1. People & Relationships

I'm Retired...and Bored

What happens when a retired man misses his job?

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Q: I expected to feel great after I retired last year, but most days I’m just miserable. I miss my work, and it turns out that most of my friends were people I knew through my job so I don’t see them much anymore. My wife tells me to relax and enjoy our new retired life together, but I just can’t seem to do it. What’s wrong with me?

Leo, Traverse City, MI

A: It’s interesting that while we’re working we dream of having time off, but when we are retired we miss the work!

For many working people, a job fills the largest percentage of their waking time, and coworkers become an important part of their community. It’s normal for a retired person to feel a sense of loss and displacement when a significant portion of your identity goes away.

Loss of work can leave a big void for many retired people, especially men.

One way to address this problem is to find new “work”, whether paid or unpaid.

Have you thought about taking the skills you used in your work life and sharing them with others now that you are retired?

  • If you’re good at building things, consider volunteering with Habitat for Humanity or another community organization.
  • If math is your strength, how about tutoring a student in need?
  • If you were a great salesperson before you retired, research stores that sell products you like and find out if they are looking for part-time help.

Finally, this might sound like a cliche but it’s really true: If you are retired and have time on your hands, it's is a great time to learn about something you’ve always wanted to know but never had the time to investigate. The pursuit of lifelong learning can help you discover new adventures, meet new people, and keep your mind sharp.

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