Retirement Blues. Why?

by Craig/Minnesota

Missing and grieving over your pre-retirement job? Really? Wow, you clearly must have been heavily invested personally in your work.

To be fair, I do see many posts from folks who pine for the work days of yesteryear, so it must be true that working means a great deal to many people. Not to me. I had a nice working career, but once I retired there was never any wistful backward glances nor workplace nostalgia. That part of my life was, happily, in my rearview mirror. I had looked forward to retirement and have not been disappointed even a little bit.

I wish that I had some sage advice for all of my fellow retirees who cannot seem to enjoy the fact that they don't have to get up and commute to the job every day.
Alas, there is no magic bullet to cure retirement remorse because what will work for one person may be totally ineffective for another. The work ethic is so integral to the psyche of many people that it serves to diminish the joy that should be there once a person has put in the years to achieve a good retirement.

Many things would serve to define me as a person, my family values, my military service, my collegiate experience, to name a few, but work never defined me. It was purely transactional. I did what I was supposed to do, as professionally as possible, and in return I received salary compensation. Not very romantic, but then I never expected that it would be.

I'll extend an olive branch to those who miss their old jobs. I envy you to a degree because I have no idea what it must be like to have actually loved a job. It was enough for me just to not hate my job. Loving it was never an option. A defect in my character perhaps?

Comments for Retirement Blues. Why?

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Blues Are Back
by: Canuck Retiree

I too suffer with retirement blues. I envy folks who are happy with their retirement.

My husband is very happy in his retirement and doesn’t miss his job at all. He worked graveyard shift for 40 years so maybe that’s why.

I worked for about 20 years at a University bookstore and it was a great job and place to work. I complained a lot about my commute and some of the office politics but now it’s behind me it doesn’t seem like all that bad. Unfortunately my job did define me.

I too am like Sandy who misses the structure of work. I’m trying different things like volunteering and taking art classes and ice skating and piano but nothing fills the void like my job did.

At first when I stepped into retirement I had terrible anxiety because I was so tied to my job. I’m better now but not 100 %. Part of me wants to go back to my job or find another job. I doubt I will ever have as good a job again. I hope I can make peace with my decision to retire but it’s a hard go. Glad to read other people’s thoughts and feelings on retirement.

by: Brian

Hi Retirement blues. I think in many cases; its not the "work" per se that people miss; its the companionship, many of their close personal friends were met at work, and this is the loss they feel I think. And also a sense of shared goals and shared responsibility. A sense of purpose and achievement as well.

Often in their own lives, people don't have that. I was in charge of a catering department (two actually) and I was a trainer as well; I really miss the people I trained, it was satisfying for me seeing young people learn and succeed. At my work, I was friends with about 30 or 40 people, and when forced to retire; it was a huge wrench to leave them all. of course I keep in touch as much as I can; but its never the same again.

People are important to us, we need the experience of working towards goals together. Maybe you can find it in retirment; but its not easy, I am glad that your experience is positive, but many people do suffer a bit; when they have to retire. good luck in the future anyway.. regards Brian. :-)

Retirement Transition
by: Lynn/Colorado

I loved my job and missed it greatly when I retired from teaching two years ago. I missed seeing kids learning and accomplishing and I missed all of my colleagues. Alas, I tried substitute teaching, but that was nothing more than glorified babysitting and the students were RUDE and DISRESPECTFUL! I'm thrilled to be out of the classroom and finding new pursuits.

No one told me the transition would be so hard; I guess that's because I identified so strongly with my work defining me.

Now, I get to define me by how I treat others and by choosing to love life every day. It is okay to grieve for a bit and start to glide into the next phase of life. It might not be all roses and that's okay. I've learned to accept what is and not look back.

Transactional job
by: Cindi H, Ohio

I, like you, have never particularly loved my jobs. I've done mostly secretarial ones and while I loved being someone's right hand and being efficient, and loved being around my co-workers, at the end of the day I was only doing it for the compensation. I did not spend my time away from it dreaming about it.

I definitely do not miss the long commutes in heavy traffic. If I'm outside now and a breeze comes up, I can stand still and really enjoy it and not think "well this is nice but I've got to get back in there and go to work." Retirement suits me just fine.

You are fortunate
by: Sandy

Craig - the joy you feel in retirement is not always common (as you can tell from this site) and so I hope you know you are fortunate to feel so happy in this phase of life.

I can only speak for myself, but I always thought I was not defined by my job. I have a family, love taking classes and was always active.

But the sense of accomplishment, the feeling of relevance, and the challenge of learning new things which take me out of my comfort zone are things that cannot be replicated outside of a work setting, in my opinion. I really don't care about the negative social things that happened (I can ignore those), but feeling ALIVE by being in the workforce is what I miss. Wish there was a way to feel that with other things.

Oh well, I am slowly getting used to the idea that not getting up early, sitting in rush hour traffic and doing all my shopping during peak time are benefits I should enjoy!

Continue to enjoy yourself!

Never loved a job
by: Sherry/NC

I have never loved a job; so maybe I never really found my purpose.

I enjoy not working in an environment where I did my best everyday and received compliments and then there was gossiping, envies, jealous, people just not liking you, but couldn't be quiet about it! I don't have to live with that anymore and silence is golden. I do volunteer work now and love it; those companies really appreciate me! Thank you!

You can go to work everyday and work hard, do your best, stay at your work station mind your own business and don't participate in gossip and you will still be talk about badly. Some people are just unhappy with themselves. Companies should never allow gossiping because it causes employees to be hurt and unproductive, but some managers like drama and will allow it happen!

I have experienced age discrimination on recent job interviews for part-time work. I am never going to work outside of the home again.

I am happy now!

No retirement blues here
by: Mary Ellen

"Retirement blues, why" has exactly expressed my feelings about my career.

I was a special education teacher for 23 years and although I enjoyed it and was considered very good at my job by my peers and administrators, it was always transactional for me.

I graduated from college at age 20, but I only started working at age 40 because I divorced my husband. If I had stayed married I would have never gone to work. So shedding part of my identity when I retired wasn’t a hurdle I had to jump.

My only retirement struggles have been social since I moved to another state. I miss my colleagues and friends from work, and I’m not one to seek out others.

But I never miss going to work, not even a little bit. I enjoy sleeping in, scheduling appointments at my leisure, traveling to see my grandchildren in another state, and doing whatever I want when I want.

There’s no downside to retirement for me!

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