Retired: Who am I?

by Elizabeth
(West Virginia)

I have now been in retirement mode for a year.

Unlike most of the members of the group, I did not retire until I was 82. Worked for the same company for 37 years.

I still drive my own car but do have a bit of a mobility problem. I do a lot of charity knitting and have a dozen "snail mail" pen pals. Try to keep my mind active with the computer and courses from Great Courses.

Now saying all that.. what is my problem?

Well when I retired, I lost my identity, I had been a well respected member of my profession, known by most. The adjustment has been difficult and I seem to be questioning my worth. Is this just a normal part of growing old?

Depression is not the problem and I am not feeling sorry for myself. I have been blessed with a wonderful adventure filled life.

But, who am I now?

Comments for Retired: Who am I?

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Who Am I???
by: Donna Augusta, Mo

I too retired from RN well respected and mentor after 37 years at the same Institution.

When I retired I started a group on Facebook that allowed people new and long time employees. It has really kept me connected as well as informed with new and old cronies. We set lunch dates keep informed of each others life and a sadly deaths.

It has truly helped me and now our conversations have turned to the deaths of so many of our fellow workers from all types of cancers 35 plus people diagnosed and 25 deceased 4 in this past month alone. All ranging from mid to late 40s and early fifties. We are now writing letters to see if any further investigation should be done.

Any thoughts on our situation would be welcome.

You are in this place for a reason
by: Elna Nugent, Lenox, MA

Dear Elizabeth:

it just dawned on me that I will be 86 in two months. So why do I still feel about 45. I know our cells change constantly and in a way we are constantly renewing ourselves, but we really are what is in our heart and mind. I am either cursed or blessed with an insatiably curious mind. I was meant to live in this era of the computer.

Professionally I was a teacher, a newspaper columnist, an artist and a pianist and several other vocations.

When I became a widow in 2009, I had finished writing a memoir and it suddenly became quite an adjustment taking over all the managing of house and property and constantly having to repair parts of the house etc. My three sons live nearby and my daughter only a little farther away so I do have plenty of support if I need it.

It took me until 2012 to realize that by living alone, for the first time in my life I could do exactly what I want when I want to. I feel younger than I have in years.

Give yourself some time. It can happen to you especially if you eat healthy and get the body moving when you can. I love being in my 80's. Can't describe how exciting life can be and I'm constantly writing letters to the editor. I have had others tell me that their 80's were their best years. Imagine.

Trust the future and open your mind to wonderful things.

Lost Identity
by: Joe W.

I believe that if someone works in a traditional corporate job for a very long period of time they will definitely lose their own identity. Why? Because most decisions are made by your bosses and the higher ups.

Now, at 82 your released from your company chains and forced to look inside yourself to find out who you are. Try experimenting with different activities until you find some that your really passionate about and go from there.

Good Luck!

Joe W.

Thank you, Wendy
by: Elizabeth

You suggested that I share some of my "wisdom" at 82. I enjoy writing as per my snail mail pen pals. Years ago I wrote a column for a local paper, but I really don't know where to go to share my thoughts and adventures or who would be interested.

Our world is changing so quickly and our young are missing so much nature has to offer. I spoke at local schools and community groups on the wonders of wildlife, but have not found any group s here that have an interest.

Again, thank you for your reply and for the work you are doing to offer assistance to our floundering community.

How did I?
by: Elizabeth

Mildred, You asked how I continued to work until I was 80, I worked to pay my bills. That is not said spindly, I was a Real Estate Broker for over 37 years with the same company. I was blessed with good health, did not smoke and only a glass of wine occasionally. I enjoyed my work for years and was successful enough to be able to have my own house and travel to pursue my hobby of wildlife photography.

When the stress and physical activity of showing homes became too much, I sold my home and moved to live with my daughter here in West Virginia. I still drive my own car and hope to return to Montana again next Spring to photograph grizzly bears, we shall see what the coming year brings.

retirement after 80
by: mildred/tn

I would be interested in how u were able to work until u were in your 80? I admire u. What type of work? family? what motivated u to get up and go to work ea day? What did u do to stay healthy?

You have an interesting story to tell and I am interested in hearing. thanks

by: Anonymous

You are who you always were and always will be. I can understand people who lose their identity to become someone who is just "Joe's secretary" or the woman who keeps the office clean. It seems you accepted being what folks thought you should be. You were acting a part. But now you can be who you were all along and be proud of it.

FIND YOURSELF! it's never too late. Don't be the woman in my poem and die asking yourself this question. I was she until I found my hidden talent, writing.
There are nine verses, but I will spare you most of them...


As a baby she would cry a lot as babies often do.
And demand to have attention right away,
But soon she came to realize that simply wouldn't do, and
She'd have to fine a different game to play.

(The poem goes on to say how strict her mother was and how demanding her teachers at school, followed by a demanding boss...)

When at last she married she became the perfect wife
In every way, no virtue did she lack.
She cherished this obsession every moment of her life
And her house was always spotless, front to back.

(It goes on to say she followed every rule re child-rearing. With her children grown and gone, someone said to her that it must be nice to have some time to yourself)

Until sometimes at 3 a.m. she pondered years ahead,
When she can be herself with no false show.
And she wonders how she'll act as she lies sleepless in her bed.

For who is she? SHE DOESN'T REALLY KNOW.

Retired: Who Am I ?
by: Wendy,

First, you worked to age EIGHTY TWO? Go girl! WOW...

Second, all of us who loved our jobs and some who didn't too, feel lost and without identity.

I retired voluntarily, I changed from Wendy from Human Resources, or Wendy from Retirement -- to -- Wendy from

I had this website to back me up... still, quite honestly, you do lose that identity... and I did too.

It's odd too, we are the same people we were just a few years ago, but also suddenly almost "nobody".

I wonder if you have wisdom to share -- from your occupation, OR as an adventurous 80-yr old? You could do it for fun, simply things you've learned, memories, stories, how to keep busy at 80....

Just thinking!

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