Who Knew Retirement Would Be This Hard

I grieved for my job after I retired.

People said, don't you love being retired?

No, it was so hard, figuring how to channel all the creative energy I used to put into my work.

We grieve for the loss of anything. I had to work through all the stages of grief after I quit teaching. No, do not tell me I should have substituted or volunteered. In my case, that just would have delayed my facing up to the inevitable truth that that part of my life was over and I needed to move on.

Retiring has not been good for me mentally or physically, but it is a fact, and there is no going back now.

Don't get me wrong, sure it is an easier life, but it certainly has taken me a long time adjusting to this new normal. No way would I ever want to go back now, but getting used to this new stage in my life really has been a lot harder than I could ever have imagined.

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B Burns
by: Who Knew Retirement Would Be This Hard

Thanks for any comments. It is such a big change in my life. I will have flight benefits on 2 airlines for the rest of my life. So I am fortunate I can travel freely now without worrying about getting back to work.

by: Brent B

Soon I am retiring in about 5 weeks.
Since working at the age of 15 (dishwasher )
and now at age 63 not going to a job kinda concerns me.

I am not sleeping well and wonder was this the right direction to take. Financially I am good and this was one reason to retire. Got to get 401K down before taking Social Security at age 70.

Why am I not thrilled? Everyone around me says I should be.

wendy: I would BET those around you are under 60... if you are younger, the freedom of retirement sounds so good. As we age, it turns around quickly. They won't know it until they get here too.

Don't be too serious
by: Donald in Connecticut

There are many common emotions to the newly retired but I asked myself some questions when feeling regretful about retiring.

  • Was the work that I did really that fulfilling?
  • Did I really like my job or was it the paycheck that motivated me to work?
  • Do I miss the forgotten stresses and commutes?
  • Do I miss all of the people that I worked with or was it rather painful to work with some ?
  • Am I just bothered by having to manage a new routine and purpose?


    Exercising first thing in the AM. Mine are done by 8AM and immediately have a feeling of accomplishment under my belt to go forward with the day.

    Be still and quiet the mind by really looking at the beautiful creations of Nature.

    Eat healthy and be grateful for your Health.

    Walk with your head up, smile and breathe deeply.

    Take time to look at the sky.

    We all are lucky to have just one good friend in our lives. If you haven't made many friends by the time you retire you probably won't so invest in those that you already have.

    It's time to venture inward and realize who and what you are and feel the calm and peace that we all deserve.

  • Panic
    by: Anonymous

    I absolutely hate retirement. It is like I am holding my breath each day waiting for the shoe to fall.

    The women in my neighborhood want nothing to do with me because I was completely engrossed in my job and had little time for them. I finally went over and came right out and asked to be friends. They looked at me like I had two heads.

    If I had it to do over, I would never retire. When I went to the retirement center, it was like I had an out of body experience. Everyone looked so old. The volunteer job they offered me was the same one I quit, only without pay.

    Most of the paid workers were standing around talking, waiting for volunteers to do their jobs.

    Four weeks in
    by: Anonymous

    After 4 weeks of forced retirement I'm bored to tears and I have no idea what I want to do.

    In fact, things I thought I would want to do don't sound the least bit interesting now.

    I fortunately have no financial need to work, but I expect to find a job at a hardware store just to find some purpose. Anyone who is looking forward to this better have a plan.

    Hopefully this is a short-term reaction, but so far each day gets worse.

    by: Judy Levine, Bloomfield, CT

    I empathize with you.

    For me, after 42 years of being an immigration paralegal, my job was no longer needed (don't ask me why). 42 years is a lifetime, I worked with people from all over the world who needed our services to be able to have a better life for their families. I was a part of that process and made hundreds happier.

    However, the "retirement" was not my choice and that, of course, made it worse.

    That was four years ago, and since then, my husband lost his job also. It has been a tough journey and still wonder, what will I do when I grow up?

    But we must forge ahead and make the most of what we have for that is the only way to move forward.

    by: RON

    I see so many that have had difficulty in adjusting to the retired life. For me, it was easy.

    Only being 53 at the time, I started looking for a stable that leased horses as I was an avid horse person until I had to sell out during my divorce in 2002. So the day I retired I was back riding horses.

    Today, 4 years later, I own two horses that I board. It is my responsibility to go out and clean their stalls daily, so I have a routine I really enjoy.

    I drink coffee with my neighbor each morning before I go to the barn, clean my stalls and ride both of my horses, before I go home mid-afternoon where I can tend to the chores around the house.

    I think a hobby of some kinds is very important and played a key role in my enjoyment of my retirement. I can't imagine being retired without my horses, I don't like to watch TV so I am not sure what I would do with my time.

    Still retired and loving it!
    by: Alison L., Davenport, FL

    I'm sorry to hear you are having a hard time with retirement. My husband is 6 years older than I am and retired several years before I did.

    After about 6 months he was very bored and some what depressed. He ended up going to work at Walmart just for something to do!

    I retired 7 months ago but had a plan when I retired...spend time with my tiny granddaughters...4 of them under the age of 3 now! I decided I wanted to be a part of their lives before they go to school and get too busy to make memories with grandma.

    I think knowing what I was going to do helped me adjust to this major life change. I do miss my coworkers I admit but I'm very happy with my new life.

    I've also been able to connect with old friends who are also retired. It's a new day and a new time in my life to discover new hobbies and adventures.

    It's time for me...and for YOU!

    You are right!!
    by: Ike... South Dakota

    You are so right... I also suffered through a process I assumed was going to be joyful and full of fun. It lasted about 15 months... I am finally able to enjoy my changed life... slowly yet but with a better feeling about life and myself.

    Good luck going forward.. I know we'll both be fine.

    get some help
    by: Mike Canberra

    Sounds like things are not too good for you in retirement. I know this is easy to say but I think you need to make an effort to get out and about. Look after your health and if all else fails to lift your spirits get some professional help.

    wishing you all the best

    I could have written this myself
    by: Nancy

    I was exactly where you are 4 years ago. Everything you said, I absolutely agree with. It helps to know we are all in the same boat. I wish you all the best.

    by: Rose Raintree Arlington Wa.

    I think like in other stages of our lives we do a poor job in preparing and teaching people that there does have to be a transition period that if done usually leads us into the next stage where we can and do find new experiences and joy.

    I was an RN for 35 years and prior to that I worked for 10 years in banking and loved my working years. For the first 2 years of my retirement I was kind of like a crazy woman trying to figure out what to do with my energy now.

    I discovered that in those working years I had allowed myself to become way too narrow in the things I did and lost me. So during that two years it was a time of discovery.

    But I can honestly say, now that I am into my 4th year of retirement, that I am loving my retirement, discovered an even more improved me and also found out I am a pretty good gardner. When I retired, if it wasn't plastic it would die, and the first year was a joke... but now I have one of the prettiest yards in my neighborhood and while learning to grow flowers. I grew into my final act act loving it.

    Have made new friends, love my neighborhood, had wonderful times with my granddaughter that would have been missed had I kept working.

    My spiritual life is so much deeper and thus my joy as well. So yes there is a transition but if one does not give up and allow them to sink into despair rather then strive to discover what this new phase holds it can be as my mother used to say some of the best years of your life.

    Who knew retirement would be this hard
    by: Renee Stevenson

    I also do understand how you feel, I took a early out from the USPS at age 55. It has been 3 yrs and 6 months and finally had to find a part time job working for Metlife.

    A totally different world but I didn't realize for myself that just getting out of the house and using my brain has helped. Unfortunately it's been 2 weeks since I've worked but I'm ready to get back into a routine.

    My husband is 62 and is still working, which is good and bad but at times I envy him for still having a life.

    Things will get better but I've questioned my decision over and over and sometimes I regret retiring. But the flip side is the stress from the job is great. Even with part time working I almost gave the job up due to me feeling I wasn't retaining the information fast enough but I'm getting there.

    Just try to find something you enjoy because we are living on the other side of the track now.

    Thank God for this web page, I would have gone insane😊.. Hang in there and God bless

    Yes, who knew!
    by: Sandy

    Your comments are spot on - yes, who knew retirement would be hard. Why did we not know?

    I wonder if, when asked, many of our retired colleagues either were really happy or were embarrassed to say that they were not enjoying retirement. Something tells me it was the latter.

    I am very honest when people ask me and I tell them that I don't like it and am still adjusting after 3 years. Some look at me like I have 2 heads, so I can see where someone may just find it easier to say "retirement is great".

    I think the best thing about discovering this site is knowing one is not alone and that what we are feeling does not make us crazy or depressed or nostalgic. It makes us human, adjusting to one of the biggest phases of our life.

    Thank you for sharing and I hope your journey through the cycle of grief brings you out at the other end with joy and gratitude. And the answer to "who knew?" is "many of us"!

    I Understand
    by: Patti - Chicago

    You are not alone because I felt the exact same way. The transition to retirement was very difficult for me and in some ways, three years later, I am still adjusting.

    Do I wish I were still working? NO!

    But having so much unstructured time frustrates me, and I miss the complexity and challenges of my job. And you are right - grieving the loss of your job is one thing and filling your time is another. You have to attend to both.

    Most of my friends made the transition to retirement seamlessly but for some reason I did not. They all say "every day is Saturday - every day is vacation" but that is one of the things I don't like about it.....no day feels special anymore.

    I LOVED Saturday and Sunday when I was working for the simple fact that they were different from Monday-Friday. I guess we all have our own experience and that is what makes us unique.

    Good luck to you and just remember that you are not alone in the way you feel.

    It's hard for me too
    by: Sally/Texas

    I retired at age 54, then my husband retired 8 months later. Wonderful right, no it's really not. I am bored.

    Thankfully my husband and I have no difficulty getting along 24/7 but I so miss conversations with my work friends and the feeling of accomplishment associated with doing my job well.

    I took up oil painting which I love, but it involves no interaction with others. I have been considering a part time job, maybe in a bridal salon, just so I can hear women talk. I welcome comments and suggestions.

    Grieving the daily grind
    by: Elna Nugent, Lenox, MA

    Dear Grieving:

    I am beginning to believe there should be a next planned step after retirement, just as there is a next planned step after high school.

    Since there isn't , I think competent psychological consultation for all retirees is a must.

    There is nothing more sobering than having to face ourselves every day and wonder who we really are.The distractions of work have been a discipline and a learning process but they keep us from making friends with ourselves and finding out how amazing and how much fun we can be.

    Everyone has their own special path so we cannot legislate what new retirees should do. But if you can regard each person you meet as a fascinating story that can be told, you can also realize you have a story too. You could even write it down so that family or relatives can know what you have learned.


    Slower transitions are easier
    by: Anonymous

    If you can retire slowly do so. For example teaching only 3 days a week and then going down to 2 and so on. It is much easier to fill a void if we do not have to fill it all at once.

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