I miss the purpose my job gave me

Agony Aunt's picture

Dear Patricia Marie,

I recently retired from a career I'd had for over 20 years. I thoroughly considered this decision and was excited about finally having the time to do the things that the demands of work wouldn't allow. However, 3 weeks later, I think I'm regretting my decision. I miss the purpose my job gave me and the people I used to work with, and actually feel bored at home. Friends in a similar situation to mine tell me they wouldn't cope without their computer for keeping in touch with the world, but I wouldn't even know how to get started. I know that I can't return to work but I'm struggling to move on. Do you have any advice?

Patricia Marie says...

Retirement can and should be an exciting time, bringing leisure and freedom to pursue a multitude of interests, to travel or just to slow down and 'smell the roses’. However, it can often leave a huge void in your life, and the important thing is to fill that emptiness in such a way that you can remain physically fit, mentally agile, and continue to enjoy social interaction with other people. A pet could be the answer, particularly a dog, but if your circumstances prevent this, perhaps you could embark on a hobby, join a gym, or check out local clubs for upcoming activities.

Most importantly, stop being so hard on yourself. Three weeks is no time to adjust, as you are still at the transitional stage from working to taking life easier. Make this time count, and try to focus on what you would like to do next. Consider some voluntary work in the local hospice or charity shop. Hopefully you would then feel a sense of fulfilment by doing something useful, together with resuming a routine you so badly miss, but without the pressure. Do try to grasp technology, it allows you to keep in touch with family and friends all over the world, day and night. Perhaps embark on a beginners course, where you could meet some like-minded friends whilst learning new skills.

Think about all those dreams you envisaged, and had to put off due to work commitments. Be positive and get out and about. When you become a retiree, you can feel like you lose your identity. Buy you still have a contribution to make to life as an older person. If you can learn to enjoy retirement, you could be rewarded with what may be the most meaningful, creative and fruitful time of your life, and have great fun in the process.

I recommend: Retirement Manual by Stuart Turner: The Step-by-Step Guide to a Happy, Healthy, Retirement.

Patricia Marie, our Agony Aunt, wants to hear your problems, dilemmas, and quarrels. Just email them to patricia.marie@lady.co.uk