I hate being "retired"

by Judy in the 'Burbs

I am 71, healthy, active, and my healthcare providers can't believe I am actually the age I profess to be. I retired at 70 from a high-performance but high stress position in the health and social services field and I am miserable.

I didn't get two advanced degrees and work hard in competitive roles all my life to go home, scrub floors, plan dinner, do the family laundry and basically be a domestic for my husband.

I don't find volunteering in gift shops or tutoring children or filling foodbank bags interesting or engaging. I'm really starting to get an "attitude" when people suggest this stuff; I worked in nonprofits with minimal benefits and reduced salary "doing good" all my life and don't want to continue doing it for free at this point in my life.

Anyone else out there who felt similar?

What did you do?

Comments for I hate being "retired"

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by: Kayla Massachusetts


I retired at 64 when I became very ill, because I did not think I would recover. I did recover and am grateful for my life. However, l too hate retirement.

I see several problems you may share:

High-achieving people who retire stop receiving important things: status and recognition.
You don't get these playing pickleball or volunteer jobs. If these are meaningful, it is a very huge loss. A person may not even think recognition is important, until they no longer receive it.

As well, there is a diminution in status as a retiree. I feel it immediately when l am asked 'what I do' whether as a patient in a doctor's office or a dinner party. I don't see it that way, but many others do. It's a "less than" societal role.

So no I don't hear anger in your post, It may be loss, possible fear or emptiness.

To be happy we have to fill the gaps that leaving the job creates, exactly how? I am working on this.

Good luck you will do it l know.

Glad you posted
by: Larry Steward / SC

I'm glad you posted Judy because it created many responses. I would be interested to hear any new thoughts you have.

I have been in my retirement years since 2010 and haven't stopped working. I've been through many adjustments including relocation from the NY area to South Carolina and changing my career direction. I've never been more focused and excited about living each and every day! I'm once again involved in something I love to do - professional coaching.

I sense you have something valuable to offer the world but haven't found the purpose you want to pursue yet. It won't be handed to you by someone else, it will have to come from within and be created by your commitment to it.

If you can move in that direction it will supercharge your life like never before.

Then again, if that doesn't appeal to you, be happy with your free time and try to enjoy it.

I Have Been in Your Shoes
by: Linda/Nevada

I may be wrong, but I sense anger and resentment in your post. I retired in 2015 and I was angry. I blamed God, my employer that laid me off, and my coworkers who got to keep their jobs. It is now 2019 and I am so glad that retirement happened for me when it did.

Volunteering is supposed to be about giving your time and talents to people who need help. It is not about self-gratification. Until you deal with your anger, you probably are not a good fit for volunteering.

I am still trying to find like minded people whom I can have intelligent conversations with. Retired people come from all walks of life. Some people had more advantages than others concerning their childhood, education, and work opportunities. I have to constantly remind myself that I am not more special than anyone else.

Did you have specific expectations when you retired? If nothing else, I have learned that flexibility goes a long way in being happy and happiness comes in many forms.

I still have flashbacks of my working years, and my life in general, but I have to fight hard to overcome any negative memories that keep me from living in peace and in simple contentment.

I hope you can work through your unhappiness. Each day that you are irritated with your new stage of life, you are missing out on the positive possibilities of retirement.

by: Jane

Totally agree, I find myself in the same position , similar background as you .

How about sports?
by: Glenn/Arizona

How about funneling your energy into a sport maybe like pickleball? Seems like this would satisfy your desire to work to be the best at something, keep you fit and busy in retirement.

Yup I get it
by: Anonymous

Hi Judy,

I think you’ve posted to the right place. Btw I think retirement transition is very confusing and upsetting for folks who don’t fit the mold. Wendy has done a great service by creating her website.

There are as many different perspectives about retirement as there are people. We are in the midst of what experts call the longevity revolution. We are all explorers in what has been for most of humanity, virgin territory. I hope by this age people can be kind and understanding towards our fellow human beings.

Yes, you are fortunate to be able to retire ( I need to remind myself many do not have the luxury) but sounds like you are struggling.

If I can offer 2 cents - don’t buy the conventional wisdom if you’re not a conventional person! I got a lot of the same advice/ suggestions from folks when I retired and my reaction was are you kidding me ?"

It wasn’t arrogance it was fear that I was losing my essential self. Trust yourself and the process. Go to your strengths. It will come to you.

Try Networking
by: Joe Curiel

Hi Judy,

Quick thought for you to consider.

When you next speak to a someone, ask them this simple question," How do you spend your free time?".

Gather ideas and suggestions from as many people that you can. Look into the suggestions, you might find something that you might look into.


Hate retirement...
by: Dave / Michigan

Hey Judy lose the ego. If you're all that healthy and smart brush up on your Spanish and visit Tierra del Fuego. Go swimming in the Black Sea. Get out of your comfort zone for once in your life. You're retired, remember? You sound like an arrogant whiner who thinks someone owes you something.

retirement can be good
by: Laura in Vermont

I'm newly retired from a social services job so the pay was mediocre. It was rewarding in other ways though. But it took all my energy. So at 65 I called it quits.

I had outside interests that I started up while still working, and it's easy to be occupied with them. And unlike you, I have only one advanced degree, so I'm also working on the house some. My husband helps but the place needs a lot of work.

So I wonder, since you're healthy, why you don't go back to work if that's what you miss. I know people who work professional jobs well into their 80s because they prefer to. Maybe you can even get paid enough to hire a domestic.

by: Wee-zer

Judy, I don't hate retirement but I do find it somewhat a letdown. Also, I didn't retire, I was downsized.

I too came from a very challenging work environment. Every day was non stop. I travelled a lot and it was stressful at times. Sometimes I think I miss it but when I worked I wished I was retired. I was so stressed out and when we went on vacation my brain was in overload for days till I realized I could relax.

Like you, I don't feel much interest in volunteering. I have no children so that means no grandkids either. My world is small. I know all the things that are recommended and I have also recommended them to others but I don't heed my advice much.

I guess we just need to keep searching for something to make ourselves happy. Learn something new, a hobby, do something nice for a person in need. Good luck!

Couldn’t Agree More
by: Anonymous

I worked as an educator and probably put in more time than an employee who works Year round. I hate to think what my hourly rate actually came out to.

I do not want to volunteer for the same reasons that you cite. I also feel somewhat insulted at the amount of money that I would make now, in a "typical" retirement job. I would like to work for something to do, but don’t want to be taken advantage of.

My husband is an introvert, so I’m bored out of my skull. Can’t accept the fact that this is all there is in my so called "golden" years.

Having fun my way
by: Simple person /at home

You probably wouldn't like my choices one bit, but at the start of year 3, I have found a lot of happiness literally in my own backyard. I have rediscovered the pleasure of "playing outside in my own yard"!

Now, you would probably hate that, because it sounds like you need to organize your own project, lead the way, and you be the one to start something.

What do you care about? Clean water, gun control, transparency in medical/insurance charges, reducing plastic bags, bicycle lanes, or what matters to you?

It sounds like you are used to leading, not following someone's plan, so decide what you want to change in the world and go work on it!

Meanwhile, I am going back to happily playing in the dirt!

by: Plp green bay

Your post is very arrogant. Go back to work; who is stopping you. I worked in a good job until 65 and feel great to be able to sleep in, read (reading the Mueller report), bike ride, walk, etc. etc.

I am assuming you do not have financial stress the way you sound with your 2 degrees. Get over yourself.

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