Retirement Hope: Finding Hope When Life is Bleak

by Wendy,

How can you find retirement hope when things look so dark and bleak?

Feeling like there is no hope is one of the most challenging emotions to manage. When Retirement-Online gets posts from retirees with little hope, I honestly don't know how to reply! How can ANYONE have no hope in their future?

Going a step further, why would a retiree even try anything new -- when he/she believes there is no hope, and no possibility for things to improve? Ugggg... and how do ANY of us convince those without HOPE to find it?

Finding hope when it seems like there's none to be found can be tricky, but it really truly IS possible.

It's important to remember that no matter how hopeless things appear, there's always the opportunity for things to get better. Even if it doesn't seem like it at the time, things can change. You might be right on the verge of changes, a new life, a big move, a small move... but your heart and mind need to be open for those opportunities in life.

All of us have challenges at times, and we all have moments where there doesn't appear to be a way out. Yet everyone who doesn't give up seems to come out of his or her struggles okay. Time heals and helps our minds find new ideas for life.

When you're feeling down and out, try these ideas to help bring back hope:

1. First, find gratitude for all you've accomplished in life. You've probably graduated from high school or college/university, worked a lifetime, married, had family, overcome an illness, encouraged family or co-workers,... what else did you do over a lifetime?

  • Have gratitude for what you have about you. Your home, your belongings, all things you love... you have food, clothing, and probably much much more.

  • Bottom Line: whatever you're facing today, remember your earlier accomplishments in life and know you're entirely capable of working through today's issues. For humans, the seemingly impossible is, in fact, possible.

    2. Absorb optimism. You must know people who always see the bright side of things (and, if you don't, you are hanging with the wrong people). We really are what we hang out with. Positive friends are the ones that could stand in the middle of a thunderstorm and say, "I think it's starting to clear up."

  • Seek out these people and spend time with them. Their optimism will soon start to rub off on you. Talk to them about your challenges; they may have a perspective that can really give you a push in the right direction.

  • When you catch yourself saying something negative (or even thinking it)... stop for a second. Think, in your mind, "Delete Delete" and then change your negative thought for a positive one. There IS a positive for every negative.

    3. Think of activities that might inspire you.

  • Faith could be a source of inspiration.
 If you haven't been to church in sometime, consider a newer contemporary service or listen to contemporary Christian music, read a faith-based book, or visit You Tube to find speakers that inspire your faith.

  • Simple joys, like watching children play on the playground, might bring you the spark you seek.
 Listen to their laughter!

  • Try reading books that give you hope, books telling a story of transformed lives or inspirational stories.

    4. Spend time with those less fortunate. Volunteering to help the homeless or in a hospital can show you that things aren't quite as bad as you originally thought.

  • Sometimes when you observe firsthand how difficult things can be, you develop a different perspective about your own situation. My niece has recently befriended a 70-year old homeless man (homeless for the last 40 years, by choice, he says). Last weekend, my sister picked him up and brought him to church. Our church is pretty busy, lots of people, contemporary music, might have been a bit much for a man who stays away from society -- but he liked it! He felt great and we did too!

    5. Spend some time with miracles that are in abundance in life. For many, nature's bounty is awe-inspiring, from flowers and waterfalls to butterflies and spider webs. Just sit outdoors, in a park, by a lake and observe life around you. When you see, and actually take the time to reflect on life, you realize that you're capable of remarkable things too.

    6. Be courageous. Often, finding hope requires courage to take that first step forward. Give yourself the chance to find your way through your challenges.

    If you want to find hope in your life, you always can!

    Although your search for hope might take some work, never give up. Just keep working through it and you'll discover that you have plenty of reasons to be hopeful.

    Another very good option is to seek the help of a trained professional. Regardless of your challenges, there are always people who can help you walk through them.

    Retirees: If you have more ideas, please add them below to help others that read this post! Thank you!

  • Comments for Retirement Hope: Finding Hope When Life is Bleak

    Click here to add your own comments

    Positive thoughts
    by: Irwin in FL

    I want to thank everyone for their positive thoughts.

    As a matter of information though, as mentioned early on in my previous post, all my negative thoughts took place back in 2004 and 2005. It was then (2005) that I saw things in such a negative fashion.

    But, it was also then - 2005 - that I realized if anyone were to make me see things in a Positive way, it would be me. And that is exactly what I have done.

    I have been having a ball since then (2005) and look forward to every day I wake up.

    Life is what we make it, and believe me, I am living life to the fullest and enjoying every day. Better yet, let me correct that - we (my wife of 53+ years) are having a ball.

    Thanks for reading my rambling.


    Finding Hope now
    by: Elna Nugent, Lenox, MA

    Dear Irwin:

    When we think dark thoughts or very bright thoughts--we must realize that "thoughts are things and have energy."'

    As we think them, they move out of us onto our electromagnetic force field... but they don't get stuck there...they soon come back to us like a boomerang. We feed and nurture ourselves daily with our thoughts. No one can hurt us but ourselves. And the power of our thoughts can be life giving.

    You have the power to invigorate and transform your life right now, this moment when you dare new wonderful, amazing, impossible dreams and thoughts to form. They will feed you and nurture you and when you send out good thoughts to others, amazing things happen.

    When we are children we were capable of crazy, wonderful marvelous fantasy dreams? They are still with you. Think of the most wonderful dream you ever had of becoming.Think about it often, even constantly. Watch what happens. Much love and blessings. Your life is on the brink of change.

    by: Ricardo

    Wow Wendy, what a powerful piece! You touched on SO many aspects of life and hope, and insights in this posting.....I applaud them all.

    I my opinion, and I have been with you for some time, this is the BEST piece that you have put together! It "covers the waterfront" so to speak, and should be mandatory reading for ANYONE that feels down and out.....NEVER SAY NEVER, AND NEVER EVER GIVE UP OR LOOSE FAITH, tomorrow is ALWAYS another day.

    Be thankful for ANY and ALL blessings no matter how small. Let us all remember,"life springs eternal in the human breast", and NOTHING is more precious than life not waste this gift bestowed upon each and everyone of us...savor EVERY moment, hour, day, week, month, and year for what they have to offer...tomorrow is not a given!

    WOW Irwin...
    by: Wendy

    I cannot even IMAGINE... YOU hanging it up?


    Sure glad HOPE jumped into your life and brought you the never-ending ZEST FOR LIFE that I know you totally have!

    I'm sure your wife is happy that you changed, for HER, too! Love watching the two of you -- as you travel, get dressed up for dinners, or dressed up for fun! You Two Rock!

    by: Irwin


    All very good points.

    I can remember quite well how I felt twelve years ago - right around this time as a matter-of-fact - and wanting to just hang it up and become a "hermit" or "recluse" of sorts.

    But then, I decided at age 64 - one month away from turning 65, I wasn't ready to do that. Were I do become such a person, I, not only would have been hurting myself - but my family as well.

    The very people that stuck by me during several operations and put up with my "woe is me pity party."

    So, I decided then and there to get help and while it took the better part of one year, I did get over it and have been having fun and doing things I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever do.

    So, bottom line is - if you can't find or think of a reason to change your attitude for yourself - think of those that have been around you and want to have that happy-go-lucky person back in their lives - Do it for them.

    I did and am so glad I did. we humans are more resilient than we give ourselves credit for.

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