Whether you can’t wait to hang up your tools for good or dread the day that you have to finish work, there is no denying that the transition from a career into the more laid back life of a retiree is one of life’s bigger changes.
One woman has revealed her worries about the life change, suggesting that there should be some sort of counselling available for those struggling to adapt, as we have counselling available for other big life stages such as marriage, bereavement and redundancy.
“Is there perhaps a gap in the market here?” she wrote on popular forum site Gransnet. “We have relationship counselling, bereavement counselling, redundancy counselling and all sorts but when you think of it, retirement can be one of those cataclysmic life changes along with parenthood, redundancy, divorce or bereavement.
The unnamed woman goes on to say that, while many people flourish in retirement – juggling their extra time between socialising and spending quality time with their families, including looking after grandchildren – there are many others who do not have the same positive experience.
She added: “The problems of living with the retired OH [other half] come up regularly in threads, the financial implications of retirement too plus GNers [Gransnet] who wonder how they will fill their time.
“But seriously for every person who happily settles back in bed with a second cup of tea on a Monday morning or hits the golf course or is juggling Granny care bookings or plans coffee and lunch with friends, I bet there are just as many who feel rudderless, undervalued, aware of financial constraints, “lost” and frequently depressed with a big or small “D”.”
Before asking others for advice, or to share their biggest dreads about retirement, she added: “The more your career matters to you, possibly even defines you, the harder it can be to face up to being ‘just you’. I can think of three people in my own family who have struggled – and mostly come through it – but it isn’t all golden handshakes, carriage clocks, volunteering in charity shops and an open ended holiday is it?”
Many people responded to the thoughtful post, detailing their own experiences of life as a retiree. One shared her positive experience, writing: “I love being retired. I’ve found that nine out of ten people I speak to are happy to be retired. It is more often men who don’t like being retired than women. I would advise those who soon became bored to go back to work part time or volunteer.”
While another said: “I enjoy being retired or semi-retired – I do a little care work now and then which helps with the finances. It’s great to be able to potter in the house or garden and in the recent hot weather I was glad not to be working full time in that heat. I find plenty to keep me busy and I enjoy going out and about or visiting friends and family. In fact on checking my calendar today I have only one day where I am at home all day for the next ten days and I don’t do charity work, I don’t have time!”
However others expressed personal understanding of the poster’s concerns, admitting they have struggled to adjust to the change in lifestyle and agreeing that they would have benefitted from some form of support.
One user wrote: “I had to retire overnight as my husband became much more poorly. I found it was a relief at first but six months down the line I would say now that I was in a very bad place, I could imagine that some sort of help would have been an enormous relief.”
” I found it a difficult time,” another user admitted. “I’d say it has taken me almost 3 years to adjust to retirement and have a sense of contentment. We had moved area 18 months before I stopped work so no long term contacts or friends. Looking back although that was certainly a factor it was primarily because I loved my work and leaving it left a hole it has taken a while to almost fill.”