Overcoming Mental Challenges Your First Year of Retirement

May 30, 2014 at 8:05 PM

“At first” is a phrase I commonly hear from retirees who have made it through the first few years of retirement.  While it’s a time of life most people paint as utopian, retirement is actually a major change that can bring with it a variety of questions, concerns, and feelings rarely talked about, let alone planned for.

There are myriad feelings retirees are likely to experience as they make their transition from work life to retirement.  Some are more common and acceptable than others, including positive feelings such as relief and accomplishment or, in some cases, a glass half-empty state characterized by regret and boredom. 

There are also some less popular, even taboo, feelings that never seem to make it into conversation.  Sentiments not held by everyone, but very real nonetheless.  I have known countless retirees, past and present who, when told of the downside that others felt, replied, “I feel the same way” or “That’s exactly where I was.”

Not Earning My Pay

Who would have thought that after 30 or 40 years of work, including long hours, weekends, even holidays, that you would feel awkward, guilty, or just weird about receiving pay in the form of a pension without doing any work? 

It can be a taboo topic because it’s a feeling that goes against mainstream perceptions of retirement.  Who in their right mind would feel guilty about receiving money they’ve earned?  It’s actual more common than you think.

Since the age of six or seven, you have been expected to be productive. Whether it was producing grades and projects in school, meeting deadlines or managing people, for 50 or more years you’ve been trading your time, energy, and intellect for some form of reward.  In retirement, those expectations are for the most part gone, and you don’t have to do anything except keep breathing to get paid. 

For some, it can feel like a divorce, losing a loved one, or quitting an addictive substance – cold turkey!  Of course, there are support groups for divorce, grief, drugs and alcohol, but not for new retirees with this sense of separation many are left to sort it out for themselves. 

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Source: Forbes - Robert Laura



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