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Retirement and mental health

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Retirement and mental health

Old 03-05-22, 05:26 AM
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TiHabanero
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Retirement and mental health

I have not retired from the work world, however this past fall I did retire from responsibility. I quit working in a high stress environment and took a zero stress job parking cars 40 hours a week. I work by myself all day and don't have to answer to anyone other than me. There are zero demands on my time and my brain. The big deal is that I no longer work 6 days a week as I have done for the past 40 years, and only work 5 days straight with two day weekends off.
An odd thing has popped up and I am wondering if those on this forum that are retired have experienced something similar. During the day I have my time to myself and the same goes after work and on weekends. I no longer do research into latest trends in tech or management so I have a lot of time to think and reflect. The past two weeks I have been giving thought to my past and some of the life shaping events that occurred and how I so desperately want to go back in time and change my reactions and the things I said. In a way, rewrite the chapters.
Sometimes it feels like I regret what happened, other times it is a desire for a different outcome. Its as if now that my mind is not preoccupied with work, it is reliving the past. Have others gone through this?
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Old 03-05-22, 05:34 AM
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Might just be best to focus on the Present.
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Old 03-05-22, 07:59 AM
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The past is the past. I reflected on the past when I retired. LOTS of things I would have done differently. But you can't go back and relive what has already been done. If you do reflect on your past, try to reflect on the most pleasant and positive things, ignoring regrets or failures. Or, live in the present, and hopefully you've learned from your past what not to repeat, and if your lifestyle was less than what it should have been, live better! I would think that reflection is normal, and I doubt any (or many) of us led a "perfect" lifestyle. Have fun in retirement. You've got the rest of your life ahead of you. Make the best of it.
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Old 03-05-22, 08:41 AM
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Well, you typically cannot earn as much parking cars as you would working a "real" job, so sometimes you just suffer for the money. I just this week filed paperwork to retire, but I've a liberal leave policy so get paid for 7 months. Then and in theory, I've enough pension and SS to earn more per month retired then when working and that was a big reason to leave - why work when I make more money retired ?. I will not be parking cars in retirement,
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Old 03-05-22, 09:25 AM
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Juan Foote
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You pretty much described the way my mind works every night after I wake up at 4AM and until it's time to actually get up.
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Old 03-05-22, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
...I so desperately want to go back in time and change my reactions and the things I said. In a way, rewrite the chapters.
I am not being flip...join a writing class. And if you have a lot of freedom on the job, you may be able to write during the idle times.

Twelve years ago I was injured and off the bike for a year during a time of great uncertainty and sorrow in my life. I stumbled into an improvisational theater troupe, which is basically team story telling, and actually acting out different roles in different scenarios. I learned a lot about myself, and I learned how to discover themes and details to hold onto as the narrative changes, and how to let go of others that are no longer needed, although they often pop up again.

And especially with improv this is done with the audience not only in mind, but right in front of you, so everything is done with a mindfulness towards levity, or at least with the impetus to have things make sense.

Later, when other crises arose I found I remained more clear-headed, and was able to easily consider multiple potential outcomes in my head without panicking or focusing on only the worst or the most negative.

Even if you don't try improv, or join a writing class, just writing down your thoughts on paper, or on a device, will help you see them and consider them in a reflective way that merely running them through your head will not.

And of course bicycling is a tremendous help for mental well-being. I have found that when unpleasant thoughts swirl and swarm I can just pedal harder until it's all physical.
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Old 03-05-22, 10:29 AM
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I have regrets and guilt over things I've done in the past, especially in regards to raising my son. I find relief in endeavoring to be the best person I can be in the present in my relationship with him and all the other people I encounter in my life.
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Old 03-05-22, 11:08 AM
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I'm within a year of retirement and don't think I'll have any issues with mental health. First two jobs I had were ended with layoffs due to a sudden plant closure and a sudden bankruptcy, so I've always seen jobs as just 'my assignment for today, it may change tomorrow'. I never let myself get too connected to the companies or people where I work, and rarely discuss anything unique I do outside of work. When I retire I'll easily be able to leave it all in the past, don't see that I'll have any regrets, most of the major accomplishments I've had in life have been things I wanted to do outside of the work environment, and I hope to accomplish some more personal goals in retirement. As the Jack Kerouac quote goes:

Because in the end you won't remember the time spent working in the office or mowing your lawn, go climb that $%#&@% mountain.
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Old 03-05-22, 12:20 PM
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BobbyG, thanks for the suggestions. Long ago I was deep into writing. Perhaps a journal makes sense. Gotta do something with my head! I have not retired as in stop working, just simply retired from a job that consumes me with responsibilities. Cannot yet imagine having every day off to do what I want. My head needs more structure than that as I have to have a purpose for getting out of bed every morning and reporting to "work" provides that purpose and structure.
Journaling sounds quite right.
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Old 03-05-22, 12:45 PM
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I have retired, got divorced, sold the Cape home, bought the Florida home, changed my Mass. affiliations to my new Florida home! I have no master. No adult supervision. No time constraints. No weather related constraints. I have multiple spaces that are whatever they need to be at that moment! I’m often alone but seldom lonely! I practice “Hi-solation! I walk by, other residents walk, bike, or golf cart by…we wave and keep going by unless invited to a short visit…I live in a restricted neighborhood: over 55, gated, conservative HOA… There are quite a few fun, low energy activities here and being in Florida, you are never at a loss of activity to suit you! In and out of your comfort zone! These zones change as you grow into your retirement! The only person or situation inflicting a sense of urgency on you or a task is you!
And yes you do wake up at odd hours, day, night, afternoon…my cat, Max has the same schedule as I do and will visit several times a night! We may still be in our honeymoon stage! I wake him up every time I pass one of his spaces…lots of grunts and groans! Not always receptive to my affections! My work, my business, my pass time is reflection. Everything I do now is for me! Nobody else is responsible for me! Just the act of living keeps me occupied! You eat, you must shop! You cook, you clean! Personal grooming and hygiene!Laundry! You get the idea! I am solely responsible for the logistics of those activities! Every daily activity is a process…easily figured out and mastered! Maybe your way wasn’t always the best way! Maybe you still do it that way anyhow! It works! For you!
It takes a while to come to grips with the enormity of you life now! The doors are open…nothing but an open, constantly growing field to manicure as you see fit as you walk through it! It, the same as life, needs constant attention! It becomes your way of life as the farmer who must constantly tend to his crops to live…carve out time to be with yourself…confront those regrets, disappointments and supposed shortcomings…or read a book, draw, or just hangout with yourself! I was never one that needed to be entertained…maybe entertaining…I just laughed out loud! That, and pangs of happiness can be indications of you well being…your progress as you move along…like the alcoholic who finally figures it out and wants to share his feelings with everyone or that someone. Sometimes there is just yourself! You will become content with this arrangement between you and your inner self…it’s like bicycles, bicycling…if you have to explain…today’s word is: cathartic…

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Old 03-07-22, 05:08 AM
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Started a journal this weekend. Amazing how much time is spent putting down one's thoughts. I even took the guitar out of storage and played for an hour. It has been many years since I played last. My finger tips hurt. Journaling just may be the ticket to freeing the mind. Thanks to all of you, especially BobbyG.
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Old 03-08-22, 03:10 AM
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That's not unusual. A longtime friend finally retired at around age 75 after decades of teaching and various seasonal side jobs and volunteer work. It was really hard on her and after a couple of years she resumed doing some volunteer work.

My dad died soon after retiring from the university where he'd spent a career, also around age 75, although in his case it was a relapse of prostate cancer. Still, prostate cancer is generally well controlled with good health care, and his had been under control for more than a decade. He seemed to prefer working and I wondered whether retiring hastened his demise by depriving him of something that had been a huge part of his life for decades. He loved to talk about work, especially the Machiavellian machinations of big university politics, and enjoyed his role as a sort of Sir Humphrey (if you've watched the Britcom "Yes, Minister," that role played by Nigel Hawthorne was the English version of my dad).

I was forced to retire early on disability after being hit by cars twice in less than 20 years, with serious neck, back and shoulder injuries, compounded by cancer. It was a bit of a shock at first but, TBH, I enjoy it now and have little desire to resume even part-time work. Although I'd need to find some form of self-employment, as I doubt I could find a part-time job that could accommodate me.

I even had to give up cycling last autumn after neck pain from old injuries became too much (along with COVID-like symptoms that persisted for months, despite the vaccines). That was frustrating for awhile. But I switched to running on good days, jogging on not so good days, and walking when nothing else worked. So I'm still reasonably physically active, getting out of the house, into the sunlight when it's around, eating well, etc.

Yeah, there's a temptation to dwell on the past. Been there. But whenever I do mull over the possibilities and complicated alternate outcomes, I realize there's almost nothing I'd want to relive or try to "get right" a second time. If I'm brutally honest with myself, most things that didn't turn out well were because I was an idiot. There's no guarantee that given a second chance I wouldn't be the same idiot, or worse. Possibly the only action I might consider for a do-over would be my first marriage. I doubt there would be any harm in skipping that huge mistake if I had a chance at a mulligan.
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Old 03-08-22, 07:13 AM
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Recapitulation of the past is extremely valuable. Everything we have done is an experience from which to learn and use going forward. Live in the present and use the lessons of the past to guide you.
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Old 03-08-22, 07:44 AM
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Guess I'm just not cerebral enough for retirement to have caused any issues be they psychologically or physically, but then I was always a slacker when it came to work and *life, itself.* Always caught in the *cosmic drift*
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Old 03-09-22, 07:09 AM
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Tihabareno I’ve never thought much about it until reading your post. My mind and thoughts certainly wander but I’m guessing I’m focused more on today and tomorrow. I tend to do a lot of projects, big and small, so I’m concentrating more on what’s next. When I was working I pretty much had a prioritized list of activities to be done every day. Of course the list changed during the day as things would come up. I guess that habit has continued on in retirement but with less urgency to get things done. I do reflect on the past but avoid dwelling on things I can’t do anything about.
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Old 03-09-22, 12:04 PM
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never leave the dream job for the girl of your dreams
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Old 03-15-22, 08:22 PM
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Keep playing your guitar, write some little tunes, and join a band! (late bloomer here, no retirement for me). 67, and still practicing dentistry, and guitar! https://imgur.com/hti47pP
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Old 03-15-22, 09:05 PM
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Have you considered therapy? You have experienced a big change in your life. Having someone to talk about those changes with may help you process the changes. While I haven't retired either, in the last few years there have been changes at my job which has basically made me "lower the bar" as as far as how I view responsibility. Not my circus, not my monkeys is a hard adjustment to make.
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Old 03-17-22, 10:10 AM
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Good to hear you are playing the guitar again. I've been playing off and on for over 50 years, except for the last 15. That is when I discovered the ukulele.

For most people it is merely a toy, but once I realized the tuning was relationally the same as the guitar, and I could do stretches and play things I never dreamed of on the guitar, I never looked back. It is obviously not for everyone, but the sound is so mentally uplifting. That is what hooked me.

Jake Shimabukuro inspired me, although I am not remotely close to his ability. A guy named Kalei Gamiao is also great. While this may be heading OT, here is a clip of his playing on a $10K ukulele.


John
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Old 03-19-22, 02:09 PM
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I have always been bat**** crazy so it’s doesn’t matter. LOL.
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Old 03-19-22, 02:54 PM
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A life review is normal as we exit middle adulthood and enter into early late adulthood.
I have a few regrets but those ships have long sailed and I can only live in the here and now and make better choices today.

My last job was also very high stress working 70+hours per week, being on call 247 and working for a company that used its employees to enable a dysfunctional system rather than being solution focused. All took a toll on my health so I finally walked away because of burnout.

My greatest concerns now is enjoying my relationships I do have, and to be present and helpful to those I was too busy for before when married to my jobs/career.

It has also been great to be able to ride again without having to return phone calls or emails midride.
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Old 03-19-22, 03:57 PM
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I personally never run out of projects. I retired in 2004 after 32 years of service but have still continued to work part time treating patients till Covid hit. It's a good way to keep up skills and teach others.

Really I wonder how I had the time to do the things I did when working full time.

If you are happy where you are at that's just fine. Maybe you need a zero job. Possibly to decompress or even self punishment in reminiscing the past. It "Max No Difference".

Just also be aware that if you have not filed or actually done complete retirement your lower income can effect your calculated retirement benefit on many programs. For instance many programs average your last 10 years average income to calculate your future return. In some cases a zero job could drastically reduce your future retirement income.

Of course I am sure you already know this...
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Old 03-19-22, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by CAT7RDR View Post
...My last job was also very high stress working 70+hours per week, being on call 247 and working for a company that used its employees to enable a dysfunctional system rather than being solution focused...
Rats!!! CAT7RDR I did not even think about this till ya posted it. Even though we may look back and say... "Best job I ever had..."

Bravo for surviving like many of us have done... It's great to be retired!

Ok... The Boss just put a few more things for me to do on her list... Oh Well...
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Old 03-19-22, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Juan Foote View Post
You pretty much described the way my mind works every night after I wake up at 4AM and until it's time to actually get up.
I wake up two hours before you, which allows for a present-time existential crisis, and massive sleep deprivation while on the job.
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Old 03-19-22, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
never leave the dream job for the girl of your dreams
Never drag the girl of your dreams to what you perceive to be the dream job.
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