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Retirement and loss of purpose

(19 Posts)
lippyqueen Wed 21-Aug-19 15:12:59

Hello everyone, I retired from a busy job 18 months ago. At first I was very happy to be at home but as time has gone on I am feeling a lack of purpose/contentment. I am not particularly short of things to do, I look after grandchildren, gardening, dog walking and tryto keep fit. I was learning to play golf but have an injured shoulder so have had to stop. I also have an elderly mother in a care home at present as she has motor neurone disease and had a fall out of her wheelchair and fractured her cervical spine. She is still hoping to go home when the fracture has healed. I do most of the organising of her care.
I am 63 and married and when I write it all down as above, I can see that that there is a lot going on and maybe I should give myself some “slack”. I have always been used to being busy all the time and now feel a bit lost. I have also applied to do some volunteering at the local hospital. To be honest I am not sure what I am looking for, perhaps it is an age thing and I cannot accept I am getting older. I have to say that seeing my mother in this dreadful state upsets and worries me immensely. Does anyone else feel similar?

sodapop Wed 21-Aug-19 17:07:35

Sounds like your life is busy lippyqueen I'm sorry to hear your mother is suffering from MND its a horrible illness.
Retirement does not mean you have to fill every moment with meaningful activity. Relax and take time to smell the roses. Read some of the books you didn't have time for when you were working, but above all have time for yourself you deserve it.

kittylester Wed 21-Aug-19 17:44:04

I'm going in the opposite direction from soda. Is there a volunteering role that really appeals to you?

My volunteering is hard work but it is mine and I get to meet lots of different people. Maybe you could do something just for you.

Fennel Wed 21-Aug-19 17:53:08

I agree with Kitty. I changed from a full time very demanding job to retirement when I was in my late 50s. I found the transition easier because there were many voluntary jobs I could do, related to my previous work.
The main thing I missed, though, was the social contact with my work colleagues.
That's another subject.

GracesGranMK3 Wed 21-Aug-19 18:21:49

You are doing a lot for others lippyqueen but not really anything for yourself. I think the golf may have done that but you might have to have played less in the winter anyway. Is there anything you have always wanted to do? If you can do something and make it pretty immovable so other things have to fit round it you might feel a bit more in control again.

GuestCorrectly Wed 21-Aug-19 18:22:45

I’ve been exploring that strange place called retirement for 5 years now and would only say it does take time to work out how to get fulfilment from it, once the honeymoon period is over.
I too do voluntary work and pursue hobbies I had let drift whilst working.
Primarily though, I have set myself a series of challenges (I don’t like the bucket list phenomenon), beginning with getting fit for which I joined a gym and took up exercise classes I’d never have thought possible including weight lifting and ballet barre as well as Zumba, Pilates, Yoga and others. It’s now become a daily habit and something of a social event.
I have challenged myself and family to live more simply and sustainably - reducing, reusing, recycling and repairing as well as growing our own in the garden using organic methods.
I have challenged myself to: walk an increasing distance every week for a year; read a book a week; visit 52 new places in a year; visit an art exhibition every week; visit a garden every month etc.. ( not all at the same time).
Although we do travel, an elderly Mum restricts us, so instead we regularly take a day’s holiday locally, camera over the shoulder and look at our neighbourhood through the eyes of strangers.

Septimia Wed 21-Aug-19 18:31:23

I have lots of things to do, it's the discipline needed to get them done that's the problem. It's all too easy to let things drift and DH doesn't help much with getting on with things as he's inclined to let them drift too. It's the lack of routine, I think., although we do try to have one.

BlueBelle Wed 21-Aug-19 18:36:12

I hate retirement so I m with Kitty I volunteer for lots of work that fulfils me, gives me a purpose, gets me up in the morning, and gives me satisfaction, only thing it doesn’t give me is any money but who cares

Day6 Wed 21-Aug-19 18:57:29

I have retired friends who seem to need to have a plan for every single day, whereas I view a week with little pencilled in on the calendar as a real treat!

The loss of purpose feeling takes a while to get used to, (oh the guilt that you could be achieving so much more!) but the lovely thing about retirement is , you can be as busy or as idle as you please. Never in my adult working life and role as a single parent have I had the luxury of idleness - so I absolutely relish it in retirement. Time which you enjoy wasting is never wasted time as far as I am concerned. But we are all different.

Looking at your OP lippyqueen it seems you have quite a lot going on in your life - you look after your grandchildren, dog, you walk, garden, keep fit and have the care of your mother to see to. You write that you lack contentment.

It's difficult to advise you because we all find contentment in different ways. It could be that you (like I did at first) feel as though you still have more to give, that you are not 'used up' yet, in terms of energy and giving, being needed? It could just be that you haven't yet fully adjusted to being your own boss now, maybe. You don't have to be always busy any longer, and you can pick and choose to a certain extent how you spend your days. You do sound quite busy though.

I can only say, enjoy that morning coffee, the crossword, the lazy lunch, the times you can decide to do something, or nothing. If you have your health and strength all the better. Perhaps you need to join things so you have classes or activities to look forward to that get you out of the house, somewhere different and challenge you?

I do hope you find contentment soon, although your mother having MND must be a worry and a sadness. It could be that which is a sticking point.

eGJ Wed 21-Aug-19 19:07:11

Have you a U3A in your locality? They could offer a new range of activities and social contact and perhaps a new range of interests. YOU might offer something to them! U3A involves peer to peer learning so everyone can contribute and everyone benefits. Good fortune in your pursuit😊

M0nica Wed 21-Aug-19 19:42:11

Sign up for a course that is really intellectually challenging; learn a language, or study a science.

I was hurled into early retirement in my early 50s and promptly went back to university for a year to do an MA in a subject I had been dabbling in for years. When I came back I went for a voluntary job that used all my work skills in a different setting, I even ended up doing maternity cover for my manager (paid).

When you retire it is easy to drift into activities, because they are just vaguely interesting, but you need to approach retirement the way you would work to make sure that you launch yourself into a really enjoyable retirement.

lippyqueen Wed 21-Aug-19 19:54:45

Thank you everyone. Yes, Day6 I think you have hit the nail on the head it looks s that you feel I have more to give and have not yet adjusted. MOnica perhaps a course would be a good idea, a language, maybe French s appealing. GuestCorrectly it seems as though you have certainly sorted out your retirement. When we are going on holiday or a day out I love the freedom, it is the in between times. I will do some exploring!

quizqueen Wed 21-Aug-19 20:04:52

I returned to working on a casual basis after I retired. As well as helping out with the grandchildren, I also wanted some new interests so applied myself into sorting out my large neglected garden and getting heavily involved in local and national politics for five years but I have pulled back from that a bit now....unless I need to get involved again on the 1st November.

Mbuya Fri 20-Mar-20 08:49:31

I agree that one needs to have some time to smell the roses. My approach was to sign up for a number of activities including volunteering and studying. Then I slowly eliminated those I was beginning to feel were no longer fun, but hard work to sustain. I now do some volunteering and am conscious that I need to give my best effort.

Greymar Fri 20-Mar-20 08:55:22

No point signing up for anything now? Its all shut

yggdrasil Fri 20-Mar-20 09:58:17

I got involved with the U3A and have been more busy than ever. Until this week. Though there are still emails :-)

morethan2 Fri 20-Mar-20 10:14:34

Every time I feel the same as you I remember how stressed I was at work and say to myself retirement is better than work. I know that’s not very helpful to you. I think any major life transition is a little difficult. I hope you find something you find fulfilling and enjoy your well deserved retirement.

DeeQ Fri 12-Jun-20 22:33:00

Yes its getting the balance right, I'm working part time, and was minding grandchildren until became sick and have an elderly mum who is unwell. \however I took up a voluntary role and love the new outlet it gives me. Hubby is at home retired due to ill health and spends most of time watching TV which I hate. Thank goodness for books smile

Ellianne Fri 12-Jun-20 22:39:31

It might almost be beneficial for everyone to attend a short course on how to retire happily. It is a huge jump both physically and mentally, and some helpful pointers might make it easier for people about to enter this new phase.