Retired - It's not all what it's made out to be...

by leopeter


I waited my whole life to get to this point, I dreamed about it, I visualized the great times to be retired, I would truly enjoy my time and space without work.

You know what, It's hell.

Yes, that's right, it's not all a bed of roses.

I feel depressed, lonely, anxious every day and not to mention constantly thinking negative thoughts throughout the days. This is horrible.

At the age of 56, you would think it would be o.k., NO! No!, not true.

If anyone that is going through an uneasy retirement please say something on line.

Words of encouragement would help!

Wendy here: Hello! I just retired on Friday and I pray I don't fall into whatever has taken you down. Right now, I'm happy -- but it's too soon to tell.

I do have a Retirement Transition Group, emails from folks who akso have anxiety on retirement... some are recently retired, some aren't yet retired, all thinking about their options. Look under Email Groups to the left - or contact me at the bottom left.... and I will get you into the group. I think we can help you evaluate the blessings you do have!

Comments for Retired - It's not all what it's made out to be...

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by: Mark C

I have worked to age 66 with the retirement being the prize. You take the time to build another life and adjust to it. Then the HELL of medical issues arise. Now all the hobbies you adjusted to are no longer viable. How only time with nothing to do but wait for it to also go away.

Retirement Issues
by: Al B.

Sadly life after retirement for some is a sore disappointment.
The reason for this in my opinion rests with poor planning then blaming an education system for not teaching them how to adjust to a new life after a work career.

Some on this forum believe that those that retired in their 50s were able to do so only because as federal employees they were blessed with a citizen’s funded early pension. Not true. Again poor planning forces many to work until they die, Not all early retirees worked for the Fed.

I have to believe that many unhappy retirees were unhappy throughout their lives. Unfortunately, when a retiree is miserable and their spouse has successfully adjusted, eventually both partners suffer and the happy spouse is made to feel guilty or is punished. This is very destructive behavior but not that uncommon.

I agree with you Wendy. In some instances professional help
is needed.

by: Chris

Responding to a prior comment: if one has a government pension, it was part of the deal when you began employment and one of the reasons you might stick with an unpleasant or dangerous job until the agreed upon retirement age.

Life is full of choices, if one chooses to pursue a government job in order to have a pension at the end of it, it was just forward thinking. Anyone can take a civil service exam if one wants to go in that direction. If you did something else, that was your choice.

Retirement Makes Feel Old
by: Canadian Retiree

I recently retired, much to my regret this past Sept, 2018 after a year and a half of breast cancer treatments. I think it was the treatments making me feel this was my next step instead of a gradual return to work, which my Oncologist encouraged me to do.

I'm now 64 and absolutely bored to death. I hate retirement, I can't find things meaningful to do. My husband loves his retirement, but he is different from me. I am suffering with depression and anxiety. I just blew another opportunity to return to work as an auxiliary and ruined by good work record to boot. I'm so angry with myself for not just returning to work and for listening to other people's advice.

My only next option is to volunteer at a Hospital gift shop. I'm not keen on this, but what else do I have?

I hate retirement with a passion. My home feels like a prison. I just want my job back.

WENDY: You are what you think. If you think "I Hate Retirement" over and over all day, you will get a poor retirement lifestyle. You will. I've watched a lot of sad seniors on this site, but most not as desperate as you. Please go see a professional...

Retirement Should be Taught in Schools
by: Canadian Retiree

It's funny, in school one receives all kinds of information, from what do you want to be when you grow up to what University do you want to attend, but no one mentions one day down a far road you will eventually retire.

I think retirement should be taught in school so you know what to expect when you get to this major game changer. It should be at least an option to go part time at work before you take this long, lonely road.

I'm going crazy and I just retired this past Sept. Unfortunately I've missed a couple of really good opportunities to return to work on call, because I've been so depressed since retiring and have had some horrible problems with depression and anxiety. I've taken some poor advice from a friend and just lost an auxiliary position at my old job. I'm still really mad about that one. I would have been on my way to work this week.

Why I would listen to someone's advice I have no idea. I seem to be doing that lately instead of listening to my own voice. I know heading to work is the ticket I need to get out of the retirement misery. I missed two golden opportunities now. I'm really angry with myself.

Retired at 56?
by: Polonius

I am stunned by the number of people commenting in this blog who have been able to "retire" at age 56 and are comfortable with the thought that they have "made their contribution" by working for 35 years. They should be enjoying retirement.

Apparently, they are fortunate enough to have government, i.e., taxpayer-funded pensions and in their mid-fifties, they are young enough to enjoy good enough health to spend their leisure time with various and sundry diversions.

A work life used to mean working 45-50 years, not 35. But government employees have learned to expect retirement at 55.

Try retiiring at 70, in poor to moderately poor health, with perhaps enough savings to last you until you are 85, with no guaranteed pension, and tell us how sweet retirement is. I particularly appreciated the honesty of the man who was doing volunteer work and discovered how many of the people his charity was helping who were gaming government hand-out programs and really had no need of assistance if they would just get off their butts and go to work.


Negotiate changes, endure or move on. We have one life to live as pleasantly as we choose.

6th Year Retirement Update
by: Al B from NY

I have found the key to happiness in retirement rests with your ability to find things to do that have meaning in your life. I plan my day with activities that contribute my feeling of accomplishment.

During a typical week, I volunteer in my community with the Food Bank, pick up and deliver used furniture for needy families, offer free musical lessons at the Community Center, plan and grow a vegetable garden, fish the local ponds/ lakes in my small boat, raise chickens and a pig, read great mystery novels and sometimes just hang out and have some beers and a BBQ. And fixing things around the house also adds to the week of 'things to do'.

I was married and experienced the incessant nagging and complaining about everything and everyone. That's emotional abuse and no man or woman should have to put up with that.

24/7 with someone is a recipe for disaster. Find some outlets or expect a retirement filled with disappointments and unhappiness!

I hate retirement with a bitter passion
by: travis/texas

I have worked all my life and wife kept on nagging until I did. Now we fight all the time because she wants to completely control me. I am beginning to resent her.

retirement is tough
by: chris corkern

I wake up with nothing meaningful to do. I have several things I would like to do but my wife don't drive due to medical issues and I can't stand leaving her at home by herself.

I think maybe my goal would be to find meaningful things to do. Its really a struggle sometimes and I feel guilty for being ungrateful. I'm very very fortunate.

Since I was 16 I had to be somewhere at 7 am every day and now I wake up with nothing meaniful to do.

by: Anonymous

ADAPT to the good/bad/sad.

I LOVE being retired!
by: Donna

It’s everything I had hoped for: minimal stress, lovely slow days as I do everything I never had time for before; waking slow to another beautiful day; meeting new people, trying new things. Time to think, to wonder, to explore. It’s all so good!

I am ‘highly educated’ with multiple university degrees, and I had a job with prestige and a lot of responsibility. I do not regret any of that, but, oh my, how good retirement is.

Lost in retirement
by: Eugene

When I read Wendy's comments that is how I feel at times

by: Loyce!

It is natural law that people wish to be around upbeat, positive and fun/loving peeps so I turn it on when I'm out and about and I'm always engaging in conversation with somebody I know or a "stranger". The Law of Attraction

Wendy: Loyce, Totally agree... YOU ARE WHAT YOU THINK.

Love It!
by: Chris

I did comment before, but I've been surprised to see all of the negative comments on this thread about retirement.

I retired from full time (+part-time) work almost 10 years ago at 56 and altogether when I was 61. No schedules, no work stress, my life and time are my own. I feel that I made my "contribution" during all of those years of work & this s a different and very enjoyable phase of life.

I feel sorry for those who can't just enjoy being free to do what they want with their time.

I am so happy
by: Mia

I am so happy now. Now, I keep my small flame of life for myself. Every morning, I wake up, and think how wonderful it is not to be enslaved any longer.

I have university degrees, I was a 'professional'. But now, I am, myself.

How wonderful it all is.

NO to Retirement
by: AnA

I Know I have said this in another blog, but here I go again. I emphatically did not and do not like retirement. I have been retired now for four years if you can call it that and am in good health.

I went back to school, finished a PhD and now teach at a community college. I am competitive and did not find the type of workplace competition outside of work. I do not have as much of it now in teaching, but definitely more than I would with golf, clubs, volunteering and all the other trappings that are supposed to keep you "busy" -- so called "meaningful" work.

My children do not live close and even if they did, I don't relish the thought of being Nana, the babysitter.

Retirement was for me boring, demeaning, and non-defining. I don't want to adjust to those "golden years." I know what I like. I like to work and be on the cutting edge as much as possible.

back to work
by: Anonymous

After almost 4 years of retirement, I went back to school and got another job. In short, I hated retirement. Thought I had a plan, and I fell for all the myths.

I have hobbies, I live on a farm, I have plenty to do -- just nothing I want to do 24/7. I do not play sports, am a poor spectator, and did not adjust to church volunteer work. I have traveled quite a bit -- Europe, Asia, S. America.

In retirement I felt second rate and useless. I have an intellect and an ego. I missed the workplace competitiveness. So, I went back to work, and now I always feel good when I get up at 5:00 in the morning. I feed the chickens and the barn cats and go on to work.

I should have never retired, but I love my new job Most of all, I am in a position where I realize that not everyone will like retirement. I have a comparative basis now. I hope I die working.

Retirement depression
by: Laserbeam

I totally agree about the anxiety, loneliness and lost feeling. I was recently laid off at 57 and have
Been trying early retirement. I'm ok for money but have been very depressed and even called
A crisis hotline for help.

Reading articles on the Internet has helped. I'm sure in time I will be better.

I may try and find a job but the television jobs like I had are non existent and I may just wait for my EI to be over and try to get a job.

by: Anonymous

Oh my. I retired at 59. I am SO very happy. I am no longer a slave. I live my life on my terms.

I have enough; no one needs more than that. I am free. I no longer cower from the slings and arrows. I am discovering what LIFE means! WORK is for slaves.

" Among my brethren, there are many ho dream of the 80000 pains and humiliations. I am the other kind. I dream of escape; ascent; of a thousand possible ways to make a hole in the wall; of burning the whole prison down, if necessary. "

Be free.

Work, is not life.

Tough going
by: Steve Hastings

Retired at 63, then encountered stock market losses with Super, and interest rates down everywhere. Creating concerns and unpredictable future. Some injuries from past activities get worse.

Doing some Charity work but find it hard with so many people taking advantage of Social systems. Very unhappy not sure what to try next.

Retired and useless
by: Anonymous

Retired teacher here (;

I got SOOOOO tired of people asking me when I was going to retire ): Finally, my ass-hole of a principal tried to make it difficult for me, so at age 59 (reluctantly) I retired.

I feel USELESS and lonely. People still come up to me and say "I know you are enjoying your retirement." Actually I AM NOT!!!

I have been to counseling. It wasn't much help. I do after school tutoring a few days a week. That helps. I have the resources to go places and do things, but everybody is working or taking care of someone.

I often think about death.

Wendy: What about teaching online? You could tutor online or teach adults... there is much you might do still. Please Please -- No More thinking about death, LIFE is here!

Retired... well not really
by: Jackie France

I sold my shop at the age of 62 and have cried ever since. I miss my clients choosing the articles for the shop and just generally having a routine. It was the opportunity that made me sell not the money.

I don't have a good income but make do on what I have. I would advise anyone thinking of retiring to think very very carefully about what their life will be like afterwards.

I now give English conversation lessons and make pencil cases and bags - but it is not the same as having one's own place.

I hope others are happier than I am.

Give Retirement a chance
by: Joan, St. Augustine, FL

I felt exactly the same way you did when I first retired, and complicated it by moving 1000 miles away from work contacts and some relatives.

Now 7 years later I can finally say that I have found my own niche in life. I still substitute teach, getting better at it each year, and take time to travel - A LOT.

I return north on my own every year or so to reconnect with former coworkers, friends and relatives. I am involved with my church and I volunteer at a radio station and have my own weekly show. I am also involved in the local Elks.

Look into volunteer opportunities to find something you enjoy and test it out.

It does get better over time. Just don't forget to exercise and take care of yourself; all bets are off once your health starts to go downhill, so take advantage of it while you can.

not good
by: Jen

Hi, I too retired at 56 and I feel completely lost. I had no idea that I would feel this way. I have that same anxiety and sense of loss that a lot of you feel.

It is all i needed it to be for me.
by: Davis

I suppose everyone has a different take on what retirement is. For me it's receiving my pension I paid in to for 35 years and still being young enough at 55 to enjoy the freedom to travel whenever I want and do whatever I want.

Sure for the first two months It was strange because I was used to working but that soon passed.

I'm happy to see retirement because many people at my place of employment never did and some of them had their time in years ago. I saw what happened to them and got out as soon as I had my time in.

Whatever time I have it's not going to spent working till I drop.

Me too
by: Anonymous

I also retired at 56 (so many people at 56!) due to a medical condition.

Financially, we are doing pretty well, with liquid $500K and $500K in a paid off house, plus $40K (tax free) retirement income + interest & increases in 401(k).

But, I'm also bored and anxious.

We've lived in the same house for 21 years, the same basic area for 33 years.

Hate Western WA, want to move, but it's overwhelming the amount of work it takes to get a house ready to show, then to find a new town.

I sit and spin, it's hell.

Probably have to hire someone to do all the small things needed to prep the house, I can only do maybe one a day.

Not sure what to do about it, my wife is ready to buy a motor home and travel but I just have no interest.

Rome was not built in a day.
by: colin

It takes time to adjust, you will get there I'm certain. i know that wont make you feel any better, but remember you have been on a routine for many years and its hard for most to come out of routine mode.

Try and talk to someone because the way your feeling right now is horrible,promise, you will get there. GOOD LUCK

Victim of Societal Conditioning
by: Mike M

The Industrial revolution turned free-living men (autonomy) into peasants; as John Lennon said " a working class hero is something to be... but you're still f-ing peasants as far as I can see."

Basically, and albeit simplistically, we used to work for ourselves and thanks to the corporatization of basically everything (including governments), 99+ % of us turned into drudges and we have been born and conditioned to "live" (work for the man) as such.

For some, like yourself, you've lost touch with your place in the world and it's not to work your life away; societal conditioning has got the best of you get a life my friend.

I retired at 56 just 1 month ago and feel like I won the lottery; playing guitar, mountain biking, dinner & movies with my wife, taking my dog into the mountains, coffee & a good book, breakfasts with family and friends is all the life I need.

My days fly by, the way I look at it, it took me 40 years to buy my freedom from the rat race and I no longer "lead a life of quiet desperation" you need to find your Walden.

Retired at 56 and loving it!
by: Al B

I retired last year at the age of 56, the result of a reorganization that gave me the option of working more hours and more stress, for 1/3 less money. So, Bye-Bye!

Divorced 2x with grown son living away from home; not much family alive or close by is just a basic reality for me.

Always had interests - love to garden, play guitar, read good mystery novels, cook and work around the house.

I've found the past year remarkably enjoyable and never boring. Sometimes just looking out the window at the falling snow and not having to clear the driveway to head for work is a pleasure in itself.

My second home in the country that I've had for 30 years to retire to is now becoming a reality.

Planning my 'hobby farm' is very exciting. Maybe this is not your idea of retirement - so be it. Go find something to do that you enjoy and be happy.

Sure I could say, pushed out of a job, not much family around, all friends happily married, 2x loser, why me? what did I do... blah, blah, blah.

Life is too short and this is probably as good as it gets.

Wendy: Great attitude and I bet you love the hobby farm. I live on one acre and we just love it! Best Wishes!

retired and loving it
by: Anonymous

I decided that 57 was the number for me after 37 years in total working and 35 of those years at the same job I was ready to call it a day.

Now coming up to a year, I get bored sometimes sure but not to the point I want to go back to working.

I don't spend a lot of time on the internet which I thought I would , having all kinds of time to do so but I find other things to do that fill my days.

Not living on the clock and watching the traffic reports to see if I have to take an alternate route to work because of some accident or bad weather is reason enough for me to be home.

Besides that, a job has opened up for another person to make a living, instead of me tying the job down when I have enough to not have to work anymore.

We all have to retire eventually so why think of it as a bad thing when you can make it whatever you want, because you are now your own boss.

Not happy in retirement
by: Eileen

I retired 2 years ago and hate it. I am a divorcee so do not have a partner.

I volunteer in a community centre , visit friends etc, been through the photos, visit family, meet friends for lunch, but... it is not enough. I keep hoping there is something else out there.

I worked 6 years past retirement age and realise now I should never have retired but of course one has retirement at some time.

I have been on a cruise and am planning another, I guess travel is the answer.

It is good to read other comments, thank you.

I Don't Get It
by: Chris

I retired over 5 years ago at 56 and it's been one of the happiest times of my life.

I did work part time for a while afterwards, but found that I really preferred not working at all. I did have a high stress job in kind of a soul crushing environment, so maybe some of it has just been relief, but I really enjoy not having a schedule and being able to what I want when I want.

People ask me if I get bored or what I do all day, I don't and I just enjoy being alive.

I hope the original poster can find some happiness being retired.

Retirement from life..
by: Angela

I have only been retired from work (after 50 yrs) 65...for a month..and I hate it. I feel completely out of the loop.

As a baby boomer I am so used to being in the swing of things....didn't even mind the travel to London each day. Help!!

by: Anonymous

Yes, like you I had to retire for health reasons but not enough to say I am uncapable of some work but the trouble is I dont feel the same every day.

I find because of my health problem, and not being able to take a permanent job, it is depressing me. Lack of money stops you doing the things you dreamt about when you retire but you don't have the money for the little things in life such as treating grandchildren etc.

by: Jane

Jane, your story was moved... instead publishing it under comments, I added it as a page so retirees can comment back to you!

Please contact me (bottom left column under "contact me" so I can show you where it is...

thanks! Wendy

I do have same symptoms
by: Anonymous

I retired last week at age 56. To be with husband at different state. I am getting through all symptoms mentioned above, anxious, depressed, lazy, worthless, outsider..... just finished school for master's but what for? I am looking for a job consistently..... CA

Wendy If you have a master's degree -- why not share your knowledge on a website? I love working on mine, answering questions, sharing my two cents... and the income is nice too!

Then when you do have a job, your supplemental income will come from the site, work it part time, and do the job full time... it's a win win!

I Should Be In Heaven Retired!!!
by: Debbie

I have been retired for one year now, after 37.5 years as a secretary.

At the beginning I was flying high, happy, yet seemed to want to get everything DONE, tasks, projects, etc. and be the perfectionist that I am.

Now I feel exhausted, kind of down, still thinking these "things" around the house/yard need to be done 'yesterday'.

I feel guilty just laying around relaxing, reading a book too much, type of thing. What is going on? I do NOT feel like going out working, and usually love to be by myself.

My husband is still working for four more years. We do RV'ing, have a condo in Florida to go to (if gas prices allow now and then!!) and really feel like I am just being a spoiled brat, unless I am clinically depressed or something, but hey, I'm on meds for that!!!

Any ideas? Thank you....

Wendy I am so blessed that after 36 years of employment and one year retired (very similar to you) -- I am happy, content, and fulfilled. I'm fortunate as I have my website to work on daily! Keeps my mind busy, keeps me happy, and provides an income too!

I'm doing a tele-class right now with the author of the Too Young To Retire book.. it's fantastic! I honestly think the majority of Boomers just won't retire like our folks did. We don't do rocking chairs very well! That doesn't mean to go out and start working again -- it does mean, THINK about your options.

Join an out-to-lunch bunch, find a reading club at the library to meet new ladies, start an art class, volunteer locally (library, hospital, somewhere fun), or work part-time, start your own small business (even something from home like I did).

So many options, you simply need to think about them.

p.s. I'm going to do workshops on this soon. I hope to help new retirees find themselves in retirement... use our talents in ways we never even considered.

update on retirement
by: Linda

Greetings to all,

It is March 31st and life is still good. I started substituting in January. I only go in 3 to 4 times a month to stay in contact and get my "teacher" fix. The extra money has also been helpful.

My mother-in-law went through a bad spell and had surgery. She is now in assisted living. I am glad that my husband and I are retired as numerous additional needs had to be met and we had the time to meet them.

Budgeting is always a challenge with rising costs of food, health insurance and gas.

More trips with Dad are on the calendar. He will be 83 in December. I wouldn't change a thing about my retirement. The memories we have made this last year are priceless. Time is something that we cannot buy and is quite precious.

Retirement rocks!

Wendy: Linda -- my retirement is quite the same. Retirement rocks for me too! I have plenty of time with my folks, have lunch out with friends, work on my website when *I* want to... Life is good!

Depressed Retiree, Job Outsourced...
by: Anonymous

My job out-sourced and I had to retire early at 57 years of age, just to have a little money coming in.

I am severely depressed and have had bad thoughts about is life worth really living.

I pray and go to church, but have not talked to anyone about my feelings. I love my husband an son, but I can't find what I need to do with myself. I have tried keeping busy, but eventually I have to stop for the day and that is when the depression sets in.

I can't sleep or eat. Please pray for me.

Wendy: Dear Anonymous,

Please consider the Retirement Transition group on the Email friendships page.... we are just like you, a bunch of newer retirees just not quite happy with new retired life. BUT -- finding out its not just us, others feel the same way, and being able to talk it out (via email) seems to be doing good for other members!

Many prayers sent your way!

Retirement is HELL!
by: Barbara

I, too, have done more damage to my physical body by retiring from education this year than I have done over the past 20 years. I now suffer from major depression and have hives. I take more medicine than I have ever taken. I would love to have my "old miserable job" back again.

Retirement is not what you think. So many people say they love it, but I wonder if they are just too ashamed to admit they made a mistake. I am sure it it great for many people, but I am not rich and have no one to travel with me. I need a job!

Just retired
by: Linda


It has always been a lifelong goal to retire early. I am 57 and have worked for over 32 years. This is my first year of retirement. So far it has been good.

I made my decision to retire early when I lost my mom in February and decided to spend quality time with my dad who is in good health.

Dad and I took our first trip this summer and it was great! 25 days of sharing and visiting family. More trips are planned. Next one in September.

Currently my husband and I have home projects to complete, so there are positive changes in our lives. My church and work location want me to volunteer, but I have told them I am not ready to commit at this time. I figure maybe in January I will be ready to donate time. It is hard to say NO.

I know many questions will arise that I many need to seek advice concerning my retirement so it is wonderful to find a place online where I can do so.

I will look forward to reading more stories and comments from this site.

Wendy: Thank you for writing about ENJOYING Retirement! yeah! So many have negative experiences and they do write about it (and its good to share that) - but I LOVE that someone who had a GREAT experience also took the time to share so that we all remember it's not all bad...
We just need to get past this transition of "who am I?" into our new Retirement Lives!

Thanks Linda!

Retirement: No point to the word "retire"...
by: joy

Five years ago we decided to retire from the city to a rural community.

Bad idea.

After two years, we went back to work and now our house is up for sale. We will go back to the city.

It is boring to get up in the morning with nothing to do. Why get out of bed?

I have spoken with many retirees and all say the same thing. So, for you i would suggest you move to a fair size city, get a job, make new friends and never say you are retired.

Wendy's Two Cents: I agree... you can't retire to "nothing to do". It doesn't work out, humans aren't happy without other people, things to do... we need to keep busy.

Having said that, I am perfectly happy "retired". I don't work out of the house... but I do keep busy working this website. I love my e-business!

Retirement: An ongoing adjustment
by: Joan

I've now been retired almost 2 years and I'm still adjusting.

I went to retirement transition meetings at work before I left and tried to think of it as 'retiring to something', but I complicated the matter by moving 1000 miles away to our vacation home where I have lost all social contacts, and easy access to consulting jobs in my former industry.

Being near family is not enough. I have been substitute teaching for something to do, where it allows flexibility to travel when we want, but Mr. only plays golf once maybe twice a week, and spends the rest of the time clicking thru the myriad of satellite channels - YIKES - that would make me crazy.

You don't just make new friends instantly or find new opportunities. Thank heavens for email, facebook and the internet in general.

Wendy: If you are interested, I have a Retirement Transition group.. they chit chat daily, via email, and simply help each other through this new phase of life!

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