Retirement: Everyone else is too busy...

by Barbara
(Toled, OH)

I retired last fall at the age of 55 from teaching. I wanted out at the earliest opportunity because my job was going nowhere (although not horrible) and I had decided to start a second career as a novelist.

It was wonderful at first to have so much freedom, but I discovered that it wasn't as easy as I expected.

For one thing, the day goes awfully quickly when you don't have time commitments. While it's great not to have to rush around, one has to accept that putzing around eats up more time than one would expect.

The other thing is that without external deadlines, it's often hard to sit down to work at the computer every day when you're not always feeling inspired.

It's only now--in my 10th month, when my friends are all getting ready to go back to school--that I'm beginning to really feel the loneliness. By nature I'm something of a hermit--with social anxiety to boot--and if anyone had ever told me I'd feel like this I would have laughed my head off. But I can no longer ignore it--I'm getting seriously depressed.

Last December, I "met" online an English teacher from California with similar goals for writing, and we decided to be critique partners. The critiquing part is still developing, but we emailed each other nearly every day after that.

We told each other the most personal things--I've never been so frank with any other person (I've never been married; she's married). We both decided to attend a writers' conference taking place near her home, so we finally met in person, roomed together, and had a wonderful time.

Then I came home and the letdown started. She was excited about having a publisher request to see her manuscript, so she's been working on it non-stop because she has to go back to work next week. She did ask me about 10 days ago if I would read it and give my opinion as a reader--which I answered in the affirmative, of course--but I've heard nothing from her since.

My brain knows she's going crazy, with the manuscript, getting ready for school, the house, the hubby, etc., but my emotions are telling me she's changed her mind about having me read it (because she told me 10 days ago she planned to submit it today), and then I start imagining all sorts of things, like she thinks I'm a loser, etc. (I know better, but that doesn't mean I can stop thinking this way.)

I keep thinking she could at least email me to let me know what's going on, but of course, I could email her too, except I don't want to be a pest. I certainly don't want her to know how upset I am. Then she would really think I'm pathetic.

Of course, this whole incident just emphasized the fact that I really am going to be alone now, since my other friends are going back to school; even the single ones have responsibilities after school too. I can't concentrate on writing or anything, and it is affecting my appetite too (although I need to lose weight anyway).

Intellectually, I know my thinking is all out of whack. I have a decent pension--not enough to move out to California, however--and relatively good health and I should be looking forward to the rest of my life and not picturing a big black emptiness. I have been seeing a counselor for over two years; when I brought this up last week for the first time, she said it's just my negative thinking and to keep working on developing a daily routine.

I don't want to take meds or anything, but I just need some advice on how to get over this. I check my email compulsively and there's never anything. I have been crying all day and trying to watch TV or read, but nothing will wipe out the negative thoughts. I talked to another friend of mine this morning, but she is busy getting ready for school too. I thought about taking off on a road trip at a moment's notice, but couldn't make a decision.

Wendy: I retired at 55 too, and though the world is at your feet -- it's hard to see that in the moment. I am now 2.5 years into retirement and feel totally blessed.

You didn't leave an email address... contact me via the bottom left contact link. Thanks!

Comments for Retirement: Everyone else is too busy...

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On Being Alon.
by: Liz

Yes, retirement can be a lonely time and there ae a lot of hours in the day to fill. I retired five years ago and after working fifty years it is hard to get in low gear and have time on your hands.

It seems that too much aloneness is not good for anyone. It does tend to make us think things that we shouldn't be thinking like why doesn't anybody call or write and on and on.

For my part, I have found that most cities and towns have senior centers where there are many different activities offered. It is hard to just show up there by yourself, especially when you don't know a soul. But think this is the time we need to just force ourselves and most of the time we meet someone or learn something that makes us glad we did get out.

I have always liked dancing and since I am by myself is difficult to find a partner. Our senior center teaches line dancing and I have been doing that several years and it has been just such a fun thing to do and the exercise is good for us too. Most of the time single people do this and it is also a way of meeting new and interesting people.

Good luck to you and hope that things will turn around for you. If it's a blue day, just tell yourself, "Self, today I'm getting out of this house if for nothing more than to walk in the sunshine."

Every one is too busy
by: Beth

Hi There - oh when I read this I thought this was me. I also feel that for some retirement is very busy, but I seem to have too much free time and not enough friends to chat with and often feel quite alone.

I am married but we seem to have drifted apart and don't seem to have much to talk about, our interests are so different now...we sit in silence, drive in silence, etc. etc... I am having trouble coping with this and at one time in my life I felt I was quite outgoing and a go-
getter but lately I feel that I have become recluse.

Oh I am not afraid to venture out, I go and come as I please but usually I go alone. Most of my retired friends have money and are travelling here and there and have other interests in life and seem to be busy all the time.

I seem to be stuck right now and don't know where my interests lie.

I do know I enjoy talking to people and meeting new friends.

Any suggestions, please email me at
bethg346 at

Things do get better!
by: Irwin

Hi Barb:

What can I say that won't sound as though I am copying everyone else that has commented here except to say they are all right.

I was forced out at age 55 - immediately found another job that lasted a short nine months (no, I am a guy so it wasn't due to having a baby - a little levity here to brighten the mood) and then got laid off again.

Bottom line is that we have been retired since age 56 and I will turn 72 in a few short months and have not looked back. What we do is look forward to whatever fun things we can make happen.

True, we all have our own things happening in our lives no matter what age we are be they health issues, financial issues, or family problems. The thing is to always try to look on the bright side of things and make the best of it.

We (my wife and I) are so busy now, we are constantly asking ourselves how we ever had time to work. We line dance, we socialize, we travel to see our children or travel just for the sake of seeing something new, I teach, write, and at present we recently took on another project of renovating a house.

Retirement is what you make it to be. It is and can be so easy to just sit around and think why is this happening to me. What we need to really do is say to ourselves - "OK, now that I have all this free time - what do I want to do with it?"

A person with your talent and experience has so much to offer others. Keep searching and you will find a passion that will rejuvenate you and send you to bed each night fulfilled and anxious for the next day to start.

Many of us are so blessed that we still have the opportunity to get up each day and make the best of it. So many cannot do that. As I like to say and have said in some of my previous posts, " every day I wake up on the right side of the grass is a good day"! Make the best of it.

Hang in there girl as you will find your passion - something to make you wake up each day ready to face the world with a smile. All it takes is a little time and in retirement we have all the time in the world.

Retirement - a time to create a new you, even secretly~!
by: Retd. Prof. Mr. Durgesh Kumar Srivastava, New Delhi, India.

My JIJA (sister's husband) passed away at Allahabad in north central India, about 500 kilometers from New Delhi, where I live. I took the night train and arrived at my sister's home to find that the funeral cortege had left for the cremation ground.

As I consoled my sister with the help of small talk about Jija, I asked her "How many people were there in the funeral gathering?" She told me that there were only about 40 or 50, since he had been leading a retired life for the last about 15 years and knew few people. In Allahabad, most of the funerals are performed on the banks of the holy river Ganga and the ritual takes about 3 hours.

The funeral party returned home after about 2 hours. There were some 200 people. My sister live n a narrow lane about 15 feet wide and about half a kilometer long. The lane was crowded. Soon more people came as they heard the sad news. The crowd swelled to about 500 and then more people came. The lane was jam-packed. The visitors held a spontaneous condolence meeting.

My sister's sons did not know most of the people in the gathering. I mingled with the crowd and talked to many of the visitors. I discovered that Jija had befriended these people during his morning walks on the banks of the Ganga river. After the walk, they all would sit on the sands and hold a daily informal get together lasting about 40 minutes, and then they all would go to nearby shops to eat JALEBI (a popular Indian sweet delicacy of Allahabad. They had named their morning walkers group as JALEBI CLUB. Jija was not allowed to eat sugar and he had therefore told no one at home about the Jalebi Club. He was very popular among the morning walkers and enjoyed his mornings immensely, never missing a single day's walk.

There are friends to make everywhere. What is needed is that one looks for them.

You are Busy Too
by: Carol E


Wow i can understand your frustration. You pour your heart and soul into a relationship only to find that the other party might not be as interested as you once thought. Yea that sucks!

But ya know what? Even though that makes you cautious of other relationships, and feeling down about yourself, think of it this way. She once mentioned that she would like for you to read her manuscript, evidently, she thought enough of you that you might have some good points to share.

Things happen, as you said she seems to have a busy life and maybe she decided she did not or could not afford the time to wait. So with that said, you obviously have quite a bit of talent for writing.

You said you were a teacher.... there has to be many avenues you can pursue in helping young ones aspire in their writing. Could you go to local library and see if they would be interested in starting a writers club for children? Even if they don't maybe you could organize yourself enough to put an ad in local paper to help young inspiring writers.

There has to be an interest for this sort of thing, especially in California. Personally, I would not be upset with the lady you made friends her and just say you had been thinking about her and how busy she must be with school starting and let her know you would love to hear from her and how things are going with her writing. Leave it at that. I

always feel that people come into our lives for a reason and once that reason has been accomplished then it's time to move on.

I am 59 retired at 53 and have had similar moments. I got so gung ho over starting a little business only to find that there was not enough interest in my product to continue.... yea it bugged me that I just could not get it going as I had anticipated, but lessons learned... also, ya know, from what I understand California is a very expensive place to live and you mentioned that you might want to move?

There are many other states that are much more affordable and your retirement would probably go much farther... look for somewhere that might inspire you to write...think about what kind of things that would be intriguing to write about and research areas that fit into your writing.

I hope this comment helps a little....but please do not just sit around and make yourself suffer when you don't have to....this is a time for new beginnings whether you stay in California or move.
Keep us posted!

Wendy: WOW, Carol, where did all that come from? You go girl!! Thanks for sharing with others here... it just takes one persons perfect words to make a huge breakthrough in anothers life!

Novel Writer
by: Joe W.


Hi! I was downsized from my last permanent full-time job in Purchasing Management at the age of 45. I took the advice of one of my colleges there who said that when I physically leave the office, not look in the rear view mirror but focus on your NEW goals moving forward. It took me some time to adjust to being away from a corporate job, just like what you are now experiencing.

Based on what you have said I know that teachers are in demand in many walks of life. So, I suppose that you could still try to find something related to teaching jobs.

I think that writing is mostly a lonely job where any harvest might not come in the short term. I would suggest that you find a second career that you are passionate about. Without love for an activity in your second career, it would probably be very difficult to get something accomplished.

I started my 'Seniorpreneur Project' and the research for a new book in Nov./2005 and completed this project in Mar./2010.

I hope that this helps you.

Joe W.

by: Mary

Hi Barb,
For me the loneliness of retirement has been terribly hard. But after 7 years I am getting used to it.
E me if you want at:greenwomanthree at

Everyone Else Is Too Busy
by: Zenobia

I hear you loud and clear and sometimes when you are getting it all together and reach out to someone it feels as if you have found an anchor, but what we have to realize is that life moves at different paces for different people.

I do not think your friend has abandoned you, it is just that she is in a different place right now, which might mean that you need to think about finding your own place.

I hope this does not sound harsh, but I am nearly sixty five and have been in these kinds of situations. In fact, I have a friend right now who is feeling abandoned because we were at the same starting place, but I went ahead and got published which meant my priorities and my time allowances shifted.

I still love being with her, but she thinks I am different, when actually, my time constraints with book promotion, writing more stuff, etc has shifted in a way that I could not have predicted.

Please take heart and know that this happens a lot. It is not YOU...and of course, it does not feel good.

This part of life is never easy, but try to hang in and especially on this site...there is so much to learn and do and plenty of people who are willing to encourage you and most of LISTEN~

Best of everything to you!


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