Unhappily Retired

by KevenJon
(Sun City, CA, USA)

Having left the lower 48 states, moved to Alaska when 22 yoa, and living there for 35 years my life was turned upside down when I retired.

Over a year's time, I left the country I loved to return to the lower 48, lost my dad, lost my only friend (my dog), and became stuck at the in-laws taking care of a mother-in-law.

I have no friends, my wife and 2 grown sons try to be understanding; but life is not happy. I feel sequestered to the 2-bedroom house that the m-in-law owns, all personal belongings are stuck in storage, and I hate the traffic and weather here in the interior of southern California.

Although my retirement of $45,000/yr and savings of $650,000 are comforting; my life is depressing.

Answers to your bullet point ideas: I have taken mild medication for depression for many years and life was happy in Alaska, retirement was forced upon me when the requirements of my employment were not able to be met due to an Americans with Disabilities Act status (essential tremors). I was not "Thrilled" to retire but was thankful that I had enough time in with the Department to do so.

I do not see a light at the-end-of-the-tunnel and though my wife and I have searched for some place where we might be happy to retire we are no closer really to finding that place on a map than we were 3 years ago when we first started thinking about retirement.

As I sit here writing this now I can not see myself happy any place.

Wendy: Do you have friends you left behind in Alaska? Why not go there for a visit? Just a get away might improve your mental well-being?

My nephews mother-in-law spends a month or two back here in Michigan, then travels to Alaska for 4-5 months.

I wonder if you might be able to do something like that until you can completely retire. Maybe even rent an apartment or own a home there again.. but travel back and forth to help family AND maintain some happiness in your own life.

I also have two friends who are in the process of doing what you've done - move from their homes to be closer to the aging parents. It's definately not easy...

Best Wishes!

Comments for Unhappily Retired

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Unhappily retired
by: Anonymous

Kevin I’m going to be a little harsh here.

If what you are saying is true it sounds like you are low on your wife priority list and she seems to have no empathy to how miserable you are, she only seems to care about her mother’s happiness, does she think you worked all these years to spend your retirement taking care of her mother and you should be okay with that.

Won’t you suggest that she stays with her mother and you spend maybe half the year in Alaska or even better sell the house (in CA, a house even a small can sell for good money) and find a nice assistant living where are lots of activities and where your mother in law can make friends.

If she objects to both options, knowing how unhappy you are then you need to do some serious evaluation of your marriage and whether it’s working for either of you anymore.

I’m not saying divorce I’m saying maybe a trial separation for 6 months to a year and then see how things stand between you two. Unfortunately, a lot of long time marriages break up after retirement because couples have the time to realize that there not as compatible with the person they married as they thought.

The purpose of life in 3 words
by: Anonymous

Well, things have continued to deteriorate... I know... oh woe is me.

Well let me tell all of you something... one has to care before life changes and I have absolutely no "Caring about my life status" in me!!!

After long thought I have decided that the meaning or purpose for life can be summed up in 3 words... Exist, Endure, and Die.

Those are the bottom line to life. Some say that writing things down gets them off your chest so to speak. Well maybe that is what I am doing... I don't know anymore.

What I do know is that day to day existence sucks, that because I don't care about things it is easier to sleep my life away than to be awake and around others, that with the passing of days, weeks, and months I seem to be loosing more and more of my mental focus (and the hardest part of that is the knowing that it is happening), that the best time of my retirement is slipping away with the passing of time (my health, desire, and will.)

Things that I wanted to do 2 years ago in retirement seem to no longer be practical. I call myself a "Want-a-bee" because I had big hopes and now realize that those events will never take place.

One has to see the "Light at the end of the tunnel" to have any desire to do something about it.

Do I feel better for getting this off my chest... no, not really, but thanks for someone out there at least listening to my woeful life.

Wendy: You seriously need to see a doctor. You do not have to live like this -- it's a choice. Get well.... please! There is still so much life to live but you can't do that in bed.

by: Anonymous

Go back to where you were happy. I wouldn't like California either. I live in the Pacific North west.

I dont think when you retire and have lived in one area a long time you should not move. It usually does not work out....

by: Tom


As a retired Captain of thirty one years in law enforcement. My best advice is to take a deep breath and find patience.

I have been retired now going on a year. It was pure hell those first few months. Look at NO NORMAL. It will get better as time goes on.

You have been going at it for years now and the adjustment will come. One really good thing is you have found a great website for help.

Be patient my friend you will find peace.

Law Enforcement Retirement
by: Lori

First off I would like to extend my Congratulation on your retirement from Law Enforcement.

You are one of the few that has walked away from NOT being killed in the line of duty, or seriously injured. Second you have lasted after retirement because most LE officers usually end up have severe medical issues. That is why we have the heart and lung bill to protect LE and fire after retirement.

I also have walked in your shoes, I retired with 30 years as a state trooper. At the beginning I could not figure out how in the hell I was able to accomplish all the daily tasks that I needed to do and work full time.

I thought it will be great to retire, so I did. A difference from 83.00 dollars a month working or not working? Tough decision.

That is when my world went down the toilet. After making decisions, responding code 3, investigating accidents, making arrest, etc... I found myself so disorganized, forgetful, could not figure where the day had gone and nothing had gotten accomplished. What happen to me?

A strong "A" personality to what I had become. I decided that I needed structure. Its still hard to do, I have one task I do everyday. I focus on the positive that I have around me. (the cup is always 1/2 full).

Plan some goals, If you want to adventure to other places in the country do it. If the wife will not go, do it anyway.

You might find yourself, and see what lies ahead for you. You never know you might end up being a change man if you take a step and a little adventure can not hurt.

Find yourself a dog as a companion to take with you. I rescued a German Shepard and started working with her. ( I used to work K-9 for 12 years) Now I have to take her for walks (which helped me also) and enjoy watching her began to trust in humans.

Good luck to you.

The world
by: Lynn

Since you have plenty of money to live on, you have many choices: move to a rental nearby and help out but still be in your own place.

Join clubs, volunteer groups, of course get another dog, they are our best friends often.

But for you and everyone, what is wrong with the thinking on this site. There is a world out there. This country is in deep trouble. This President has as his mission to destroy the U.S. and he's doing a good job of it. The land of Israel is in great peril and the fighting there escalates, Missiles are shooting down planes of people.

Doesn't anyone on Retirement on line care about what's going on??????


Wendy: Lynn, this is really a Retirement site, not a news site. There are many other places to talk about current events -- including the Retirement Community. You might check in there to see if someone wants to chat!

by: Sharyn~~~CANADA

Dear KevenJon:

Why don't you & your wife consider an assisted living lifestyle for mother-in-law? The funds received from the sale of her home could help with mother-in-laws new living arrangement. Certainly is an option, is it not?

Many people do consider this in order to carry on with their own lives!

You & wife are at a point in your lives where you should be enjoying a lifestyle that you have been working towards your whole lives! This will not be a selfish act on your part but an option for a new and uplifting lifestyle for you & wife.

I am guessing mother-in-law is 75 or older, there is no law that states you are required to care of her 24-7. You two have family of your own & maybe grandkids, l would think so. From what l read in yur letter, you are NOT a happy camper so to speak, you & yours are ready for fulfillment, fun, adventure.

Get that map out and close your eyes and point your finger, pack all your bags & wife bags and just go where ever life leads you!

Have a wonderful, memorable, REST of your lives & enjoy!

by: KevenJon

Wendy... I am retired law enforcement and unfortunately have no friends... a few work acquaintances of course but no one who is close or a confidant. I really do feel sorry for people in law enforcement as it can be such a twisted job.

Years ago before my mother died she said that after 18 months of law enforcement, I was no longer the loving person who went to Alaska.

I would like to return to Alaska... possibly even snowbird with summers there and winters elsewhere... but the wife doesn't want any of that... so, I'm stuck with what it is.

Wendy: I worked with many law enforcement, I often said I'd LOOOOVE to be the mouse in the corner of a training room. We'd hire someone, normal guy, he'd come in weeks later for some paperwork, and be SUPER DUDE. It was the strangest transformation how they suddenly became so macho.

LE always seemed so TIGHT to me, surprised you don't have those contacts anymore. They seemed like brothers, unlike other co-workers.

Sure sounds like you need to talk to someone, get all the work life off your memories, meditate, whatever it takes to find some internal happiness.

THERE DEFINATELY IS LIFE LEFT IN YOU -- there are options, you simply can't see them and some might be right in front of your own face. Open your mind. What did you enjoy, years ago, as a kid? Is there any interest that you might pursue now, something for you and you alone? Need to start a Friday Date Night with your wife?

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