your shoes, and therefore, they can help!

It is a miracle that I found this site, just by googling "why do I hate retirement?"

Funny how things happen!

by: Louisewt

I too feel like I have no direction. I have tons of household chores that need to be done but have let them all slide. Now to fix that mess is seeming too overwhelming. I used to have jobs that kept me mentally fulfilled and was so busy I had no time to get bored.

When you think about it you are marched around since a baby. You have had to learn to walk, talk, learn morals, learn how to dress. Then off to school for 12 years to learn. Off to college, trade schools or other for higher education. Or some just start working. Once in the working world we have to work for our entire adult life.

Then somewhere along the way, we either get laid off or decide to retire. Then whammo!

We have been regimented for a lifetime and most of us have not had training for retirement. No one is expecting anything of us. Freedom is wonderful but we humans are used to schedules, being at work 40 hours a week. Rushing around to prepare for the following week.

Some people have hobbies or money to persue interests. Some people have not prepared for endless hours of time to deal with. Not everyone is into hiking, biking, parachuting at age 65. Not everyone is into volunteering. It is a difficult transition and each of us has to deal with it in different ways.

Would be nice if there was retirement transition courses. We are trained for everything but retirement. Where is retirement school?

Many Thanks!,
by: Bill Hartford

Thanks everyone for your ideas and support. I guess that many of us feel that way.

As a matter of fact, I DO exercise every day. I do 50 minutes on the stationary bike. I've been a skier and an outdoorsman most of my life, so you see, I'm not in bad shape for an old fart.

Still, something is missing and it's hard to describe exactly what. But thanks again. It helps to know that I'm not alone in what I'm experiencing right now.....

Bucket List
by: Michigan

Hi Bill,

My first year was depressing and I lost myself reading, watching DVD'S and feeling sorry for myself.

One movie I watched was 'Bucket List' and then I made one. My list was a lot simpler ha, ha but after making the list I realized that in order to do the things I wanted I need to be in shape.

So since April of 2016 I have been exercising ~ SLOW AT FIRST ~ but now 15 months later I have more strength and find doing things much easier. I learned to bowl this winter and in May did my first 5K for charity. I'm planned my first trip and in July before my birthday plan to go. I'm pacing myself hs, ha!

So I suggest you make your list ~ fix your bike ~ and take a ride! Remember to make retirement fun you need to take that first positive step ~ Good luck my friend

Depressed also
by: Anonymous

I know somewhat how u feel, I suffer from bad depression also, medication doesn't help..
I'm 66 years old and like you my life is dead.
I'll be thinking of u. John

Retirement Meaning in the Third Age
by: Joe W.

Congrats on 32 years of working in a corporate culture! Maybe your thinking right now that you have been pushed to the pasture land before your time. We all have this experience after leaving our last job.

Unfortunately or fortunately we are responsible for giving some meaning to our own retirement life. Your in charge now. You can put your retirement life on automatic pilot OR you become the pilot and start creating the kind of retirement life that you want for yourself. A meaningful retirement takes some hard work on your part. Your in the Third Age just like myself having the freedom to create anything that you want to do for the rest of your life.

Get Busy
by: Anonymous

there are so many volunteer organizations that would appreciate your help. Please try this and meet knew people with a purpose in life

trying to get on to next phase?
by: Jane/Indiana

I am 65, fit, healthy, financially ok. But I feel like a rudderless boat, with very little current. Is it partly because our society has NO expectations for 'retired' people, and we must find our own fulfillment with very little directions other then the voices in our head/soul?

I know many singles try the dating thing, many marrieds try separate vacations or divorce. And the get a job option that I am considering.

My dreams seem to be slowly dying. No, not clinically depressed, but not even close to thriving. Can you relate?

by: mildred/tn

concentrate on getting the bike fixed an get back on the road..then the depression will fade.. Keep busy. Make plans to do and go places, make new bike friends. Depression can happen when we work also..

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