by Jeanine, Illinois Retiree

Retired at 69. The department I was a part of in a law office shut down. Was happy I didn't have to look for a job and could "ease" into retirement.

When you are in your late forties and early fifties, you dream of all the things you are going to do when you retire. Get those projects done at home, have the best looking yard in the neighborhood, do a bit of traveling. The list goes on. I still have the list but absolutely no desire to start any of the projects.

I am divorced, my three children married, children of their own. My purpose for over 50 years years was to get up go to work, take care of my children, my then husband, laundry, cooking, cleaning and all that goes with running a household.

I am not good at doing nothing. I lack the desire to start any projects and that is what is driving me up the wall. I am lucky that I do get to watch my grandchildren. I do have friends to go to lunch with etc.

Only retired for 6 months and really hoping it gets better.

Comments for Purpose/Desire

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Don't panic
by: Keith, UK

It is ok to do nothing, take your time, take stock and enjoy.

Things to do? Remember how you eat an elephant? One piece at a time.

by: Leaking Leak/Northborough, MA

Perhaps socializing with others needs to be a priority in your life right now. You can do any of those things you dreamed of doing when you retired in between social times.

When I read your article, it just struck me that what you really needed was to be around people first, and then you would naturally gather the needed motivation to pursue some of your intended projects.

You just need more time with other people. Perhaps that could be a small goal for you to pursue right now. Pamper yourself with friends—old or new.

Just do it
by: Laura in Vermont

When I was down with depression a few years ago, I had no motivation for anything. Getting out of bed was the first hurdle. I made myself do the minimum and it helped me feel a little more alive. Then I did more. And so on. I was only out of work for 3 weeks.

Sometimes the desire to do something is not as strong as an opposing feeling. It may be lack of motivation or it may be fear of messing up. Whatever, you have to decide to do it, desire or no, and when it's done, you feel better for having done it.

We can't always have a grand sense of purpose to get us out of bed every morning, but if we don't get out of bed, we'll surely not find purpose.

get going
by: Sherry/NC

I have to make myself get upstairs in my home and organize and clean up, but once I am up there, I work 2 or 3 hours and feel so much better.
You will too!

I can relate
by: Anonymous


I can so relate to what you are saying. In the years before I retired, I had all kinds of ideas of what I wanted to do once I had the time to do them - expand my Ebay business, remodel my house, have a nice yard and garden, join a gym and go every day, travel alot, etc.

Well here it is one year later and most of my ideas have fallen by the wayside and in fact I ended my Ebay business. I just don't have the motivation anymore and I miss the structure of work which gave me a purpose along with taking care of my family who are now on their own, no hubby.

I have actually started subbing at my old school (something I never thought I would do) and it is not the easiest thing with the kids today however it gets me up and out of the house.

I miss having that structure in my life and I have found unless one is a very disciplined person, it's just not going to happen. Work made it happen for me.

Maybe in time we will transition into it as Wendy and others say however for now, I get exactly where you're at!

Your next chapter
by: Larry Steward / SC

Hi Jeanine,

It appears you are in a good position to start creating and reinventing the next chapter of your life in retirement. Showing up here is a good start. I'm not sure if you are new here, but welcome. Please share more. You are describing a common issue that so many confront as they find themselves with so much time and little satisfaction to show for it.

The obvious tip I have is to focus on your special interests and take a deep dive. It should engage you and connect you with others who have something in common with you.

These are precious years, you worked hard to get here and deserve to have it your way for a change.

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