Loss of Purpose

I have no idea why I'm still on the planet. I always had a goal. I had two careers and all the education that goes with that.

Although I wasn't really fulfilled, I held the top position at my last employer for the past 20 years. Then I experienced being pushed into retirement due to age. I couldn't bear the humiliation so I retired.

Now I wonder why I'm still here. I try to focus on others less fortunate- church, ESL volunteering and some hobbies-horseback riding, book clubs etc. but I feel like I'm just marking time. My heart isn't in a lot of it.

My friends tell me it's a process but it's been a year and a half now and I still don't feel a groove. I would love to travel and explore more but I only have so much money. My husband is content with his gardening and church activities but I seem to want/need more stimulation to keep from getting depressed.

Comments for Loss of Purpose

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I Hear You
by: Canada Retiree

Hey Loss of Purpose,

I know how you feel. I had a great job at a University for 20 years. I retired last year due to a battle with breast cancer. I could have gone back to work for one more year before retiring but my energy was gone and I felt out of step with my job. I should have trusted my inner voice which told me to try going back.

Anyway here I am now regretting that I didn’t. I too feel like you- no purpose and try to find a meaningful life. Things I did twenty years ago don’t seem to matter now.

I’m taking an art class which is helping. I tried a volunteer gig but got depressed because I couldn’t stop thinking about my job and wishing I was there. Now I feel horrible for not sticking with the volunteer job!

I think many people feel lost when they retire but don’t want to admit it. I don’t have any family near me and no friends to hang around with maybe that’s part of the problem. My husband is a loner and is retired but he loves being alone and staying at home. We don’t go out much except to concerts and movies.

I’m trying hobbies but nothing beats working. I realize I made a mistake retiring too soon but no one to blame but me.

Hang in there it’s bound to get better.

Purpose
by: Jay, Georgia

Well, we all have a purpose or God would not have put us here. Aren't we fortunate to live in this wonderful country with freedom, medical care and the ability to do what we want.

My life partner and I don't have a lot of money but we take advantage of credit card rewards and AM Express Points to take trips. We plan one thing, one trip, one adventure each month no matter how small, short or long. We keep busy.

Bigger Purpose
by: Joe W.

I suggest you keep all your hobbies as is. Then with some retirement planning go for the 'big one' something that you always wanted to do to make a difference in this world.

A new purpose to focus on
by: Larry Steward / SC

So glad you posted your feeling of losing your purpose after retiring. I'm sure many can relate. What I sense is that there may be a change coming. It is always helpful to show up here as you did and express what you are experiencing. I trust others will respond and share their advice.

My advice is to view your open schedule to finally focus on those things that can get you closer to that purpose you're looking. To wake up and be excited you have something to look forward to is worth the effort to make that happen.

Think hard about anything in the past you really enjoyed doing or something you wished you had time to do. You mentioned a few interests maybe one of those can be looked at as something you can get more involved in and convert it into a way to help others appreciate it as well. In otherwords, pay it back to help someone else enjoy horseback riding, for example, as a way to escape depression and discover a new excitment to turn their life around.

The point is, you have the power to stay as you are or dig a little deeper and move toward something engaging that has the potential to turn your whole life around. Good luck with moving forward. Keep us posted.

I feel the same way
by: Mike in the Catskills

You are not alone. I feel the same way. I retired early at 51 because my spouse is older. He is happy to garden and loves it. I bike and do some gardening, but it doesn't excite me.

I used to think of all the things I would do when I had the time. Now, I have the time, but just don't have the interest in putting the dreams into place. I, too, feel like I am just marking and wasting my time.

I am living with regret and can't seem to get past it. I tell younger people the best thing that they can do is take risks. They will be happier for it.

Now, at 53, I wish I would take my own advice. Maybe that's the answer - we need to take risks even when we're older. But, I do feel like I am in prison, and that I am forcing myself to find things to do in a place where I really don't want to be, because my spouse wants to be here.

Finding a new purpose
by: Elna Nugent, Lenox, MAour Name/Location

Dear Loss of Purpose:

When you were a child did you have dreams of what you most wanted to do when you grew up? Think back.

Also are you someone who is able to walk everyday. Your body would love that. Especially if your are surrounded by nature.

Your intelligence is crying out for newness and challenge.You can always take classes in things that take you in a new direction. I will be 90 next year and always make sure I take at least one invigorating class every year.. I love my life.

Trust the future. The unconditional love of the universe will take you in new directions if you trust. Blessings.





I Know the Feeling
by: Tim C

I've been retired a little less than six months and have the same thoughts. I wasn't forced out due to age but a leadership change at my former employer made working there intolerable.

I was a senior manager as well and liked the fact others could depend on me. Some people may think a job is just a job but I genuinely liked the my co-workers. Until recently, our workforce was stable so I knew some fellow employees 30 years or more, through marriage, kids and grand-kids. I know they have to get on with their jobs so I haven't been back or contacted anyone, and that alone is a huge social void in my life.

I too find myself with more time to volunteer and work on hobbies, but like you I'm less enthusiastic now than I was when I was working. Maybe because they were respites from work I appreciated them more. My wife is younger than me and still working, so long trips aren't in the cards for a while. I've even tried to re-enter the workforce at other agencies, but I think its natural for potential employers to wonder why I retired and want to go back to work so soon.

I know its a process and will get better with time, but I sure wish it would hurry up!

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