Suddenly I`m not `Captain Mitchell` any more

by Pete
(Southern UK)

The travel company I worked for went bust. Suddenly I`m no longer Captain Mitchell, respected airline pilot. Suddenly Im no longer the reassuring voice on the passenger address, the unofficial `Dad` to my crew kids, the guy in a uniform.

Now, at 61, I`m the old fart who is overly sociable to check out staff at the grocery store... My house has never been cleaner ! All the little neglected household jobs got done in a rush in the first month.

I`ll never get another flying job at my age. Too many talented young colleagues who need the work. Thankfully the money is OK. Not wealthy but far from eating cat food.

If I could pass on the most vital bit of advice to younger people its to prioritise your pension savings.

I can `sort of` see contentment on the horizon, but the experience of sudden, inadvertent retirement is hugely unsettling.

Biggest thing for me I admit is the loss of status - of my `place` in the world.

Instead of respect now, I`m just the old fart in the way... Its a difficult adjustment.

I`ve always been level headed- kind of a must in the job- but this is a situation with no checklist to follow, no navigation system to see me through. I`m kind of lost..

Comments for Suddenly I`m not `Captain Mitchell` any more

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Greatest Job
by: CaptMark/NH

I hear exactly what you are saying and retired from a good airline flying career.

I wanted to try something completely new. So far it has not worked out.. I have a dose of ‘imposter complex’ outside of aviation. Not the end of the world, but still uncomfortable.

But persistence and endurance and laughing at oneself will see me through to enjoying something new.

We are far luckier than most, you and I. Best to you.

Where to next?
by: Larry Steward / SC

Hello Captain Mitchell

It is more difficult for professionals in uniform to make the transition away from their careers than the average worker. Your uniform told a clear story of what you're all about. However as so many have already mentioned, you know about traveling, navigating and having the responsibility to ensure the safety of passengers.

Now you have a need to focus on creating the next platform for the rest of your life. You have a lot to offer and I hope the encouragement your getting from all of us will speed you along.

We would like to hear back from you regarding the journey you plan to take. I'm betting that you will find a whole new world to explore.

Best of luck. Keep us posted.

To Captain Mitchell
by: NY

Captain Mitchell, no pity party needed for you. Actually envy you. I was a middle age student pilot until I could not pass my FAA med clearance.

My trainers were always much younger than me aspiring to get to where you succeeded. Im sure you started learning to fly on single engine Pipers or similar.

I would have enjoyed to have had someone like yourself next to me learning the skill. Teach!

One more tidbit
by: Squinty/east coast

Remember, "you're not a human doing, you are a human being."

by: Ann/TN

I read on some animal rescues about pilots flying dogs to new homes

Not captain any more
by: mildred/tn

Have you cked w/ hospitals who fly their critical patients to other hospitals? You could fly private planes for people.

Crop dusting?? I know places near me have planes to take people up and fly around the area for fun and charge.

Do not give up!! This is the time for fun time-just enjoy the rest of your life.

You're right, and...
by: Not alone/East Coast

It IS unsettling. It's a lot even if you chose to retire.
It takes time for some of us, and a lot of time for some

After 2 1/2 years, I still grapple with rethinking the decision, regretting my choice, fearing the future and more. It sounds bad, doesn't it? However, there are moments when it was clearly the best choice for me and I am grateful at many moments in the day.

I am settling into where I am now in life. There is a lot more I want to do and I continue to hone in on something that feels right and worthy of my time. Try different things, quit if you don't like it, and find a new one.

My current revelation: when working I had an easy identity, now I have to look myself in the face and only see what I have made of myself. Often it seems paltry, sometimes ok.

That's a hard part, but learning it has been interesting and evolutionary.

I think it will get better. It takes time and you are not alone. And you are definitely still worth a lot!

by: Laura in Vermont

Hi Pete,

At 61 you're roughly my brother's age and he still flies his own airplane. If you're fit enough to fly still, why not check out the civil aviation scene near you and get licensed up for small craft? It would be familiar turf and a bunch of people who are interested in flying, just as you have been.

In fact, you might even teach. With your years of experience, you have plenty of good attitude to rub off on newer flyers, and lots of wisdom to share.

Or maybe there's something you'd like to try (or resume) that there wasn't time for when you were working.

You're still captain of your life. Have some fun with it!

Time to switch it up
by: Leaking Ink

Time to find a new group where you can belong, where you aren’t seen as just an old fart. Time to meet new people and have new experiences.

Start with your own age/peer group. Find a place/group with a set of beliefs, values, interests, and purposes that mesh with yours. Persevere.

Your old journey is over. Your old journey was about what you do.

Your new journey is about sharing who you are over what you do (did). Be with people you can connect with and fight through your issues together, bear with each other, and bear one another’s burdens and joys.

Be encouraged
by: Terry

Feeling "lost" at this point in your life is very discomforting, but completely normal.

Remember you are not what are not what you did for a living; you are much more than that. Use your navigational skills to forge a new path for yourself and a new identity. You still have much to offer the world just as you are.

Wishing you peace on this journey of self-discovery.

Navigation System
by: Joe W.

Flying airplanes probably has the best navigation system in the world. Too many seniors lose their 'compass readings' because they lean on their 'status' moniker far too long.

You are not your job.

You are a complete individual that needs some retirement options to make a decision on.

You have already been to the top flying airplanes. Now, you will probably need to start somewhere near the bottom in ANY field of your choosing, and challenge yourself again through lifelong learning.

Good Luck!

by: Anonymous

Wish I knew you. I could muster up another list of household little jobs for you. Be on the lookout for old ladies doing gardening that is way too heavy, and pitch in on the spur of the moment.

Wrong way Corrigan
by: Ruth Johnson , Buffalo

Are looking at the wrong navigation map. Like my GPS likes to yell at me when I make a turn she doesn't like, "Recalculate."

Paint, write, knock some wood together, take a free class offered online. Go, do, explore.

I started writing in my 80's. Soon I intend to finish the master's I started 40 years ago. I may not finish, but I will meet new people and new ideas.

Please venture into new waters. Work towards an Admiral Mitchell title. I salute you.

by: Sherry/ NC USA

Everyone should be respected and treated courteously in the world.

Lots of people are rude and don't even realize it! They are stupid. Just say, "are you being rude to me?" It is always good to ask questions because it makes people think.

Do you have character, sir? You have to prove it everyday. Do for others this always make me feel better.

Things are going to work out for you, you'll see. It just takes time.

Get involved in things you are interested in.
Make the world a better a place by giving of yourself.

Good luck to you.

New things
by: Wee-zer

Captain Mitchell, you are going thru what millions of us have already experienced.

It is like a death in the family when you lose a job you loved. You not only lose your job but friendships from work too. For some reason, work friendships kind of die too.

However, we all need to work on our own issues and think on how we can adapt to change. Not sure if you ever read the book "Who Moved My Cheese". It basically is a story about mice who have had access to plentiful cheese. All of a sudden the cheese is no longer in the same place it used to be. So one of the mice decides to search for cheese elsewhere and finds some. One of the mice is angry and waits for the cheese to return. Some time later the mouse that found new cheese came back to tell the angry mouse about it. I think in the end they both move on to find other sources of cheese. Moral of the story, move on!

With your travels, why don't you think about writing about places and people you have met?

There are several things that come to mind you might excel at. First thing, I know some churches that put together trips to Israel, Egypt. Maybe you could get involved with something like that.

Second, senior centers are always planning get away bus trips. Some are one day events and others are 3 days to a week or two. You could be the guide and planner for these trips.

Third thing is that maybe you could come up with an adult education program to teach on travel. There are older adults that might want to travel but don't know where to begin. You could write a guide on how to buy tickets, hotels, planning an itinerary and provide internet links. Maybe something like How to Travel on the Cheap.

You will find yourself!

You are not an old fart
by: Keith, UK

I retired at 60 and found a whole new world and you will do the same. Now you will be a youngster at the retirement game. That Pete Mitchell, he is only 61! Go for it.

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