Finding myself after retirement, or who am I now?

by Cathy

Gran Canaria 2012

Gran Canaria 2012

I am writing this in the hope that this will be therapeutic and enable me to find some clues as to my new identity!

The main problem I have is finding something that 'fits' me after retirement as I found my original job by accident as a computer operator in 1965 and loved every minute of it. I enjoyed running huge mainframes and got on much better with the machines than people and could happily spend a whole twelve-hour shift making sure everything was running correctly.

I am an adopted only child, married without children as my mother was a midwife and I was put off childbirth by her graphic accounts of screaming mothers and their inordinately long and painful labours. As a result I have no close family so do not fit into the mother/grandmother slot.

I am very independent and have travelled extensively with my husband by motorcycle through most of the world and get very restless if I am not travelling somewhere.

My last job was with Shell in London and as I was a contractor I left when the department closed in 2009 after nearly 20 years with the company in various incarnations so really miss the people and daily banter and just being useful.

I live outside London in Surrey, am financially secure and am finishing off my third Open University degree this year. Despite all this I am at a complete loss as I am not someone who joins groups readily, but just needs to find a milieu in which I feel at home.

On the surface I have no problems or worries. I constantly battle with depression, feel useless and need to have a structure to my life. In dealing with depression I seem unable to get on with ordinary everyday things and just spend time in cafes people-watchIng.

I am 68 now and last year I went to six funerals so the thought of mortality is not far away. In 2004 I was diagnosed with stage 1 grade 1 breast cancer so I'm always wondering about that coming back.

I have tried voluntary work which is not for me, nor is staying at home staring at the four walls so as you can see I'm thoroughly confused. I never thougt retirement would be like this and keep hoping to find more fulfilment in my life. I feel I am squandering time, but the more I try to organise it, the harder it is. Maybe someone out there has a suggestion or two to clarify my thoughts. Thanks.

Cathy G.

Comments for Finding myself after retirement, or who am I now?

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Finding balance in Retirement :)
by: Cheryl/Rochester Hills, MI

Hi All! I worked for 25 years in Customer Service. The Company I worked for sold the department and I was out of the job I LOVED at the end of this past year. It definitely was not an easy adjustment at first.

However, I am finding a balance. I was always fast pace so not having a jam packed day certainly threw me off! With that said, I have learned to relax a little.

I found a volunteer job that I like, I LOVE Wendy's sites and I am always looking for new opportunities. I am willing to step outside the box.

New friends are always welcome! We can do this! :)

Me, too
by: Doris

Cathy, you sound like me. I had a chaotic career in NYC and moved to the south and am totally at a loss.

Like you, I am not a joiner and get bored easily with the volunteer work, going to the gym, etc., also. Nothing seems to be dynamic enough for me.

I recently bought a small RV with plans to just go - seems like I need to add chaos to my life to feel alive. I have a son in California who is thinking of starting a small business and I am considering selling my house here and going out there to help him. Don't know at this point.

I never thought I would be this lost, also. This feeling a daily basis is very unhealthy.

Hope we find our way!

computer skills
by: Deb Rockwall, Texas

Cathy, you mentioned travel and people watching. Photo shop is an awesome program for editing digital photography. It is fin to experiment with photos you take of all those places and people.

I retired s few months ago and can relate. Sounds like you are doing the perfect thing, put dates to do on your calendar.

Happy travels and finding the new improved you.

Someone told me when people ask what you do, don't discuss who you use to be or say nothing, but answer what ever I want yo do. Puts a new prospective on life.

Tap shoes reply
by: Cathy G

Great idea, love it especially being able to do yhis in the privacy of your own garage. Don't forget to dance as if no one is watching and hope the music is loud enough to bounce of the walls. Trust you have a snazzy outfit as well.




by: Loyce!

Just received new tap shoes and now watching tap dance instruction on Youtube; practicing in the garage daily and grateful for the instruction in the privacy of my home.

Reply to Leigh
by: Cathy G

Thanks that was lovely and I take your point about lack of structure and I love the idea of staying for a month in a favourite location, wonderful.

I have Spanish conversation classes weekly which are great as we are a friendly and supportive group with an excellent teacher. One of my oldest friends also goes to that and we have long conversations afterwards about everything and nothing.

Creative classes are a good idea too and when my degree is ovef I might write some poetry. I hope you get to travel when your husband retires and I'd love to know where you end up.

Thanks again for your help.

After retirement, your still you...
by: Leigh

Hi Cathy, it appears that you have led a very busy and accomplished life and having difficulty with the lack of structure retirement seems to bring. I know that for many people the lack of structure is what they really love, but for others it feels as though there is nothing to grasp onto and it's like free-falling.

When you're dealing with depression it's also harder to organize your thoughts because the depression is somewhat self limiting.

Do you have any close friends you could talk to? Just someone to walk with or have a weekly lunch with? Sometimes creative classes can be a good alternative also.

You mentioned that you travel and seem to enjoy that. Have you ever thought of traveling to locations and staying for a month or two, just to soak up the environment/culture?

I say that because whimsically I'd always thought what fun that would be. (It's a suggestion I haven't quite addressed to my husband yet because I have to wait until he retires).

Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts because we are all searching for answers and sometimes little suggestions help.

Reply to all your posts
by: Cathy Gillespie

Just to say many thanks to you all for your help and that I feel better already through sharing these feelings.

It is a beautiful spring day here with everything in bloom, I have an interesting project to complete for my honours degree and there is a motor-bike trip in the offing next month.

We are also doing the USA Southern States tour in October (info at MCi Tours online) so will get to have a good sing-song at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, yeehah and pass me my rhinestones.




by: Cathy Gillespie

Thanks Nancy and e answer is to throw yourself into something and right now I'm doing a project on English Grammar which has to be submitted by June 4th. I plan to compare the Gettysburg Address with Martin Luther King to see if 100 years between the two speeches and Lincoln's training as a lawyer and King's as a Baptisit Minister had any iinfluence on their oratorial skills.



Transitioning forward
by: Cathy Gillespie

I love the positivity in your post, and the idea of walking a dog and playing sports every day. You seem as if you have everything organised and well done for making me feel better already. I take it you live in California which ahs to be one of my favourite states, so lucky you. Anyway thanks again and carry on enjoying your life.




by: Loyce!/Auburn, CA/Location

For some of us without family, there is a need to be around others so I seek to group together Seniors so we can socialize and share our challenges about our transitions.

I am seeking out crafters who might wish to promote and sell their crafts in a comfortable environment where shoppers would feel free to sit and socialize and enjoy a cuppa/conversation. Peeps need peeps in our own community where we share common ground.

by: Loyce!/Auburn, CA

I am looking for new passions as I transition from being a radio/TV host/producer.

I golf daily and enjoy my parrots/finches that live in an outdoor aviary. I walk routinely with a good friend; have a friend that visits and prepares meals for me as I dislike cooking and I enjoy thrifting and gifting my friends along with occasional food exchange with Neighbor Dora.

I remain empowered by thriving in my staycation and visiting/walking Dog Hanz at the local bird sanctuary down from beautiful Van Howd gallery and Ridge golf course.

I like to get where I need to be in due time and am always less than eight miles from my chosen destination, saving time/$ and stress.

Retirement and depression
by: Nancy

It amazes me, since I've been in this group, how many other people besides me struggle with depression. I identified with a lot of what you said in your post.

My husband and I don't have any kids either, and a lot of my friends are wrapped up in their grandkids. I spent part of the last 2 decades being estranged from my family of origin and am somewhat reconciled with my 2 sisters, but not my 2 nephews whom I was close to when they were growing up.

I also feel like I am squandering time. What literally saved me was my hobby which is quilting and collecting vintage sewing machines.

I think Wendy is right about following your passion which is computers.

This isn't the only time sewing has saved me from depression, there were a couple of other times I was in a bad spot and got through it with sewing.

Take care and keep coming back.

by: Judy

Find a P/T job in the morning - This will get you up with a purpose, and it doesn't have to be every single day of the week - I'm sure it will rid you of depression and give you great little spending money -You could get into a field where you've never been, such as a bakery, fast food, etc. You could even work in an office for 4 hrs.

Go on the hunt! I did this, and the depression went completely away!

by: Anonymous

anti depressant medications can really help you see things in a positive way, if your doctor approves, My whole outlook. Changed,

Look at Your Options ONLINE?
by: Wendy


If you loved working with computers before, why not now? There is so much you can do online... and its so fulfilling.

You could do classes for seniors needing computer help, become a blogger for married seniors with no kids, or choosing any other niche you might have a passion for, European travel by motorcycle, whatever. Write a Kindle book, or a series. I could go on and on...

There is so much to do online -- follow your passion and if you want to earn an income, it will follow. You'll meet so many people online. and maybe end up at conferences too The networking is fantastic -- then you have friends onine that are just as important to you as your local friends, maybe more so.

Just wanted to say this is a seriously great way to feel fulfilled, become someone on the net, help people privately or do things for the greater good.

If interested, contact me and I can brainstorm ideas with you! (lower left nav bar).

Best Wishes!

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