With 2 days to retirement, I am suddenly freaking out!!

by Betsy
(Upstate NY)

I have finally made it to retirement!! I turned 62 this month and will get a decent retirement pension and social security. I will be comfortable financially.

Although I have little savings, I have all my bills paid off except my car. I have always lived paycheck to paycheck so that part (along with less financial responsibilities now) will be normal for me. Besides my car payment, I will only have rent, utilities & groceries.

Last night my friends had a surprise retirement party for me. Up until then, I was relaxing and feeling calm about all of it!

But today I am a LOT nervous and realize just how close I am to being retired. I want this part of my life to be the BEST PART. I suddenly feel sick to my stomach, anxious and worried about it now.

I have always wanted to retire to do my writing, artwork & photography, but I am beginning to wonder if and how I will get inspired. I feel exhausted!! I took a camp on a quiet winter lake until June so I would finally have some peace & quiet & healing from city life.

I lost my 91 year old Dad in July of 2012 who was so looking forward to my retirement, I have moved 3 times within the last year (noise issues) and I am still a bit shaken from ALL that.

It is not like my job was fulfilling! Plus the commute was awful!! My job has been slow for the last few years with downsizing inevitable so I decided to leave as soon as I qualified for social security.

So, I am READY to leave. I haven't read much on this website yet because it all seems too overwhelming to start when I am feeling this anxious...and because I never expected to feel this unsettled about retirement that I had to google this topic (although I think I may have come to this site a couple of years ago when retirement was in sight!)!

So, I wanted to write to see how others felt when they were this close. Did they freak out at the last minute? How did they finally settle in?

Shouldn't I be excited instead of a wreck... especially when I have been so calm and SURE about it up until this morning? I am having a hard time understanding my feelings!!

Wendy: COMPLETELY NORMAL.... even a voluntary retirement often finds anxiety during the retirement transition phase.

You have lost your dad, moved several times, now retirement -- that's a lot of "loss" and you may need to grieve those losses. Give yourself time.

You will be fine, it just takes time to adjust to the idea that you have no time committments, nothing to do (or nothing you must do), and to simply learn what you will do in your new retired lifestyle!

You'll be fine! Since you are a writer, do what you do -- write! Get out those feelings on paper, or here on the site, and each time you will feel just a bit better. Don't hold it in, scribble on paper and brainstorm it all out.

Wishing you the best retirement can offer!

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Almost a month has passed - exhaustion has hit!
by: UPDATE by Betsy

In a few days, I will have been retired for a month. A couple of days ago the exhaustion really hit me and all I want to do is sleep...so, I am sleeping!!

I stopped drinking so much caffeine since I don't feel it's so necessary now. It only makes me jittery when I am not Mach 10 with my hair on fire anymore!! I am sure that is partly why I am so tired!

It's very quiet at the camp I rented for the winter so my sleep is basically undisturbed. However, I still don't feel inspired to do much yet and I am somewhat bothered by that.

It's a big change moving to the country from the city lifestyle I lived. I have to plan trips to the grocery store which used to be right around the corner before. I ate out a lot because everything was easier and fresher. For instance, if I wanted a sandwich I could stop by the deli for fresh cold cuts and bread for that. And last night I had a hankering for pizza & wings delivery!! This part is much harder than I expected it to be!

As for my nerves, they are settling down. I am catching up on my reading and movie list. I go for walks around the quiet lake. I have met some other winter residents and everyone is very helpful and friendly. Only a handful of owners stay here all winter.

I still struggle with the fact that I haven't found my Forever Home yet. I just want to STOP moving and enjoy a Home instead of constantly being on the move all the time and feeling SO unsettled.

I think once that happens I will feel more grounded and less restless in my future Retirement Days.

Wendy: Betsy, give yourself time... this is a huge life transition and needs time to choose your new path in life.

You sound like you are doing pretty good. Books, reading, walks around the lake -- catching up on sleep it also good, but if it gets to be TOO MUCH sleep, it may be depression that's lurking. It happens, but you can move past that too.

Finally, I think fall/winter are the worst times to retire -- just a dark dreary time of the year and add to it a huge life change, it's not great. While its till reasonably easy to get out, go seek some new friends -- at the library, eating alone at a local restaurant, around the lake. Make lunch plans SOON -- before winter sets in! That way, in the darkest dreariest of times, you can get out and have lunch with someone for some chit chat -- even introverts like me need that sometimes!

Best wishes!

Normal reaction
by: Anonymous

Congratulations on your retirement!! Your anxious feelings are normal. Retirement transition is a process, so dont get discouraged if some of your anxiety returns from time to time. You and your body are adjusting to not having a schedule. I agree with your coment while working we are always in a "sense of urgency mode." Now there is time to make a choice on what we want to do. Good luck with your new life!

Just relax and enjoy it
by: Lori

I spent most of my first month of retirement sleeping. I was both physically and mentally drained. I had worked 36 years for the same employer and was 55 at the time. After working 50-70 hrs a week for all those years, I was excited to retire. I left and never looked back. I got a part time job but after a month I quit. I realized that being a homemaker was really what I wanted to do with my life.

by: OmJoshi

Forgetting is important process, we have to forget many events which creates problem for us. I have forgetten the name of my son who died 20 years ago in an accident. The importer of my other son's buyer has forgotten to pay dues US$72,000 to him. Unfortunately my visual memory is strong. I do not forget faces of people and draw as art.

I like and remember beautiful faces. These inspire me. Artistic and colourful items give me energy. Senior people should develop a hobby which keep them busy. To remain busy and be creative is always good.

I enjoy Wendy's website and conway my thanks to her, she is young and keeps all senior people young. Om

It takes time.
by: Breadbaker

I retired at 60 last October from a good paying job with alot of added benefits expense account, car, and alot of freedom.

But I was really lacking some job satisfaction so I decided to call it quits. I thought maybe I would go work as a local supermarket, maybe in the produce department,where a could earn a few dollars for some extra spending money.

What I realized was that after being in a sales management position since age 25 I could not find myself being asked to get the carts or sweep up.

The first few months I was basically miserable and started baking bread and cookies every other day. I gained way to much weight!

In June I started to learn how to fly fish.
Intial investment in the new hobby was high, but it got me out of the house and on the water.
Lost about 20 pounds! (still bake bread once per week - find it relaxing an rewarding)

I am not as anxious as I was about retiring ... in a "nutshell" ... it takes time to get comfortable with the new lifesyle, but it is happening.

going to fill my time
by: Anonymous

I'm retiring in 83 days, then I'm taking a month to just get used to not going to work, then I will be babysitting my beautiful 2 1/2 yr old twin granddaughters. That should keep me busy.

Two Weeks Later
by: Debra

I retired two weeks ago and it's nothing like I expected. I miss being around a lot of people. My husband passed away last year and I was waiting for his V.A benefits to kick in so I could leave a job I hate! I am glad I left the job, but I'm not sure what direction to go in. I would like to eventually do some volunteer work.

Is there a time of adjustment after retiring?

Wendy: Absolutely there is a huge adjustment -- and you have to adjust to two things at once: retirement and losing your husband. You will grieve both losses -- give yourself time to figure out who you are now and where you want to restart your life! Best Wishes!

by: Betsy

Thanks for the replies so far. I am now on my 3rd day of retirement and have lost started to settle in. I feel a bit of nausea, but otherwise the anxiety has disappeared.

My last day of work was a bittersweet, but it was also a nice day. I am starting to realize just how much energy a full time job entails.

One of the first things I have felt is that the sense of urgency has gone...that constant rat race of getting to work, the commute, the toxic workplace, the rush to get in and out of the city to beat the worst of traffic, that feeling of always feeling RUSHED.

I honestly never notice just how much energy and how much my life revolved around work and everything I did. Weekends were more about recovery than relaxing!!

It is nice to feel more relaxed and less rushed. I feel a bit of a sudden CRASH coming on. I feel like I could sleep for a month!!

Wendy: It took me well over a year before I really realized how much work took out of me. I am so grateful that I don't have to do that anymore! Yes, time to adjust, but still... real life awaits you!

by: Betsy

Thanks Wendy! That makes me feel better already :)

by: Sharyn~~~CANADA


Hi Betsy

When, not if, u find activities u enjoy throughout the weekday and spend yur weekends sleeping in & waking up stress free ~ how lucky r u going to be?

U have worked all your adult life right, now is the time for u to reap the fruits of your harvest, so to speak~ ENJOY

You have planned for this to happen so go out there & make what u want to HAPPEN ~ * happen *
Have an awesome rest of your life* Do everything u have wished for & be eternally happy always.

Regards Sharyn CANADA*

Writers Group
by: Anonymous

When your location is settled, read the local paper and slowly you will find others who share interest with you. I have belonged to a senior writer's group for so long that I am now the senior member.

I have written a family genealogy with 380 pages and recently had it printed. A woman I invited to this group is now one of my best friends and we go to an art class together.

The other important thing is to help others. As a volunteer you only take on what you are comfortable with, but it also pays to experiment to see if you do like something quite different from the work you have been doing.

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