Life has become a horror

by Je. Ifer
(Michigan)

I retired at 75 - just couldn't put it off any longer, although I wanted to.


More than two years later, I have lost my identity and any sense of self-worth.

I am now gripped by anxiety and depression, which I never experienced before, just dragging myself through each day.

I am seeing a therapist, but it isn't helping.

Retirement is the worst thing that has ever happened to me.

Comments for Life has become a horror

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2 years into retirement was a turning point for me
by: Anonymous

Hello,

Sorry to hear about your identity crisis. For me, around the two year mark was the magic " ah,ha!" moment and things got better dramatically after that. I say this to give you hope.

Yes, it was an anxious, self-doubting time for longer than expected. Walking away from a lifetime of building up skills, advancement,.... what ever, to become invisible, ignored, feeling like no one cares about the knowledge and experience you have to share.

My evolving solution is to reduce the artifacts of a working lifetime, while creating several new small businesses that expand my knowledge and skills, while mixing in those same valuable (?) assets into an offering people can use, if they choose.

The internet is great for this, to create new businesses, blogs,..... and connect with people literally around the world. There are many sites that can help you build a site by filling in the blanks on a template. If you have things to sell, shopping carts are plug and play.

Got a pile of stuff stored in boxes from 40-50 years of working? I'm ebaying it, at very low prices, just so someone who can really use it will benefit. Better the landfill.

So, go for it. What have you always wanted to try?

I read good advice from a website. The person used actuary tables to figure out, on average, how many days were left in his/ her life. Then they took this number, and calculated the day and year when they will die. And then they have a count down clock that updated every day.

I have about 5000 days left. Divide this into weeks, months and years and you will see you only have about 10-20 more summers.

Jump
by: Ike

It is a horrible feeling you're experiencing.

First hand knowledge came to me a week after I retired. Like you I felt worthless.. useless.. without purpose with nothing to live for.

It was one of the most difficult times of my life.... after 3 years it started getting better.. 5 years out.. it finally clicked... I no longer had to depend on my former work life to fulfill me.

I'm sure it's the same for most people... with varying lengths of time to adjust.... some sooner.. some like me...... slow to realize.

I believe we are satisfied with ourselves when we find something we enjoy....... so the key is finding something... that's not easy... because we sometimes don't know what we enjoy.

The key ..in my opinion is experimentation.. not being afraid to try new things.. just jump in....... and keep jumping.. if you don't like one thing... try another.. pretty soon ..keep trying.. you will have a few things you enjoy.

It is harder with this covid however it is doable.

Wishing you joy and fulfillment going forward........... Ike.

Keep trying
by: Anonymous

I have suffered with anxiety most of my life. I'm 71 and finally found a doctor (psychiatrist) who prescribed buspar and I feel normal...at last.

All the other doctors just prescribed anti-depression medication but this doctor figured it out and I'm so glad I finally got help!

Retiring Late
by: Joe W.

Retiring at 75?

You should be grateful for lasting in the work world for so long. Your 'work identity' is probably etched in stone and it will be challenging to feel comfortable in your new retirement lifestyle.

I would start trying all sorts of new things to ignite a lifelong learning habit.

After that, it's up to you. Choose wisely and don't be afraid of failure.

difficult retirement
by: matt i

Je.Ifer, I can appreciate your uneasiness with retirement--you have been fortunate to have worked until 75 years-old - whew.

I went through a similar transition, but I decided to use this stage of life to count my blessings instead of adding up troubles.

I discovered the many options of learning through the library and of the computer. Sometimes we have to use this stage as a renewal opportunity--like a remodel project which does not occur overnight but takes a small dose of effort.

I would recommend exploring a wonderful channel called " curiosity streaming" which shows many documentaries of all the wonders in the miracle of life throughout the world.

Also taking short walks when you can help clear the mind and open the lungs to keep healthy as possible.

Retirement Horror
by: Wee-zer

You have not given us much background on what you did for your work life, your home life or much of anything to know anything about you. Please post some more about yourself.

I do understand losing your identity and it took me a long time to get over it. Time did heal the wounds.

You seem to be a driven person and need to be involved in projects or a tight schedule.

Can you turn your professional work experience into personal achievements? You need to reinvent yourself.

If you are creative, you could make home made items and sell on Etsy. Youtube has lots of people who share how to make things. A friend of mine makes beautiful wreaths that are seasonal and for use all year round. Some people make wooden items like chopping boards and personalize them. I have seen leather items. Some are simple things like book marks and others are more intricate. There was this older man that I saw somewhere on the internet and he made knitted hats with a little knitting loom and donated them to hospitals. You could sell some of your personal items on eBay.

If you like to cook, you could make up a few meals and drop them off to some shut in people.

I found a home made bread recipe on Youtube that is very easy to make. You could make up some loaves and sell them at a farmers market if they allow it.

Go to a flea market and find a piece of furniture that you can spruce up with paint and new hardware then sell it. If that works out, do more of the same.

A lot of people buy a used item and repurpose it. If you can think outside the box you might come up with ideas for repurposing things then selling it. like for instance, finding odd ball things to make lamps out of, like a bugle or vase. You can make a lamp out of so many different things!

If you are an expert at something, write a book or manual about how to do it. Other people would be interested. Like for instance, how to cater an event.

You could put together holiday boxes and sell on Ebay. A box for 4th of July could include festive paper plates, matching napkins, cups, plastic ware, table cloth, other red, white and blue things. You could make boxes for college kids for parents to send as 'care' packages. Could include canned soup, popcorn, candy bars, granola bars, peanutbutter crackers, chips, dip.

I don't know what your marital situation is or if you have kids or even if you are a man or woman but you could learn to crochet and make some afghans and give to family members. Men and women do crochet and knit. You could also learn to sew and make lots of things for your home or gifts such as throw pillows. I know this guy who is very athletic and went to college to be an engineer. His athletic interests outweighed his work as an engineer. He quit his job and makes things like backpacks, and other sporting equipment with an industrial sewing machine to sell to other athletic people. Basically, he reinvented himself along the way.

If none of these things are for you, you could challenge yourself by walking a certain amount of miles per week. Set up your goals and work towards it. See if you can get someone to join you. Plan a picnic lunch afterwards.

I play solitaire and checkers on line and it is very challenging to try to outsmart the computer.

Go on the computer and find 'things' that interest you. Go to the library and read up on those things and become an expert.

Depending on your level of expertise, you could teach an Adult Education class. My school system allows people who are not actual teachers to teach classes. Like jewelry making, retirement planning, arts and crafts.

It is a huge world of opportunity out there! Just do one little new thing a day. Keep a journal and list all the new things you are trying. After a month got back to the beginning of the month and see what new things you are doing and how it is working out.

I know this man who retired about 25 years ago and is still working! He has worked part time for years and years. At one point in time he drove school buses for years. Maybe a part time job might be the answer for you.

Another woman I knew was semi retired from a hospital. She was really good at her job and anytime someone called in sick, she was called in to work. There are so many retail stores that need people. You might find an office job or work for a temp agency.

This is something I read recently about losing something you love:

'Hold onto the love, not the loss'.


Make your own retirement
by: Texas

Are you one of those people who blame everybody and everything on someone else? If you are you will find retirement a little rough at first. You don't have anyone to blame for anything, the buck stops with you.

Give yourself time to adjust. It is worth it. All new retirees go through an identity crisis at first. It also puts you into a depression. That is okay. You are okay. Believe it or not, you are normal.

Guess what else... you can survive it. You retired from work, not from life. Each day adds another day you can say... I survived to your count.

If it is to be, it is up to me.

Ten two-letter words that say it all. Don't give up on yourself. You either like where you are or you are taking steps to change it. Only one or the other is possible. You will never be younger than you are right now.

I bet if you started making a list of what you liked about today. Finish that statement each day in a notebook. The next day, a new page. Finish it again.

I bet you are doing something productive and satisfying by the time you fill your first notebook.

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