retirement

SamMax
Member

I am going to be retiring soon, early at the age of 57.  I have been so looking forward to this with so many things I wanted to do, plans, hobbies, community impact.  Now that it is approaching I am a mess. My mind is all over the place. I feel overwhelmed.  I am just surprised that I feel this way-  anyone else feel like that?  Any suggestions from those who are retired?

 

25 REPLIES 25

LusallyH
Member

Hi SamMax, I’m not retired, but I left my career to stay home with my daughter. At work, I was not the President, but to me, I achieved things that other men and women could not. It was a huge change coming to my life. This is how I feel we might relate a little. I cried at the time. I did not understand why. So I wrote things on paper; anything that came to mind… all those “thoughts”.  I found a pattern. I was *afraid of loosing* a lot of things; my friends, touch with like minded people, in conclusion, I was afraid of losing my dignity. So, I made it worth it. If I do volunteer work, then I would become the best volunteer (and a happy one) that I could be. I also became the best (and happy) wife that I could be. And now I am the mother that I wanted to be 🙂 I am also the person that I want to be 🙂 And all those fears I had, all those things I wrote on paper, they did not happen. As you may know, there is always a way out. Some of my friends were not comfortable not having an income, and she found a better job after she retired. Thanks for reading my long response. I hope some of this may help you or someone else. Wishing You All, Peace. 

Thank you for your kind note and sharing your journey.  I did just what you suggested today and started writing down all my fears, everything.  I think I will keep that up for awhile and see where it leads.  If I could ask a favor, perhaps I could ping you once a week to keep me accountable?  I really want to push through whatever is making me miserable and find my joy again.  Thank you again for listening and responding. 

SamMax, to respond to your request: Absolutely yes, I’ll be here for you. Thanks for trying my method and writing things down, it made me smile when I read that. It takes an open mind to try other people’s method, so Kudos to you 🙂 I assume it was a positive, or neutral, activity for you. It should feel right to you, otherwise, I suggest you try a different method. Also, out of curiosity, and only if you feel comfortable sharing more in this forum; Were you able to discover a pattern? (Mine was afraid, but I wrote the word ‘anxious’ a lot, I never wrote the word: afraid. Then I discovered that I was not sad, angry, impatient, etc.)  I commend you for opening up in this forum and trying new methods, it takes courage. BTW, Congratulations on your upcoming milestone. Until next time 🙂

I have been writing daily and especially when i am stuck in fear.  For me it is fear from not knowing what to do on a work project, then I procrastinate or stay neutral.  I can't see the trees for the forest and feel overwhelmed.  I do so many many things at work really well but the ones I am unsure of I freeze.  By coincidence I started reading this book called Jump and it parallels what you were saying. I am working on some action items/exercises in the book.  I will keep you updated. Thank you for being my accountability partner.  I really appreciate that.  

I have been writing daily and especially when i am stuck in fear.  For me it is fear from not knowing what to do on a work project, then I procrastinate or stay neutral.  I can't see the trees for the forest and feel overwhelmed.  I do so many many things at work really well but the ones I am unsure of I freeze.  By coincidence I started reading this book called Jump and it parallels what you were saying. I am working on some action items/exercises in the book.  I will keep you updated. Thank you for being my accountability partner.  I really appreciate that.    

 

LinaP89
Member

Hello SamMax...I retires at 62 from a job I loved for 25 years.  My identity was directly connected to the work I did, and I was vital and important.  I became very anxious about "who would I be?" when I retired and was no longer tethered to my work.  Your anxiety is quite normal but consider how fortunate you are to retire in your 50's!  What saved me was connecting with two different women who worked for the same organization and lived close by.  We discovered many things in common and learned some new activities like hiking and pickleball that became the core of out friendships. It's not easy to un-tether yourself from your work and financial stability but its a wonderful world out there full of adventures waiting for you.  I have no regrets!!

Lina P.

Thank you for your kind words and sharing your journey.  I have 4 months left.  I will keep you updated on where my path takes me.  

You're both lucky.  I aged out of my job (i.e. they fired everyone over 40) and couldn't get another job even when looking way outside the box and for things below my level.  No one wanted to hire an "old" woman.  Now I'm in my 60's having lost my main earning years (I spent all my working ones paying back college and then law loans).  I'm somewhat without hope at this point.

but I suspect no one wants to hear about people like me....

We are ALL here to help each other.  Would a Life Coach be able to help you find employment?  Keep searching and trying.  Something could break through when you don't expect it.  Do NOT lose hope.  🙂

FREEDOM is a GOOD thing!  Takes a while to "untether" yourself from your full time job - even if you liked it....BUT the reward of Freedom is worth it!  We WORKED for this time, guys!  Even to have the opportunity to go to the gym during the day and take a class.  WOW.....believe me, the people still working full time are envious!

DebbieJ
Superuser

SamMax, the initial anxiety will fade after a month or 2 (maybe a bit more) after you start seeing how you can actually ENJOY the day and breathe after full time work (speaking for myself!).  I retired in 2021 (think of it like Serena Williams just did  - we are EVOLVING not retiring)....becoming the new best version of YOU.  Taking time for you after many years of work and probably caring for others (parents, kids, etc.)  Take a bit of time before worrying about all the things you mentioned so you are not so overwhelmed.  For now, just take some time to enjoy the day, relax, focus on exercise, nutrition, etc.....and smile!  You EARNED this!

Thank you.  I like the Serena Williams take.  I think I am so anxious to be done with these last 4 months and jump into relaxation that it seems forever until it arrives and so much work at work still to be done.  

SarahC261
Member
I hope to retire at 57!!

Yes, I hope that for you too!!!!!!!!!!!!

ClaudiaH1
Member

I am 65 and retired from my law firm on June 30. I am very active, I run, hike and work out, so I have enjoyed having more time to do these things during the day.  I also feel overwhelmed at times, though, with the list of chores and other things that I plan to do.  I think it is good to keep a simple routine, such as getting up/going to bed around the same time, doing my workout and eating breakfast.  I have started to do a few things, coaching Girls on the Run, and I am working at a running store, no more than 10 hours a week. But that is enough for now. I am looking into other activities and volunteer opportunities, but I think the key is to take it slow and develop that new routine over time; don't try to join everything and start everything at once.  Take time to read, watch those shows on TV that you always wanted to see and adjust to this new phase before jumping right in.

thank you! i look forward to those first few days of nothingness or just random things of joy and then settle into a routine like you suggested.  

Agree wholeheartedly!   Hardest part is learning to "take it slow".   Working full time we were used to pushing to get as much done as possible in an eight hour day......it takes time to transition the mind.  Finally having time to work out during the day is a BLESSING!

Blee
Member

I’m not retired but have been on disability the last 6 yrs. It hasn’t been easy but 6 yrs ago I became an empty nester as youngest went to college and a grandma for the first time but also dealing with loss of job and workplace identity all in the same week. It was rough. But now grandkids keep me busy as well as numerous volunteer activities that I enjoy. Working out regularly with my workout buddies definitely is a priority as well. 

Those are a lot of changes at once.  I am proud of you for pushing through those.  I hope to keep my routine of workouts and start some community projects in my neighborhood. Thank you for listening and being part of this forum. 

marymary2
Member

I wish I'd had the option to retire.  I was fired, along with everyone else over 40 and couldn't find steady work for what's supposed to be the most earning years - or at least it would have been for me after paying off my college and law school loans.  Be grateful you all had the option to retire rather than being pushed out and hurt financially for life....

Crankin
Member

Sorry that happened to you.

As far as retirement goes, I left my teaching career at 55. I loved my job and thought I wanted to spend all day exercising. My husband was still working and making good $. I didn't do well, despite having a lot of options. I sent some time in therapy, learning mindfulness, and starting yoga. I had always wanted to be a psychotherapist, so I started researching programs to go back to school for a second master's. I did this while working at a semester's long term sub position at my old school. The next fall I started a 3 year program to become a licensed clinical mental health counselor. I loved school and my internships, but it was a long road. I worked for 8.5 years after that, both at community mental health clinics, where I could choose how much I wanted to work. But, even though I had a good amount of free time I decided to retire at 66. My husband was still working, but decided he would stop about 9 months later. So, I had about 6 months of a lot of fun, leading bike rides and traveling and then Covid hit. This coincided with my husband's retirement. We spent a lot of time hiking, riding, and local traveling. Then we decided to move to Western MA from the greater Boston area. Our good friends had moved out here about 4 years earlier and we realized that after visiting monthly, it fit our lifestyle much better. We bought a house in a new development, moved into an apartment while it was being built and never looked back. But, it's taken a year (mostly because of the pandemic) to find our place. We are still bike trip leaders for the Appalachian Mountain Club and are very active there. I try to plan stuff with friends at least 2-3 days a week and have applied to volunteer in my town. But, I often feel bored. I don't in any way want to go back to work, though, I am just a real extrovert. We are finally planning a big trip to Europe next year for my 70th birthday and we do drive into the Boston area to see our son and granddaughter. Best part? Being able to go out on weekday nights and do other stuff when it is not busy.

Sydney
Member

Just wait until it happens to gauge your comfort level. I was apprehensive for about 3 seconds after retiring. It took my husband a little longer. Plan a fun trip for right after you retire.

trish44
Member

In 2014, I "retired" from the federal government at 61 and had 25 years. Several things pushed me to leave - my back was not good, my mother was 90 and needed help, and my supervisor retired that was my supporter. I really did not plan out the retirement my CPA dad would have advised me on, but I built a small home in my home town. My health declined, and in 2016 I refer to what happened as my "miracle". I was not able to stand more than five minutes, and had pain when I rolled over. I had stem cell treatment directly in my discs and now walk four miles a day. In 2018 I tried to get back on the government, applied for over 100 positions, had 25 interviews and assuming age was a factor since I was at a high level. I always have liked real estate, and last year got my associate broker license, so at almost 70 hoping I can make it to pay off my home (that would be my dad's advice!). I would just say make sure you do have back up for extras that are not planned. Stem cell is not covered by insurance, I had to draw money for my older son who returned to college, etc. When I asked myself what do I want, is this all there is, I wanted to ski and be close to hot springs. So in March this year I moved and have a hot springs membership, ski pass and joined a local broker firm. If money was not a factor, I would never have cared if I worked again! 

Lauren_R
Guide
Guide

What a great thread! It's so important to talk about the difference between expectations and reality with regard to how different moments in our lives feel. There's so much rhetoric around how we "should" be excited for things like retirement, but few people speak openly about how anxiety-provoking and overwhelming it can be to begin a new chapter in life. But of course it does! With all of the unknown, and all of the expectations, it can feel daunting. 

 

When working with people who are overwhelmed, I generally find that they're trying to bite off more than they can chew. So the first step I generally take is to help them break things down into more bite-sized pieces.

 

I wish you well on this new leg of your journey!