Retirement Depression: After 10 Years

by Kenny
(Long Island, NY)

After 10 years following early retirement... it hit... deaths, health issues, limits to finances, less friends, less beer, less everything, it seemed, etc.

When I first retired at 50 years old, I had a great time doing those things that I wanted to do, which included part time work whenever it became available. Never realizing how good that work really is for me, as i was a workoholic most of my life from age 12 (paper route) to 50 (Federal Agent).

During my life I juggled wife,family and additional part time jobs and responsibilities which basically caused me little or no free time. Reality is.... I was always busy.

For the last ten years, I have tried to remain less busy and most of the time, I have been the happiest guy in the world, never thinking that I was actually retired, but in reality I am.

At 61, I started to notice a few health issues creeping up, and that's depressing, but normal....but still not desireable... as all of the retirements things seem to be! So, I did the physical thing and all is good for the time being!

All of a sudden (which really means that it happened over the last ten years and I finally noticed), I am a retired guy dating a 9 year younger wonderful woman (separated from the wife, due to MY ACTIONS, according to her) who is still working, 4 days a week. We have been dating 6 years and all looks great with her.

For me, my outside work has diminished (due to my neglect doing other projects, lack of desire and the economy), my outside desires have diminished and my own desirability has obviously diminished.

Then, it hit, I am getting older and I no longer have a purpose, like I thought that I used to have.

The Questions I start to ask myself: Don't I deserve to be retired, as I worked a long successful career? When is enough enough? What is it all about? Where do I go from here? and What do I do with myself for the next period of my life?

My friend pool is much less than when I retired and I now realize that work friends were just that. I have a couple that I fraternize with but just a couple. Life is different... FOR SURE.

I am fortunate enough to have a financial ability at the moment to go forward without any real problems I think, but who knows?

So, realizing that I am ALONE in this retirement thing, I have found my thinking is changing and slowing down is inevitable. I should have probably started to slow down many years ago, but I had lots of energy and it took longer. What is next?

Over the years, I like most, have had issues, good and bad and have always been able to bounce back. With that in mind, although every once in awhile i get a bit depressed, I know from experience that I will bounce back. All of these feelings will subside and one day soon, I will accept where I am and bounce back!

I should mention that during this last year, I had too much fun, worked very hard, overspent, drank too much beer, let things slide, procrastinated, etc. and had to take corrective actions on all accounts to straighten out my personal life... which has worked.

It was during that 4-6 months of time of correction, sitting around taking a back seat, that I got depressed and felt ........ pity me. I had to stop that feeling!!!

I have nothing to be depressed about when I compare myself to others. We all have had things in our lives which were not good, but we must move forward and remember and stress the good things first, and try NOT to remember the ugly first. Depression seems to do the reverse and nothing looks good during a period of depression, and I let the ugly take first place. That had to change.

Positive....... things, people, movies, books, etc are needed to help us all move forward to again start feeling good. We need to be loved and cuddled and held and told nice things. It's human nature... but we forget to do what is good for us all, and let things go.

I rescued a puppy 6 months ago and she is a good thing for me. She needs me and I her and it has given me a new purpose in life. I am not sure if I will seek employment or voluntary work or start a business in the near future, but I know that there are a lot of us old guys out there who need to realize that they are not alone with these feelings and the good thing is in most cases, that the feelings will pass.

As hard as it may seem, get out, go to the gym, make calls and be honest with others, tell them your story and how you really feel, as we are all in the same boat.

I hope my story helps. Writing it helped me. Please respond if you like, as I need to hear yours. Thank You for reading.....

Comments for Retirement Depression: After 10 Years

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Retirement after 6 years
by: Alexandrite

Interesting story and responses. I, too, retired early, although I was forced. My employer was reorganizing and wanted those of us 60 or older out. I had just lost my husband and my oldest sister (10 months apart) and was in no shape to deal, so went.

At first I struggled with the loss of influence, friends, purpose. I, too, had many work friends and friends through my marriage, but these gradually disappeared even though I tried to maintain some connection.

I started voluntering, but like my working, I overdid it. Anyone and any organization who needed me, I helped. I was busy, but still not happy. Then, I just stopped everything because I started having some health problems associated with stress, aging,gried, etc. They started to take over my life.

It's still a struggle at times, but I am working to find the balance I lost. Right now, I'm just trying to do activities and be with people who both interest me and keep me feeling connected and alive. I think that is what you may have come to realize, too, although I don't want to assume.

Good luck with your life path!

Forget yoursef!
by: Anonymous

There are too many "I"s and "me"s in your story. You must forget yourself and look outward to others. Purposely look for ways to help.

Smile at everyone and say "Hi". It doesn't matter whether they smile back or not, but sometimes you will make a new friend that way. Then ask, "How can I help you."

I believe we are put here to help others. When you focus on others you will find your depression lifts and goes away.

One more thing: make a list of all the good things in life. Read it and add to it daily.

by: Joseph Kainikkara

Your musings made good reading. Yes, every one of us retirees feel the same way. Even though some of us put up a brave face and pretend nothing has changed, the fact is that a lot has changed and with each heart beat we are getting nearer to the grave.

Perhaps the most unbearable facet of retirement is that you are becoming irrelevant in many ways.

But I feel, being realistic, spiritual and philosophical about life would help a great deal. Of course you should have the finances to take care of your health needs !

Start over where everything is new and different!!!
by: Anonymous

I think you need to find a place that is so different (environment, langauge, culture, people) where you can begin a new kind of life. I know because I am a foreigner.

Whenever I travel to a different country, there is so much to do and see. I feel happy and full of energy to learn about the place, meet new people at the malls/store, cab drivers and so on.

I am from a small island where most people know each other, speak same language, share the same culture but there is much to do. I am retiring soon and already I have plans on how I will continue living and I am excited about it.

Going back to my home island and start another kind of life with childhood friends is something I am looking forward too. I also observe foreigners who lives here... they seem to enjoy our simple way of life. How about it mmm?

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