Surprised by Things not going according to "Retirement Books"!

by Hans S
(Calgary, Canada)

Hi All

My retirement was planned to happen in about 2 years when my wife reached 60 (me, 62). Ive had a 35 year career I loved (mostly) but recently a job I grew to hate.

A mining company with an oil division I was part of. Actually our division was the division with the highest return on capital within the company. We were gearing up for new ventures that would replace dwindling reserves and I was in the thick of it. Pure gravy - flying around the world, mentoring good young people to promote, exciting opportunities... except senior management kept putting us off with no reason given despite annually budgeting a decent investment amount that somehow was just never in `quite the right country`. Slow learners we were but the harder we worked the more we were ignored.

To shorten the story, the harder I tried to make it good enough the more burned out and cynical I became.

On the edge of exhaustion, I reviewed our finances, talked to my wife and retired at age 60. No problem right? Or at least not my problem anymore!

Wrong. Just as I was getting rested and looking for some fun, I fell through my emotional floor. Suddenly!

I've been depressed for several months, mostly just sad, not anxious but really without motivation.

For now, my career is over - I do not want to go back even to a different job or consulting while I am so down. My critical thinking skills aren't helping as the normal business data, facts, objectives, intuition just are not clear. This is not a problem of logic, this is an emotional issue and I'm a neophyte at feelings problems.

If this sounds like complaining, this is not my intention - just sharing my story. Of course the ending hasn't happened yet and I have some faith the good stuff will start as I adjust. But it has not been a picnic.

Wendy: Sounds too familiar to many who have retired. It seems there is nothing to be down about - voluntary retirement, you weren't forced out, finances are ok, then WHAM! What happened?

You'll be fine... I say that simply because you have the common sense not to simply brood on it, but that you are sharing your experience.

Consider a new interest to get busy with. You were busy during your working years, not quite ready to work again in any capacity, but need to do something. Consider your childhood/teen years... did you have any interests that you had to leave behind due to working and family? Is there a committee that you might volunteer on? Any community groups you might take part in?

Perhaps you have a specific knowledge to share with the world... like I am doing here on my retirement website. Working from home but totally interacting with retirees online.. love it! Build a website, create new income... it might be about woodworking, drilling for oil, fishing in Calgary, vacation spot website, use your imagination and think about what you might write about and share with the world, for income.

Best Wishes!

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I Survived the First Year (of Retirement)
by: JCJ

Here is a bit of my story.

When my department was eliminated and I was laid off, I was caught between two worlds. On one hand, at age 68 I was beyond retirement age. yet, I had enjoyed my job and was not ready to retire. Due to my age, finding a new position had its challenges. As it turned out, I was eligible for unemployment benefits, thus I signed up for workshop and seminars geared to get me back into the workforce. Within a couple of months, I realized that my heart really was not into getting back to work.

Although I do not have a bucket full of cash, I feel that I will be financially ok. I spend my first year taking adult school classes, volunteering, exercising,reading and spending time with friends and family.

It got to a point, that I was getting stressed out because my days were getting so filled that I was overextending myself. Now into year two of retirement, I am deciding which activities I want to keep, and which I will eliminate from my schedule. I realize that I'm still in transitions, but staying at home and or watching TV etc was not for me.

I now see myself like a kid in a candy or toy store, I'm trying out and tasting things that I think might be of interest. If I become engaged in the activity, I stick to it, otherwise I drop it and try something else.

Doing the above has minimized the anxiety, stress and emotional up and downs that I was starting to experience. My story at this time does not have an ending, but some of the readers might find my experience an option that they might consider.


Joie de Vivre
by: Nina from London

There are times when life brings surprises! Some of them are pleasant...meeting the one you fall in love with...marrying them, for instance. Then there are others not so great. For instance finding out your health is bad and your life is turned upside down. What I've learned is to take the good with the bad. Learning to go through trials isn't easy but it teaches us what is valuable.

When I retired my husband was very ill, my daughter was at university and I was isolated. Although I worked part time as a substitute teacher I would come home exhausted to help my husband. There were times when I couldn't cope. Eventually I had to quit to take care of him full time. Sadly he died after 5 1/2 years.

Where does our courage and fortitude come from? For me it was my religious faith plus my support group from church that kept me going.

Now I look back and realise that from all the troubles I learned to appreciate friendship plus the love that was given to me. I began to look within myself what I wanted to do...hobbies, interests, volunteering and so on.

What a difference my life is now. I can't believe I am so happy. The amazing thing is that it's my curiosity and enthusiasm for learning as well as interest in people that has helped me get over the big hurdles.

What I tell people is that "Things don't go according to plan". But sometimes they replace our plans with even better one. Have faith that you will find the road that you will follow and that it will be idyllic.

Wishing you the best, Nina

to Hans S
by: Joy- sometimes Joyful

Hi Hans, Your story sounds exactly like mine... read it here: "Joyful is not so joyful".

I retired from teaching after 39 years. It too had been wonderful, for many years, but you know public school teaching today. Then during my last year of teaching I developed a second cancer and had to retire to do a tougher chemo. All of that junk took about 2 years. So just this year I am REALLY retired.

The bottom fell out for me last August. I am on a small dose of an anti dep. It has helped. But, even though I volunteer daily, I still feel useless at times and have little energy. Your feelings are normal. I had no plan, my husband is still working and we have no relatives around, so it is just me and the doggies daily here in the countryside.

I decided it is just LIFE! It is another step, but a BIG one. We are on no schedule. I am no longer the center of attention in my classroom and I have felt lots of negative feelings. But I think they are passing. I am thankful each day that I was born when I was and enjoyed a great youth (I am 63) my cancer seems to be in remission, I have a pension and SS and my husband has one more year to teach. Then we will both decide what the next step together will be.

He is an artist so he has things to do in retirement. I just love to read. We plan to travel also. But anxiety is still with me almost daily, but again, so many folks who write on here experience the same thing. I have NO desire to work either. I have adjusted to one day at a time. Hope you can too. But don't be down on yourself for your feelings. They are normal.

Good luck and let us know how you are doing Hans!

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