Author Topic: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost  (Read 11668 times)

diymark

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3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« on: February 11, 2015, 04:40:03 PM »
Is this normal? After 31 years of a professional career I made the long dreamed departure. The first few days it was just nice to sleep in past my normal 3:45 am alarm. Today just finished my first give back day at habitat for humanity...of course I had to draw the short straw get landscaping day. Whoa! lots of digging. But frankly I still feel empty. I can't seem to get a rhythm. I feel guilty for not getting stuff done. Not having a patterned day. I could use some encouragement and  guidance. What is in store on this retirement transition trail?
Mark

ohana

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2015, 04:53:47 PM »
Not that I have experience retiring, but I'm pretty sure this is common.  You'll find your groove! 

One of my friend's parents once said he was going to "retire to" something rather than "retire from" something.  Sounded brilliant to me!  Good luck.

Cassie

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2015, 05:03:33 PM »
I had the same experience so my solution was p.t. consulting in my profession & teaching 1 class at the univ which is something I have never done before but I love it. I work maybe 10-15 hours/week usually which is perfect.

PowerMustache

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2015, 05:27:29 PM »
3 weeks is not a long time! I am not retired but I have had several major transitions in my life in the past 15 years: going to college in a new city, going to grad school in a new city, living abroad for a year, starting the work routine. In each case, I felt very uncomfortable and lost for months before finding a groove. I needed time to find a new routine and community.  I think it really helps to have a regular schedule of obligations and social events. I imagine it will take even more time and effort to build those in retirement after a 31 year career, but you'll get there!

TN_Steve

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2015, 05:29:04 PM »
This is a recurring theme on the early retirement forums.  Here is one collection of thoughts/musings on the theme:  http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f47/faq-archive-but-what-will-i-do-all-day-30655.html

If you were to post your issue over there, you might get some insightful responses--that board trends older and more retired....  One frequently stated position over there is that it is always best to retire "to" something, rather than "from" something.  Do you have such a goal/plan?

Good luck in coming to terms with the new situation.  DW and I are starting to get short-timers syndrome ourselves, and it is still a bit out for us.

Kris

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2015, 05:33:00 PM »
3 weeks is not a long time! I am not retired but I have had several major transitions in my life in the past 15 years: going to college in a new city, going to grad school in a new city, living abroad for a year, starting the work routine. In each case, I felt very uncomfortable and lost for months before finding a groove. I needed time to find a new routine and community.  I think it really helps to have a regular schedule of obligations and social events. I imagine it will take even more time and effort to build those in retirement after a 31 year career, but you'll get there!

This.

One of the best pieces of advice was given to me by a friend when I had just let go of a situation that was causing me harm and embraced something much more positive.  I was feeling oddly disconcerted, and couldn't figure out why, because I knew I had every reason to be happy.

My friend said, "Every transition, even the best ones, involve a loss.  It's normal to feel unsettled when you lose one way of life in exchange for another."

Let yourself settle in.  Know that you are in the midst of building a new life for yourself.  Be gentle with yourself through the transition.

willow

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2015, 06:02:59 PM »
Is this normal? After 31 years of a professional career I made the long dreamed departure. The first few days it was just nice to sleep in past my normal 3:45 am alarm. Today just finished my first give back day at habitat for humanity...of course I had to draw the short straw get landscaping day. Whoa! lots of digging. But frankly I still feel empty. I can't seem to get a rhythm. I feel guilty for not getting stuff done. Not having a patterned day. I could use some encouragement and  guidance. What is in store on this retirement transition trail?
Mark

Is there a bucket list of things you've always wanted to do? Not necessarily go skydiving but maybe something like, learn to play an instrument? Or learn a 2nd language? Is there another job you'd like to take, full time, part time, that you didn't think you could do when you needed to work for a living? I have an uncle who says he'd love to try and be a UPS truck driver for a while(yes, really). Surely you have some dreams about what you wish you could do while you were working instead.

Eric

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2015, 06:24:07 PM »
Is this normal? After 31 years of a professional career I made the long dreamed departure. The first few days it was just nice to sleep in past my normal 3:45 am alarm. Today just finished my first give back day at habitat for humanity...of course I had to draw the short straw get landscaping day. Whoa! lots of digging. But frankly I still feel empty. I can't seem to get a rhythm. I feel guilty for not getting stuff done. Not having a patterned day. I could use some encouragement and  guidance. What is in store on this retirement transition trail?
Mark

It sounds like your brain is still in work mode and you haven't fully transitioned to retirement mode.  And who could blame you!  It's only been 3 weeks!  A lot of blogs and posts I've read mention that it takes about 6 months to make the full transition.  You're still new to this so of course you don't have everything figured out yet.  Here's a picture of a cat:




Ricky

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2015, 06:57:17 PM »
Lots of good points here - it's not necessarily the retirement part of it but just the transition in general.

I went from working full time to hardly working at all lately to give myself time to study things I need to be studying, lose weight, and start cooking more. I've only just now started one of the three after about a month into it. I've otherwise been depressed and lost as others have said. Is depression normal with big transitions as well? I traveled alone for a week last month and ever since I came back I was even more depressed. The trip was nice, but it was just going so far away alone and thinking I was going to keep doing that was exciting and nerve wracking a the same time.

I'm about to cave and go back working full time at a job I make decent money at but am unfulfilled.

Exflyboy

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2015, 07:12:13 PM »
Well first of all start reading my experience in the link below.

One annecdotal comment I got from a guy I met while fishing (I'd been retired a month).. He said.. "Oh you've been in prison.. you just don't know it yet"..:)

So I think your in the same boat, you've been institutionalised and you don't know how to function on the outside yet.

Id start making a list of all the things you dreamed you'd once you were retired.. then.. start doing some of the smaller ones.. Don't over analyse.. just start doing them.

After I realised I wasn't in prison anymore.. i got asked to do a part time job.. so after 7 months off I went and did it.. I am very happy with the balance now and "work" has taken on a whole new meaning.

Like Cassie's experience Its actually fun and a great balance... Who'd have thought?..:)

Frank

kpd905

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2015, 08:07:54 PM »
If you are missing the structure of the workday, you could choose a few things you want to do and set times to do them.

8-9: Wake up, have coffee
9-10: Walk, hike or bike
10-11: Study spanish
11-12: Make and eat lunch
12-2: Read in hammock
2-5: Volunteer
5-6: Dinner
6-9: Family time, watch a movie

RapmasterD

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2015, 09:07:15 PM »
Such good advice from everyone here. I'm nearly six months in and still feel lost.

The big difference is that I don't want to be "found" just yet. Everything is just fine.

I know I'll add in more structure over time.

As for you, one of the best pieces of advice you've received is to be very gentle with yourself. Lose the expectation, spend time meditating, enjoy and savor the quality moments with family and friends, start a journal where you just reflect on the so-called little things. Walk and move more. Eat better. Laugh more.

You could do that for a full year and it would arguably be among the best life enhancers you could enjoy.

Daisy

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2015, 09:23:10 PM »
I have a t-shirt that says "Not all who wander are lost".

I plan to wear it around the house a lot during my first week of FIRE...while making banana pancakes (reference to Jack Johnson song). :-)

deborah

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2015, 10:04:29 PM »
Before I retired everything I read said that there would be this six month period of transition. Maybe I did it before I retired, because I went through the book "What color is your parachute for retirement" by Richard Bolles (I borrowed it from the library) and worked out what was meaningful for me in it, and my plan for retirement. That said, I have done practically nothing that was in my plan. However, I think it changed my outlook and gave me a foundation so that I wasn't "lost".

Tell us why you wanted to retire. I admit, a lot of mine was a negative motive - I was quite unhappy at work. And that was partly why I looked for books about retirement - although most were useless, as they tend to concentrate on the financial part. Go to your library and get the librarian to suggest a few sections of books that could help.

What are your interests? Before I retired I didn't have much to do with clubs, but I have found that there are a number here (my city keeps a list online of all the different clubs here - and reading through the list and finding some of the strange and whacky things that people do is really eye-opening) - and have joined several - some of which have more goings on every week than a full time job! There are often groups who meet who are into solar power or 3D printing. Would you like to help with the local school, library, museum, gallery, zoo or park - many places have a "friends of ..." who provide guide services and other volunteer services and have a lot of fun with one another. I'm sure there will be at least one of these groups that matches your interests. And the beauty of volunteering is that if you no longer want to do anything, you can just walk away from it.

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2015, 10:20:10 PM »
It takes a bit of time to decompress. I worked at it for over 3 months and opted to work for a bit longer while I work on my RE self. I also wrote in my journal a lot. Leaving 20+ years of intense work is hard to do. Like folks have said - ease into it. It's all normal.

Punxsyboy

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2015, 10:22:39 PM »
Mark,
I FIREd a little over a week ago & definitely feeling a sense of loss.  My job gave me "value" & now I have to find that somewhere outside of my job, or from within.  :) 
So, during this adjustment time, I'm sleeping in but getting a fair number of things done around the house that I've been putting off for a long time....tuned my piano, planted a couple of trees, in process of fixing the garage door, patched the camper roof...etc. ...and playing alot of tennis. :)   I'm trying to keep somewhat busy but not too much so.  I'm also trying to find more friends that have a more relaxed "schedule" like mine has now become.   My advise I guess is also just relax & ease into it.  If I have an epiphany in the next week or so I'll let u know.  :)
Brian

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2015, 11:25:28 PM »
I have a t-shirt that says "Not all who wander are lost".

Nice!  A Tolkien quote!

Another good book that deals with what to do with yourself when you retire is How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free, by Ernie Zelinski.  Not a financial book at all.

Malaysia41

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2015, 12:48:24 AM »
I ERE'ed 6 months ago.  I have two jobs now.

1. Watch the money roll in.
2. Write. 

I'm feeling VERY uninspired to do #2 these days, and, while #1 is nice, one can only do it for so many hours in the day.  :). 

Today my carpe diem bomb failed to fire. Sure I got out - but only to walk the hill with the local ladies group and then bike to the local wet market for dinner supplies.  Then I wrote for the bare minimum time, re-arranged the living room to accommodate our new IKEA sectional, did laundry, did 2015 tax planning, and frittered about on MMM forums.  I'm feeling pretty lame right about now.   Okay okay, I'll get back to writing. I hear you!

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2015, 04:38:15 AM »
Give it time! I was miserable for the first 3 months of unemployment. I thought having a job " defined" me and I was missing part of my identity. After a while I had things to do and even started a blog about what I was passionate . So look around and see if there are thing you could do in your field you love with no definition!

Good luck! I totally miss it not working and now am working even harder to fire :)

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2015, 04:45:32 AM »
Is this normal? After 31 years of a professional career I made the long dreamed departure. The first few days it was just nice to sleep in past my normal 3:45 am alarm. Today just finished my first give back day at habitat for humanity...of course I had to draw the short straw get landscaping day. Whoa! lots of digging. But frankly I still feel empty. I can't seem to get a rhythm. I feel guilty for not getting stuff done. Not having a patterned day. I could use some encouragement and  guidance. What is in store on this retirement transition trail?
Mark

When you were at work, I assume that, like most people, you wished you were someplace else, doing something else?

If so, what did you fantasize about doing, other than your mundane, pointless job.  I'm assuming your job, though you probably thought it was important, was actually pretty meaningless, even if you earned a high salary.  There are some exceptions, jobs that actually matter (e.g. emergency room physician), but they are pretty rare.

Geez, for me it was easy.  Almost anything was more interesting than my job (army officer, then engineer- basically, a corporate drone). 

This ain't hard, unless you are one of those people for whom your job was you life and your identity (for those poor souls, I have no answer, other than perhaps extensive professional therapy?).

Work at the local no kill animal shelter, take a college course (or 5), read a hundred books, take up a sport/hobby, exercise, get a mistress, get involved in politics, monitor your investments, travel, binge watch "The Sopranos."  My God, it's like shooting ducks in a barrel.  For me, the question wasn't "what can I do that's as rewarding as work," it was "is there anything less fun/interesting than my job?"  I did come up with a couple of ideas that sucked more than work- e.g. root canal surgery, slamming my head into a wall for hours at a time.  Check that, actually, slamming my head into a wall would be about as interesting/productive as working.

Forget about the XYZ account at Van Delay Industries.  You are more than a corporate drone.  You've been beaten down for so long, you've forgotten how to have fun.  Go out and do SOMETHING.  It will probably be more interesting than you job, if you let the corporate bull crap go.

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2015, 05:55:05 AM »
I will admit to a complete failure of empathy here, and other threads like this have come up. My "retirement" is pretty much my dream job: SAHP combined with urban homesteading.

I put retirement in quotes because while I no long am paid to work, we are not FI. Once we are FI, we plan to decamp and get enough acreage to do true homesteading.

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2015, 08:28:46 AM »
Some folks just need more structure to their days--that's not good or bad, just a function of personality. I actually do better with a little structure to my free time myself...I like knowing what days I will be doing certain chores, or attending various commitments. A schedule that you plan yourself is very different than when the Man plans it for you! Perhaps try loosely planning a daily and weekly schedule...you don't have to keep it any longer than it works for you.

Also, I am always happiest when I have a big goal or project...enjoy that most at work too. Is there something really big you would like to do, that will require some planning or preparation (huge trip, run a marathon, learn a language, etc)?

Gone Fishing

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2015, 09:06:16 AM »
As others have said, it is still early.  Are you at home alone during the day?  If so, this might be a source of unrest.  If this is the case, start looking for someone to spend some quality time with.

mandy_2002

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2015, 11:22:39 AM »
I checked out a bunch of books from the library on retirement.  One of them wasn't a good fit for me ("early retirement" to them was 55, and I'm 31 planning for 35), but it may be a good one in your situation:  The retirement maze : what you should know before and after you retire by Rob Pascale.
Obviously the before part is a little late, but the book seemed well written, but lacked any specific financial information.  It mentioned several times about feeling lost after a life of servitude, and ways to work around this.  I agree with those above, your still in the adjustment phase; the next act of your life will be important for an entirely different group of people.

arebelspy

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2015, 02:51:50 PM »
Another good book that deals with what to do with yourself when you retire is How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free, by Ernie Zelinski.  Not a financial book at all.

+1.  I'm a big fan of his "get a life tree" exercise.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

diymark

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2015, 06:03:59 PM »
Thanks for all the great support! I realize I'm being silly for bringing it up so early on the journey. Still, it was good to hear it from others as well. I've always had retirement in the forefront of my mind. It was a bit of a marathon for me. Especially the last 3 years or so. I know the types that are still at the office because they have nothing else in their lives other than work. That was never me. I have had a list about the things I want to do hanging in my dressing closet for the last 2 years or so. Everything from hike the Pacific Crest Trail to start a small business to refinish the bathroom vanity. But I guess I was surprised how empty I've been feeling for the down time. My wife came home and asked "How was your day?" and I found it difficult to respond with non-accomplishment things. I have felt I must measure my well-being with a list of things I got done. I'm still focused on the next destination...getting that business up an running, feeling fluent in Spanish, or finishing the leaky camper roof. The next destination has been to reach retirement for so long it is hard to focus on what should be next (volunteer for Habitat was one of them). My wife maybe provided me perhaps the best insight when she told me that I should try and be happy with the current state rather than focusing on what I need to reach the next state. She really is something, eh? For so long it has been drilled into my brain to reach the next rung of the ladder....get the product to the customer, get the funding for the next project, get a promotion, get the kitchen remodeled, or whatever. I am trying to take a breath and let it out slowly. Let the 'next' come to me rather than chasing it. But it was something I did not anticipate. It helps knowing I have this group to tap when I feel a bit lost. Thanks.
Mark

deborah

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2015, 07:21:20 PM »
Sounds like you have a lot of de-stressing and unwinding to do!

Also, it is difficult when your SO is still working. With us, my SO retired first. I would come home at night, and it looked like he had done nothing. Then I would remind myself that he was retired, so it was OK for him to do nothing. And anyway, he probably HAD done something, just nothing that was visible to me. And why did everything (or anything) need to be visible to me?

I never said any of these thoughts, and I would like to think that I never let on that I thought them, especially how often I thought them. But maybe he also thought when I got home - "gosh, here she is. what have I achieved today - nothing again"!

Maybe think about the task from your list that you feel most like achieving now - this month. Only one. Break it into the smallest possible steps. See how you go with it. Try to make it a task where you need to interact with people and get out of the house a bit. Maybe it is building a hammock in the back yard to relax!

lifejoy

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2015, 08:25:21 PM »
I'm not retired, but I do have these nice pictures from tumblr :)

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2015, 09:18:13 PM »
I'm on my fourth day, and I just told my partner: Well, that was, what four days now... You know, I think I'm going to look into medical marijuana and cable TV.

tracylayton

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #29 on: February 13, 2015, 07:20:02 AM »
OP, I could have written your post last January. It took me 6 months to get used to retirement and then I really started to enjoy it. Then my husband left me in August, and I didn't have someone to hang out with all day. Even though I could still afford to stay in retirement, I went back part-time (about 10 to 15 hrs/week) in real estate in November. I actually feel like I found the perfect balance for my life. I don't even plan on commission checks in my budget, so they're just bonuses that pop up every so often. My advice is to give it 6 months before doing anything rash...like going back to work. Good luck!!!

Annamal

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #30 on: February 13, 2015, 04:54:11 PM »
Not FI but have you thought of doing a long (like multi-week) trail walk or bike ride?

I know it comes out of left field but a lot of fellow walkers on the trail I walked had reached crossroads in their lives (death of a relative,divorce, recovery from an illness,  loss of a job or even retirement).

I won't say they necessarily found answers but I do know that shrinking their lives down to a pack and the path gave them a lot of space to put their lives in perspective, sort of like an elimination diet but for the way they lived.

kathrynd

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #31 on: February 13, 2015, 09:25:33 PM »
Having retired 4 1/2 yrs ago (at age 50) I can tell you, I felt guilty for not working, for at least a month.


We had decided to travel and left the country for about 8 months, so for that first  month, we were getting our apt ready to rent out (furnished)and preparing our new property supers (we have rentals) to take over while we were gone.

Travelling around and house sitting gave us other things to concentrate on.
When we returned home, we gave our property supers the summer off, and started looking after our rentals again, which can be a full time business....then we were off again for 8 months...and the cycle keeps repeating.

When home, we also provide foster care to momma cats and their kittens, until they ready for their forever homes.. (SPCA) which gives us endless enjoyment.

Maybe find a hobby you like..if it provides a bit of income, bonus.
Picking up stuff on clean up day, and repairing them...or selling as scrap


Malaysia41

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #32 on: February 17, 2015, 05:04:30 PM »
My biggest weakness in ER is this friggin forum.



MrsPete

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Re: 3rd week of retirement and I'm feeling lost
« Reply #33 on: February 17, 2015, 06:10:44 PM »
I don't know if this is the same, but as a teacher I tend to feel a bit "lost" the first week of every summer.  It doesn't feel quite right not to be getting up and going to work -- but it passes quickly, and I'm more productive once it does.