Surprised at my own struggles and learning what to expect
Hi, I lost my mom nearly a year ago and, not too long after, I decided to take early retirement because money wouldn't be a real issue. I retired last August.
I am 58 and have been a busy paralegal all my life. My husband is still working and he supported my choice. I have always had a professional appearance and care about such things. I enjoyed working but I believed I was ready for a change.
I have two grown children in town and a daughter across the country finishing up school. (No grands yet.) My daughter has met a young man and will likely not be coming back to our home town to live after college, and this knowledge has literally thrown me into a tailspin.
I was caught off guard as to how this (accepting that my daughter will likely live out her life 2000 miles away) would affect me. We are very close and I always imagined having her nearby as she raised her family.
I am close to my sons too, but those relationships don't have the same sort of built-in friendship that a mother and daughter share.
Anyway, I believe this news has also really forced me to grieve my mother's death and now, 6-7 months into my retirement, I am "secretly" struggling with feelings of inadequacy, irrelevance, loneliness, sadness, and disappointment. And it is ridiculous.
I am ashamed to admit these struggles because I am perfectly aware of, and am so grateful for, my blessings. I am blessed beyond measure. I have no real reason to feel this way.
But leaving my home lately has become a chore for me. I dread nighttime as these feelings increase at night. I am withdrawing from friends, and I find myself avoiding commitments. I get mad when my husband sweetly suggests volunteering, but only because he can't understand that I can barely manage to go to the grocery store, much less commit to a volunteer job.
I have been taking anti-depressants and they help somewhat, but these feelings remain.
One friend of mine pointed out that my life has had several "upheavals" over the past year....lost my mom suddenly, lost my daughter (only to distance...we remain close) and I quit my job where I have worked for 19 years.
In hindsight, I probably should've kept my job for a bit longer. I want anyone reading this to forgive me for being selfish and "blue" when I know there are other moms in this world who may have lost their child to death or illness, and those moms would give anything to only be separated by distance, or others who were laid off and have no money to cope, and the list goes on and on.
I realize how fortunate and blessed I am, and I am ashamed for feeling like I do. I wish I could change it. I hope that, in time. I can get back to enjoying my life and shake off these heavy and unwelcome feelings.
One thing I was shocked to realize at this stage of life is that many of us are wading in very unfamiliar waters. In our early years, we learn over time about each of our life stages....we sort of learn what to expect or what it may be like when we go to high school, or when we start dating, or go to college, getting married, having a family, etc. But no one really teaches us what to expect when
suddenly our children have lives of their own and, while we are still loved by them, we are no longer as relevant in their lives. Or what it is like to realIze that your character and your heart are now what attracts others to you and it is no longer your beauty or charm.
It is sort of like we climb up a mountain all our lives, working toward that next level....dating, college, engaged, married, children, jobs, etc., and then, before you know it, you've reached the peak of the mountain, and you find yourself heading back down the other side...and you aren't prepared for what you might find because no one has told you what to expect. And going downhill is a slippery slope, and you cover ground so much more quickly.
It is surprising....At least, that is how it is with me. I admit I struggle with how to cope and feel old about myself. I know I should be serving others or finding a way to help others, but I seem to be stuck. I hope these weird feelings are temporary.
Anyway... Thank you for allowing me to share my feelings. I hope that, in time, I can add a new paragraph sharing how I have pulled myself up by my bootstraps and am doing much better!
Thank you all, and God bless!