Losing my identity in retirement...
I was lucky enough to be able to retire from a very stressful job at the age of 58.
While I was retiring, and collecting a pension, I knew that I would also continue to work. I am too young to give up on the idea of collecting a paycheck and to retire this early meant either I live frugally, or I continue to work.
One month into retirement, I knew I would have to work. I retired at the end of summer and once the nice weather was over I could not imagine spending my days reheating soup and sitting in my house freezing to death to keep from paying huge heating bills.
I had a very well paid job but I could not easily transition my experience to a well paying part time job. And the job market is so different from when I first interviewed and sold myself for the job I worked at for 31 years.
I could not possibly translate in a resume what I could bring to a new organization in a part time capacity and I was completely overlooked due to my age and possibly my previous experience.
Who would want to hire an old "boss" for a part time job at the bottom of the ladder when only months ago I had been a person of authority in a previous job?
I finally interview for a couple of retail kinds of seasonal jobs virtually hiding the role I'd had in my previous work history and I learned a lot, but it was the most humbling experience I ever had.
I have HUGE respect for young minimum wage workers in retail. I have never been treated so dismally and disrespectfully in my life by customers and superiors. It was a great learning experience but as soon as the holiday season was over, I went back to pounding the pavement looking for another position.
I have a new one now, and it pays a bit better and I am appreciated for my knowledge and maturity, but it is still a little "nothing" kind of job that keeps me busy but is not giving me an identity.
I could not wait to leave my previous job having become a dinosaur and an old fart. I wanted desperately to leave behind the Generation X and Milleniums that I had butt heads with.
I wanted them to suffer in my absence because I took so much knowledge and wisdom with me. Bah. They don't miss me at all. And they quickly have regrouped and they changed ancient business practices for new ways of getting things done.
And I continue to have to share work space with the younger population. I guess my dream job would be to read books all day written by people of my generation and maybe put them away or sell them to people of a similar age and spirit as myself. I have not seen that job on Craigslist.
So my identity right now is missing. I'm embarrassed to admit that I have hidden behind my nameplate at a job I could not wait to escape from and I did not further investigate who I am outside the work time clock.
I was going to be a writer when I retired. Now I sit at my desk and think...what was I going to write about? I should have written that down. Do I really have anything to say? I need to get another job that gives me identity or I am afraid I am going to disappear.
I ask my retired friends if they have lost their identity and they look at me like I am crazy.
I ask them what they do all day and the answer is universal. "Whatever I want".
When I ask for specifics, I am thwarted. I think the answer is in that afternoon cocktail or glass of wine.
I am NOT going there.
But while I am working in my little "nothing" kind of job that at least forces me out of bed at a given time and breaks up a lot of my down time, I need to figure out who I am.
I used to be so many things... mother, wife, boss, girlfriend, confidant, healer, giver etc etc etc.
But the list is narrowing.
I am nobody, who are you...