I always thought my retirement was going to be the best time of my life. After working for nearly 50 years and raising three kids, I was looking forward to a well-earned break and enjoying all the little things I’d missed out on over the years.
I worked as a nurse for 35 years and when that last day finally came I was both relieved and happy. I couldn’t manage being on my feet for eight hours a day anymore and I was tired of the rat race and dealing with all the politics that come along with every work place.
My colleagues threw me a lovely farewell morning tea and waved me off into my new life. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to really start living.
The first couple of months were great, but honestly, since then I’ve really struggled to find my place.
My ex-husband and I divorced years ago so it’s just me at home every day and I’m one of the only people in my friendship group who’s retired so I don’t get to see them too much.
Thankfully two out of my three kids live near-by, but they’ve got their own lives and like most parents I don’t want them to feel like they have to spend every spare moment with me – I would have gone crazy if my mother did that to me when I was younger!
I know people say starting a hobby is a great way to use your time, but I’m not interested in arts and crafts or things like that.
Really, I just feel like I’ve lost my whole sense of purpose. I’ve always been a wife or a mother or a nurse and now all of those things have changed or disappeared completely.
How do people do this? Is there some magic formula to being content in your retirement? I never thought that entering this phase in my life would mean reassessing who I am and what my purpose is on this earth.
I don’t remember my father struggling like this when he finally stopped working in his late-sixties, but maybe he did and I just never thought to ask him.
There are lots of wonderful things about my life and I’m definitely grateful for all that I have, but I don’t think retirees should have to hang up their will to live along with their work boots!
For me, I’m thinking the way around this might be to start volunteering somewhere a couple of days a week. Whether it’s working at a Salvation Army clothes store or delivering Meals on Wheels, I think a good dose of hard work for a few hours a week would make all the difference.
I’m starting to wonder if retiring is less about giving up work all together and more about cutting back and moving into something new to keep you motivated.
Am I crazy or does anyone else feel this way?