The Illusion of Retirement

by Jeanine, Illinois Retiree

I retired at 69 due to downsizing. I guess it was about time though. Have been retired 7 months now and haven't been enjoying much of it.

Had been working for 51 years and all the plans I made while in my 50's about retirement and all the projects and traveling I was going to do just aren't happening.

I suppose if I had a spouse or partner to fulfill my retirement dreams I would be more "out there". Just don't seem to have the desire to do anything.

Don't get me wrong, my "to do" list is longer than my arm. Just no desire to get the jobs done. Anxiety seems to be the key to retirement. I am doing the "volunteering" that people talk about and I do have a part-time job at a day care center one day a week. I am lucky in that I have my children and grandchildren close by, but my biggest issue is the anxiety.

Any ideas how to calm down the anxiety?

Comments for The Illusion of Retirement

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How I Feel Now
by: Canadian Retiree

I’m 64 soon to be 65 in December. It’s been almost year since I retired. At first I was anxiety ridden and overwhelmed at the thought of being retired and getting older. I was mourning the loss of my work life.

You mentioned having a spouse in retirement might make a difference but believe me it doesn’t ease the transition that much.

You are you and finding a purpose is part of the transition. You also are spending more time with your spouse Talk about a test of your relationship! My husband and I have had our ups and downs.

We spend some of our time together but need a break every now and then. I thought we would do some trips in retirement but hasn’t happened yet. We spend most of our time at Dr and hospital appointments.

I’m volunteering a little and taking art class and piano lessons. Trying to find things to do is a challenge. I’m a little better emotionally now than last year but I still miss working and think about those days now and then. No use lamenting.

Good luck. Keep going forward.

Anxiety Be Gone
by: Mary

My dear retirement friend, it took me two years to get over anxiety after I retired.

The first 6 months was great with travel, working out, volunteering, family and then the now what came crashing down on me. Slowly, and I mean slowly the anxiety started to melt away.

I found myself taking day trips with the senior women’s groups, adopted the sweetest dog, planted that garden I always wanted, took some community classes and before I knew it I couldn’t figure out how I had time to work.

I don’t have a partner either but I am really comfortable being with myself, I like me. I recently joined a book club and have met a really nice group of ladies and it’s fun and I look forward to it. I went on a cruise alone and had the best time ever, even meeting several ladies traveling alone.

Hang in there and soon it will be behind you.
Then think Mary told me so.

Time to have FUN
by: Leaking Ink

You sound like you are just doing unfulfilling busywork. Perhaps it’s time to put some FUN in your life instead, or at the very least, in addition to the other things you are currently doing.

Time to re-evaluate.

You’re retired. You’re allowed to have FUN. Explore fun things you like to do, especially where you can meet new friends to do things with. Put yourself out there.

Join some groups that you think you might enjoy (not more volunteer stuff). Be persistent. Commit to just keep showing up. Even if it feels uncomfortable or awkward at first. Eventually, people will become familiar with seeing you, and friendships will have a chance to blossom. You have to put in the time to build relationships.

Best Wishes for fun times ahead!

downsized
by: Laura in Vermont

Being downsized after being so used to working had to be hard on you! But please don't let it eat your retirement.

Don't take your former employer's action to heart. It was some sort of business decision, not a personal thing, so your self-worth does not need to take a hit (easier said than done).

As for anxiety, everything's all new after 51 years of knowing what to do next. Just pick a small item off your list, one that doesn't involve too much, and do it. You'll see that it went fine and you can try another one.

If that isn't working, you may want to get a counselor to talk to and learn some tricks to help with the anxiety. Don't let that hold you back--you can have a good retirement!

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