adjusting to retirement

dirtgirldiana1September 23, 2008

Hi...I usually hang out on the gardening forums but thought I'd pop in here since I've recently retired...anyway..

My employer was doing layoffs this past May. Word was my co-worker was going to be let go. He was a good friend and had a family to take care of, so I stepped forward and offered to be let go instead of him. So, after working over 30 years through the state I was able to retire at 50.

One of the things I find myself missing is hearing someone compliment me. IÂve always been a hard worker and was often told how much my work was appreciated. (They werenÂt happy that I volunteered to go) My co-workers and I often gave each other compliments. I donÂt mean to sound egotistical but itÂs nice to hear someone tell you that you look nice today or notice a different hairstyle.

My husband and I have a pretty good relationship but he is a little short on giving compliments.

I have a lot of things I need to be doing. Like, getting my house organized and pulling the weeds out of my garden. I feel as though IÂm in a rut. IÂm thrilled that my life belongs to me now and not to my job. I have no desire to go back to working. Is there an adjustment period on not having to go to a job but to make yourself work for yourself?


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I just retired after 33 years as a teacher in the public schools. So I kind of know where you are coming from.

I can't say that I miss the work place because I don't. I do miss the banter and fun I had with the kids, but not all the other stuff and garbage that goes on. Unfortunately, you do not get a lot of compliments as a teacher, but you do get a ton of complaints and a lot of "you should do it this way" stuff.

As far as the "rut" goes, I try to vary my schedule every day. Obviously some things are the same, clean out the dishwasher, plan and cook dinner and other necessary household stuff. However, I make a list every morning of things I need to do or want to do. Some days I'm busy from the moment I awake until 9 or 10 at night. Other days, I work on this or that, do a little recreational reading or work on a hobby. My "hobby" is playing the various instruments I own. This is also an extension of my professional life since I spent my 33 years as a band director. However, I still derive a lot of pleasure from playing just for my own benefit. I may get back to playing professionally, but I have time to decide.

I don't know if there is an adjustment period or not and I don't worry about it. I take each day as it comes.

Hope this gives you a little help.

Enjoy the journey.
eal51 in western CT

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 5:59PM
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How about doing some volunteer work?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 2:37PM
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I think anytime we make a change, especially like retiring, it calls for an adjustment period. Sephia's advice about doing volunteer work would help you stay in contact with others and get the appreciation you need.

When we moved to this town several years ago, I began part-time work. After a few years I stopped that (what a blessing that was, I was fully rested and able to help care for my mother who had a stroke, mostly recovered but fearful of living alone so moved in with us)

Now, I spend much of my time painting. I found that a schedule works best for me after working for so many years. Monday I clean house, Thursday I grocery shop and run errands. That leaves, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday to teach, relax and read, volunteer, or meet a friend for lunch. So if I volunteer on Wed, I know I can be available every Wed.


    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 10:57AM
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Hi dirtgirldiana,

Don't sweat it - just relax, do what you feel like, unwind.

Get used to your new life.

And, as the former teacher/band director now playing for himself - with some professional stuff, maybe, in future, said ...

... enjoy the journey.

Go to the bathroom, look in the mirror (or, any nearby mirror'll do).

Do you like the person that you see there?

Give yourself a good, hard look.


Give yourself a wink.

Tell yourself, light-heartedly, that you're a really worthwhile person.

Believe it.

Maybe spend some time with the women's movement, learning to reaffirm self-worth.

Also ...

... how about sitting down with hubby, sometime when he's in a good mood, rather light-heartedly saying that you're woindering whether to get supper tonight ...

... and if he asks what's going on, to suggest that you wonder whether he notices ...

... as it's been something like 2.5 years since he had anything positive to say about it.

Not heavy-handedly, please.

Often we can convey a message light-heartedly that comes over much differently if we get stern about it. And, usually, less effectively.

Have you expressed appreciation to him for things that he's done which pleased you?

Have you been making some contacts among others who are available? Making some friends? Coffee-friends .. fun-friends ... doing stuff friends.

My ex-, who'd been head of food service in a substantial (psych) hosp. for about 20 years, retired about 10 years early, when there was discussion of closing her hosp. or a similar one, a few miles away ... and had 10 years to have a ball, pursuing hobbies, spending time with friends, some volunteer work, travelling FL - TX from Dec. - Mar. (and over to AZ, when our daughter lived there).

Ironically, she, who'd fed millions, got colon cancer ...

... died at 66, and the kids said that, in the ordinary course of things, that she'd have retired the year before.

And I added that she'd have been sick for most of that.

Enjoy your new-found freedom!

Use some of it to help build a happier community/nation/world, please.

Good wishes as you set out on this great, new journey.

Remember - when you're retired ...

... every day is holiday!

ole joyful

    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 8:47AM
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Get into a daily/weekly routine that's comfortable for you. That will fill your time. Take a look at Elderhostel. It's a wonderful organization that offers guided tours that are educational and interesting. They have tours to just about everywhere in the US and all over the world. Their prices vary, but many of them are very reasonable. If you are near a college campus, find out if they have programs for seniors. Many do. Try to get out of the house once a month or so, even if it's just for a long weekend -- actually in the middle of the week is often better because it's less crowded and cheaper. Expect that there will be times when you miss some of the things you enjoyed at work -- the relationships, the challenges, the stimulation. Substitute new things. Take your time. Experiment. Most of all, enjoy yourself.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 10:00PM
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Learn a new hobby. Check for volunteers needed. Check to see if your area does day trips, or even 2=3 day trips. Good way to get to see things that a single person cannot get to see. Travel if possible. New hair style. Take a fun course at the adult school or college. Meet every so often with friends for lunch (each pay their own way) and take turns bringing a friend. I am so busy now, I threaten to go back to work to get something done. Especially since I moved.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2008 at 9:55PM
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I retired from a part-time job at a local college and didn't miss it a bit. Even though I loved my job and the people I worked with.

I became a Master Gardener and also volunteer at my church. I never had a daily planner until I retired! I used to hear people say they were busier when they retired than when they worked and now I know what they meant.

I love being able to just up and go whenever my husband and I want to. The MG's also take field trips to professional gardens in the area which I enjoy very much.

You'll find a schedule and acclimate to it easily.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2008 at 6:20PM
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