Regretting retirement

by Steve

I chose to retire at the young age of 55. I thought I’d walk out the door from my job and fall right into happiness, far from it.

Six months after I retired, my wife filed for divorce. I didn’t blame her, because all I was doing was sitting around the house and becoming angry.

The divorce proceeding created a depression that was almost life ending. Couple that with the fact that I never figured out how to be retired, and I became a poster child for major depression.

My wife and I reconciled our marriage, so some of the depression immediately slipped away. About 3 months following our reconciliation, I started to become depressed with nothing to do.

I tried to volunteer at a local hospital, but watching everyone else working and having fun only made me more depressed. I then got a job at a local high school, but again, watching everyone working and enjoying their careers caused me to reflect back to my career and become depressed.

I now sit at home and look out the window wondering how I ever got into this predicament.

I wanted to take up golf, but I’m too depressed to pack up my clubs and drive to the driving range. I thought I’d go to the gym everyday and get a early morning workout, but again, no motivation. I can’t even muster up enough energy to make myself lunch. This is from a guy who used to work 60 hours a week and train for triathlons.

I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring, but I do know that there has to be something more rewarding than sitting in my easy chair.

I just can’t seem to put one foot in front of the other.

Wish me luck,


Wendy I hate reading this. I really do! Why oh Why does this happen to so many new retirees!!?

Please join my Retirement Transition group under Online groups to the left! Please talk to others who are going through the same transition...

This too shall pass!

Comments for Regretting retirement

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Regretting retirement
by: Michele G.

so retired a year and a half ago from teaching children with autism, down syndrome and multiple disabilities. . I had the age and the time to retire. I have hernias that required surgery, but keep recurring.

Even though I have health problems, I found a part time job in a preschool as an assistant that is 5 minutes from my house.

I cant stop thinking about my old job night and day and I keep saying I regret leaving.I can't get these racing thoughts out of my head even though I am working in a much nicer place.

I pray all the time and read the bible, but these thoughts about my old job are racing in my head all day and night. Can anyone help me out ?

Regretting retirement
by: Anonymous

I retired a year ago, I was 59 when I retired. I worked as a teacher with children with special needs. Now I regret my decision to retire despite I have health issues that would have caused me to be out of work for several months during the year. I wish I could go back to my old job, Unfortanutely I can't. I am so depressed all the time. I feel so useless. I miss my old job so much.

Can anyone give me some help.

I regret retirement
by: Anonymous

I retired from a high level mgt. job about two years ago. Now I realize I retired from something, not to something.

Have no hobbies, volunteering doesn't interest me. After a year of retirement, I got another job, but I am one of the minions now, not a very challenging job. I am bored.

I know ego/self-esteem are playing a factor and unfortunately there are no do-overs; otherwise, I would be back in my old job.

I am not interesting in learning how to play an instrument or learning a foreign language--all the standard stuff you read online.

Does anyone enjoy retirement without having something specific to do? Most people stop working at some point, but I am lost now. Suggestions??

Retirement Regrets "What if?"
by: Earth Angel, MS

I retired at 61, after 32 yrs and happy to exit through the doors, finally FREE.

I was truly happy for 2 months. No work deadlines or heavy workloads. Slowly, I began to miss the structure my job provided. I never had a hobby.... married with grown children, now what?

If I could, I'd return to that demanding job without hesitation. But this time, I'd be more appreciative of the blessing in having a great job. I find myself yearning to return and asking myself "what if?".

I must now find another career to fill the emptiness I feel inside. I'm 63 now, entering the workforce with young people, learning new job skills. I'm in agreement that considerable thought should be taken before you decide to retire.

more depressed and frustrated
by: Pady, India

I retired at 50. I gave up job that was paying me good, had health insurance and other facilities for my daughter's sake.

She was complaining of being alone at home after college and during vacations. Even though I have saved enough money still I am not happy. I feel very lonely. My husband is busy in his own world and my daughter is always busy with college assignments.

Sometimes I regret having resigned my job.

Early Retirement and Depression
by: Anonymous

Retired at 58 from a job minutes from home with excellent pay, benefits and working conditions that I took for granted.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for someone with little college and limited skill set. The pay equated to an advanced degree that I simply discarded with little thought.

My days are a never-ending depression filled with anxiety over money. Four PT jobs all ending with my resignation due to little money and hard work.

My life style will (must) change dramatically as my salary was cut by 1/3. My poor wife who is still working doesn't know how to reach me although she has been very supportive.

I have failed her, myself and can only relive those finally days before retirement with total ambivalence. I blame myself and my wife for not questioning my decision, just letting me "drive off the cliff" with no discussion.

I enjoyed my job the people I worked with yet thought it must be time as my friends were retiring. If only I would have known, if only.

WENDY You simply cannot live in the past. You can't. Regrets are just that, you can't go back. Focus on how to cut your expenses a bit -- and start enjoying life again!

Schedule a few lunches with retired friends -- get out of your home and live again. Take your wife out to dinner. Find new interests or a hobby, consider what you loved to do as a kid, it might be something you'd enjoy now!

Stop worrying -- it will get you nowhere at all... except to bring depression or illness into your life. You are still YOUNG...

p.s. Start a home based business.. visit my new site: and maybe something will "click" for you!

Best Wishes!

I don't know how to retire
by: Pat

Hello Pat...

I moved your long story to its own page so that others can comment on it and help you.

Visit I Don't Know HOW to Retire here,....


I can't believe I did this.

I am back to my work for this semester until my transition to retirement runs out. I asked them to take me back, but the school is having financial problems.

Working feels good and I am less depressed. Nobody made me do this. It was my own choice.

Retirement Depression
by: Nancy

I am so glad I found this site. The comments really chime with the lifestyle I have been enduring!

I taught children with multiple disabilities in an urban school for twelve years, and retired mostly because I was diagnosed with epilepsy (previously misdiagnosed for years), had two major seizures at work, so took retirement at 65.

Getting up every morning with nothing to look forward to really brings me down. My husband and I like to travel, and it's great, but the rest of the time I am depressed. Miss my job lots.

I want so much to do something besides lay on the couch every morning ruminating. Not driving (epilepsy) doesn't help.

Freedom 51
by: John

I retired after a career of 31 years at 51 years of age. I worked up in northern Canada in a resource based town . The town I lived in was cold in the winter and lots of bugs in the summer so couldn't wait to get out of there .

I made really good money but reached a point in life that money was not the end all . I lived on my saving until my pension kicked in at 55 .

Now I find myself dwelling at times on the fact had I just kept working til 55 how much richer I would have been . I have no debt , live in a resort area but have nothing in common with my neighbor's as typically they are older than me and a number of them are still working . So having said that, I don't have anyone for the most part to play with : ) .

Life is funny at times whereby one should be careful what they wish for .

I do have my health , run 3 miles mon , wed , friday . That helps . When one looks back at one's past things seem so much rosier at times than they actually were ( in my case my job) .

For me , reading about other peoples journeys is helpful to see that I am not alone . Many times in my life fine things have been placed before me , but I could not appreciate them because of my state of mind .

To be able to retire in these times is a luxury when you look around compared to others . We are so conditioned to serve others ( employer ) most of our adult lives . When it comes time to serve ourselves we are lost .

I am going to work really hard and not let this fine thing placed before me pass me by because retirement is and should be a good thing . Thank you for your time .

Regret Retiring
by: Anonymous

If I had been able to gaze into a crystal ball and saw what was happening now, I would have stayed on my job. Should have taken some time off to reeeeeeally think about it. I thought it was what I wanted.

What I thought was a stressful job is major more stress not having it. As much as I try, I have lost my identity. Worked continuous over 40 years. Busy, active, working.....Alive!!! I miss the whole package.

My advice to anyone considering retiring..... Reeeeeeeally Think!!!! Put emotions aside and be TOTALLY sure this is what you want to do.

Depressed every day.

Regret so far
by: Anonymous

I just gave up my academic tenure and began three year half time work, off one semester. I am 55 now. I get my, pension already and 70% of my salary for three years. This all sounded good until may. I regret it. I should have read more of these postings.

Wendy: Maybe you could teach online? I don't know anything about your career, but possibly there is something you could do working from home?

thank you
by: corrie

Thank you for this site - I thought I was going crazy. I have now learned I am not alone.

I have also learned: move / get some new interests / join some hobby club / speak even if to yourself / do the little things you could not do before like better eating habits / exercise / improve my skin / hair condition and and keep being positive - for that I have to read a lot and join a group like this.

Also have a great relationship with my Maker / look at the young people and wathch how they approach the future.

Thanks again. Have a great day.

Wendy: Thank YOU for posting, Corrie! It's retirees helping retirees that that makes this all work. Please Pay it Forward to another Retiree somewhere!!

by: Barbara

Retirement is a new "career". There is an adjustment period and thankfully you found this site. Lots of boomers are in the same predicament. If you are healthy you are way ahead! Change requires courage...take it slow. Don't expect instant gratification. Focus on positive thoughts and be thankful..slowly things will improve.

God Bless you....

retired at 55
by: Jeff

I too retired at 55 and was really looking forward to the freedom it would bring me , after all I worked 40 years after quitting high school and jumped from job to job , I felt I deserved it. I was lucky to have a decent pension to allow me to make this decesion...unfortunatly I have not been as happy and content as I thought I would be. At home with my wife all day has not helped our marraige and some days are so depressing , I wish I could pass away in my sleep. Our finances are not as rosey as I thought they would be and I find myself very envious of others who sport a large bankroll and can come and go whenever they please and never a worry. I have been so foolish in my life and have made more blunders than I can count , I suppose it all goes back to my first stupid act of leaving school behind in '71. I live with an everpresent tormented feeling in my head night and day and cannot convey totally to my wife exactly how I really feel inside...I try so very hard to make her happy in every way and most often I think of her needs before my own. I have fleeting moments where I am truly happy and those feelings quickly disappear and then I'm in a self destructive poor me mode once again. Luckily I have lived through the best generation and I would not trade those years for anything , "perhaps a miracle will come my way and the last quarter of my life will be the best" ! Good Luck to all of you.

by: Anonymous

I am so glad I read your message. Everything you said is just how I feel. No ambition, motivation, can not get out of your own way. I just want to be happy and enjoy life now....any suggestions.


Retired at 55 also
by: Janis

Yes retirement is very trying... I had to retire because my feet went bad.. but I do miss the interaction of work alot.. But sooner or later we have to retire.. You gotta get used to it...

The way to do it is keep on being physical.. I swim 3 times a week.. walk every day.. and bike nearly everywhere I go.. and try to find interesting enlightening interests.. they pop up surprisingly and I delve into them...

Go with it... understand that everyone who retires goes thru this... embrace it and know that you WILL get used to it... believe me... it is one major life change.. but some of the things that you get out of having freedom...

You dont have to schedule the comcast service on your day off..You can get it the next day. You dont have to call in sick.. You can go on vacation when ever you want... so just hang in there and we both will be able to handle this...

by: Helene


Other people retire at 55 and don't have problems. Depression can be cured but takes hard work, dedication & medication. See a psychiatrist or psychologist. I did and started to feel somewhat better in one month, and much better in three months. If you do nothing you are being a martyr..... when what you really want is to fly free.

when life hands you a lemon
reach for the salt and tequila

Move and Speak
by: Sophia


First of all you must move physically.

Pysically: Exercise daily
Any form of exercise eg.jogging,
swimming, even walking

Secondly mentally speak out,
Mentally: In order to have positive thinking and motivation, need to talk to some one who has positive thinking and know how to give encouragement to you even a good doctor will help.

Any way YOU need to move (either stand up or step out from your door)otherwise wont work by sitting,
YOU must face your situation BOLDLY.

Steve, STAND UP BOLDLY and face the WORLD.

Problems will be solved, if YOU minimize the problems even delete them as we do in our computer. Then You will be much more HAPPY and face the WORLD with smiling face daily.

It's up to you, pal
by: Solveig

Dear Steve,

It's not easy, I've been there. I'm glad you reconciled your marriage. Not to scare you, but how long do you think she will put up with a lump just sitting there ?

MOVE, that's the first step. Go for a walk, force yourself out of the house.

Try to find ONE thing to be happy about- one single thing that is positive in your life.

After some walks, even if you think it's just a stupid waste of time (well, what else are you doing?) look and see if there are any interesting trees around. Have you ever thought of how marvelolous the creation is? Bet you never had time to think about LIFE before.

Again, there is nobody else who can really save you if you don't want to be anything but a vegetable. It has to come from inside you. it's all there, search for it, but with a real desire to LIVE-FULLY. If you want to write to me personally, ask Wendy for my mail.

A BIG HUG. Solveig. can you guess where I'm from, maybe, but you'll never guess where I am now!

Don't just sit there!
by: Carole

Dear Steve,

I know depression. I truly doubt that retirement was the cause... but sitting doing nothing won't help.

Those 60 hours you worked every week were the reason you didn't have time for depression. Now that you are not active, depression has moved in. The best way to move it out, is to become active. It doesn't matter what you do, but physical doing is most important.

I would also suggest that seeking a counselor that specializes in depression without use of drugs would be a good step. Sometimes just sharing our thoughts with an objective listener can alleviate many of the reasons for depression. For me, finding reasons to help other people was the answer.

First of all, you see others who truly have real problems, and it is an incredible high to give service and see others benefit. You will stop focusing on yourself and what you have lost when you focus on others and their needs.

I do wish you luck.... remember, you are in control of how you want to feel... now get up out of that recliner and get busy!

God Bless!

by: Ruth McVeigh

First of all, you should pay a visit to your doctor. There could be a medical reason for your lack of energy and initiative.

If your health is good, you probably need something to build your self esteem -- nothing worse than feeling useless.

Try working with young people, or folks who make you feel needed.

Good luck.

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