Never thought I would feel this way after retirement!

by Cathy
(Boston MA)

I retired from a government job after 34 years of service at the age of 57 two months ago.

It was the holiday season and I was very busy but now I have suddenly fallen into a horrible depression because I feel useless and that I have nothing to look forward to. I was in a "helping people" job and I really miss that.

I do exercise and take a yoga class three times a week, love to cook and take care of my house but because I have tons of energy, it is not enough.

There is a possibility that my old employer will take me back part time and I am very much looking forward to that!

This came as a complete shock to me that I feel this way. I raised four children by myself and thought I would cherish the free time but I was wrong. I need to feel useful.

Wendy: Been there, done that! I retired from govt. with 35 years of service at age 55 -- and needed to continue to help -- thus this site!

As you can see from my site, there are many others out there feeling the same. It just takes time, time to find a new identity (yours is lost), time to figure out who you are and what you want to do with all that time!

Time in Abundance, now what to do with it? The WORLD is your springboard... think it out. Think BIG too! You are young and can do so much if you choose to.

Take your time to consider the possibiities! There are any! Life awaits you!

p.s. Need help? Check out my coaching (bottom left column)

Comments for Never thought I would feel this way after retirement!

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Comments for Cathy
by: Nancy

I was completely shocked also by depression after retirement. And I am now shocked at missing my job still 2 years later.

Advice rolls off the tongues of advice givers: volunteer, another job, hobby. I've narrowed down the issue. I don't want another job, I don't want to volunteer, I do have a time-consuming enjoyable hobby. And several other hobbies as well.

I miss my old job and want my job back. Most of the time I regret leaving my job and wish I had worked longer. I have days and long periods when I am okay with being retired, sometimes I have sharp regret, but always the lingering feeling. I keep waiting for "it" to go away. I keep thinking there is something I need to do to make the regret go away. I know in my head I am better off retired.

I am used to the money angle, I know how to fill my days, I don't miss the stress, the danger of being on the highway 100s of miles a week. But still.

Thank you!
by: John in Pacific NW

I retired in May of 2012 . I have battled depression all my life. Worst decision I ever made - was to retire.

[Retirement .... It has been a god-awful experience. I struggle every damn day. ]

I volunteer. I stay fit. I take all sorts of anti depressants. I have been looking for others who have experienced these feelings and this is the 1st place I have found that starts to address these issues.

Thank you. John

by: Anonymous

I have been experiencing retirement transition emotions after working in nursing for 38 yrs.

My husband doesnt understamd the transition. He did not experience these feelings when he retired.

Doe anyone else have family who donot have insight into this stage of life? Lucklily, I have a friend and family member who had similar feelings when they retired.

The good news is I am staying active and adjusting slowly. I am enjoying my time exploring new activities.

Good luck to your new adventures!!

by: Peggy

I am an RN, 42 years, and have been retired 18 days. Some of us were offered "early retirements", at the end of November, however felt that if we didn't take the severance we would be first to be laid off.

The job was getting very stressful and I thought it would be a big relief. We worked from our homes, coordinating home care for a government program, so now I don't even feel "right" in my own home, not working on the laptop or being on the phone non-stop.

I think I would feel better if I could be out working in my yard but I'm in northern Ohio.

I have no words of wisdom and I get angry at myself for having crying jags and feeling like I don't quite "belong" anywhere. 2 of my 3 kids don't live close, and they all would be flabbergasted that their tough old mother cried over anything like this.

I start things, see something else to do, and end up accomplishing nothing. Hopefully, this will become clearer and I will figure out how to stop feeling like a kid with ADD.

Wendy: I'm so glad you posted... especially the part about your kids being shocked at you crying over retirement.

FIrst, if your kids aren't there yet, you don't get it.... they think FREEDOM, and thats it. My co-workers (at age 30 and 40s) asked WHY I didn't retire when I was first eligible. They didn't get it at all... yet.

Second, I know plenty of newly retired people have family that is completely UNAWARE of their sadness over retirement. We put on our Happy Faces when out and about, or with family and then crash again when they aren't around. Wonder why we hide it?

Third, I was pretty much floundering for TWO YEARS! I did this website but not nearly what I could have. That will pass.. just give yourself time to figure out life again!

Retirement roller coaster
by: Dave

I am glad to have found this site and that others have felt the same as me after retirement.

I worked in a caring profession and I miss the satisfaction of helping but not the stress of my organisation. I retired after a period of sick leave, didn't want any retirement function but was disappointed that I never got as much as an acknowledgement or a thank you for 37 years service from my employer. I still feel angry at the lack of regard.

I miss the social contact with some staff, mainly women I worked with. I find that men that I meet now, some former colleagues and others just acquaintances, just don't seem to want to form friendships. They just don't respond to any attempts to engage them or befriend them. Maybe men feel threatened by other men after competing with them most of their lives.

So I am rather lost and spend a lot of time alone when I would love some social contact. Maybe I need to lower my expectations but that feels like giving up and putting up with this is intolerable.

I tried to volunteer, was very keen but found the staff of the charity unhelpful so withdrew. I was up for it and motivated and now feel deflated and down, with a lot to give but now dejected and unmotivated.

My children live abroad so there is no real family life. I have a wife who works for now. Maybe I should try to get some work in a less stressful job. It might be the answer.

Wendy: Just like any employment, volunteer opportunites may fit, or not. Just because one didn't work well with you, don't give up on finding the perfect opportunity where your skills are valued!

Join the Retirement Community here (2 smiling faces to the right) and find new friends online. There are 800+ retirees out there waiting to chat with others!

by: Anonymous

I left my job at age 62 and like others thought I would love the free time that lasted three months. Then I took a job at the senior center as a meals on wheels driver.

I see more and more older people every day going back to work. some just need something to do, others need the money.

i understand by Patti
by: jennette

i was struck by what Patti said at the end of her comment - still trying to figure out who she is....I have also wondered who I am really.

I worked as a nurse from 1972 until 2012 and that was my full time occupation/life. Today so far my "routine" only includes yoga/exercise classes, and currently a "project" of decluttering the garage. we also own a yellow lab and I walk him. I must admit that my days are full because there are always all the other little things that we do, friends, family, church, house stuff. Lately I am truly relishing the moments of quiet time when I can just be without having to do anything.

I am trying to discover more of who I am just like Patti mentioned. For example it might sound silly, but even the clothes I wear can define who I am. I have always enjoyed dressing for work and suddenly don't need to do that anymore, but don't want to "let myself go" and become sloppy. I need to decide what style is mine now without work.

I am also taking online courses and enjoy this very much. One was about The Gifts of Imperfection which is a book written by Brene Brown and the course was sponsored through Oprah. Another online course I just signed up for has to do with clothes and I am excited to get going. This young woman created what she calls Project 333. It has to do with downsizing her clothes to 33 pieces!! Imagine! I am sure thhat it streamlines decisions on "what to wear."

I have always been a person that loves simplicity and that is my goal for this new year. To declutter the stuff that is just sitting there gathering dust and taking up space including clothes. To support my love of having time to just be.

Take a deep breath
by: Tom


I worked with the government for thirty one years as a public servant. I too thought that retirement was going to be a great time to sit back and relax. I was wrong.

I retired last August and have been slowly starting to enjoy retirement. I found this website and have been reading and interacting ever since.

I have found a part time job that I kinda enjoy, I also left a part time job I did not enjoy. But that was the best part I didn't like it I left.

Now it's getting better and it will get better for you. I wrote No Normal sometime back take a look at that and I hope it gives you some insight.

I started my retirement today - 1/6/2014
by: Anonymous

And right now I feel lost...looking out the window and feeling totally lost. I know this shall pass - or at least I will work hard to get this to past, but I honestly feel lost.

YET relieved also as I was very tired of doing the job, going to work everyday and just getting up doing the job for five days, 40 hours, with no energy to spare.

SO...the first day to have time to think and do. Just what, I'll have to work on that big time. I already volunteer at the local shelter but honestly, all I have met are OLD BOSSY ladies that want you to do this or that their way - the only way. I absolutely do not want to get that way. They are totally frustrating.

SO I need something new and exciting - if I find it then I will certainly be lucky.

I Understand
by: Patti


I had the exact same reaction when I retired at the end of April. And even recently I have had my moments.

I worked in a job that was busiest in December, and was never allowed to take vacation time around the holidays and always worked on New Year's Eve. For years I looked forward to not working at Christmas time, and having New Year's Eve off to do whatever I wanted.

But I found myself missing the adrenaline rush and the feeling of being part of something that accompanied the stress of year-end. I missed the feeling of "we're all in this together" and the sense of accomplishment when I signed off on 12/31.

Like you I have all kinds of activities, but they don't take up all the available hours. Recently I began a volunteer job, taking people to their doctor's appointments, and that has helped give me a sense of purpose. In my circle of friends, I'm the only one who has struggled this way. They all think I'm crazy and they all love being retired.

That's why I was glad to find this blog and I took comfort in knowing that I wasn't really alone in my feelings. Still trying to find out who I am apart from my small task.

Hang in there. Patti

retired from a helping profession
by: diane

I also retired from a govt position , in the helping profession (social work). My last day of work was May 31 last year but my real retirement date was Sept 1st.

I moved to another town where my daughter lived and that was a hugh change but I did not give myself time to get depressed ( a fear of mine) .

I went right into volunteer work and do something very different from what I did when working..I volunteer at a senior centre as a receptionist (they call me kid and I am 65) but in order to keep some of my interest in the professional world I also am on a Board a nice balance.

I don't really miss work and going back even part time I think would not work, Amazingly time passes quickly and my time is filled. keep busy is the key ...I still have to make new friends and I find that is the most difficult ...would like someone my age to talk to as my daughter tries but I need something in common.

My goal for 2014 is to make friends.

by: Betty Audet

there are so many wonderful volunteer jobs where people help people. Do look around carefully. Choose two or three that sound useful and check them out carefully.

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