Why Retirement Didn’t Work For Me

Enough was enough.

I had worked full-time for 47 years, except for the one year I took off when my first child was small.  At age 65, I could not yet collect Social Security, but I did have money from the sale of my house that I could use until Social Security kicked in.  Every day, I was experiencing mini nervous breakdowns while working The Job From Hell and my health was suffering.

In the middle of the night, I made the decision to retire NOW.

Heading into retirement, I had plans – big plans.  I would get the new house in tip-top shape, I would visit all those touristy sites I never had time for, I would become the best amateur photographer ever!

Unfortunately, I made that decision in November, right before a terrible Buffalo, New York winter.

For the first two days of retirement, I slept.  Literally.  Most of the day, anyway.  After all, I had 47 years of sleep to catch up on!

I arranged for contractors to install windows and renovate the bathroom, which  meant staying home to supervise the work and keep Puppy Cody from being overly traumatized.

In between, I played videogames.  I have hundreds of videogames stored on my computer, and I started at the beginning of the list.  Two weeks later, I was only partly through the list and pretty much had my fill of gaming.  I knew I was overdoing it when I began dreaming about finding those hidden objects.

Meanwhile, it had started snowing – and snowing.  And the temperature dropped.   The roads were icy, visibility was poor, and my old bones didn’t want to spend any more time outside than necessary.  My two to three times a day when I had to take Puppy Cody out were about all I could handle.

So, the touristy stuff was out.

Never mind the fact that since I was living on my steadily diminishing savings, the idea of paying admission and parking for the touristy stuff wasn’t particularly appealing.

Sure, most parks are free – and very pretty in the winter – but I simply could not motivate myself to go our for extended winter photography. With my luck, I would probably slide down an icy hill trying to get that perfect shot – much simpler to stay home and play yet some more videogames.

Even lunches with friends were pretty much out, as they cost money.  Unless, of course, the friends could come to my house – but they all worked and only had that hour or so for lunch, which did not allow for travel time.

Meanwhile, of course, I still had a mortgage to pay, along with utility bills, car payments, and contractor invoices.  I sat down one evening and calculated how long I could make my savings last and still have some left over at the end.  Yikes.  I needed to find a job now!   So I did.

I had been fully retired for 3 months.  That was about all I could handle, both emotionally and financially.

Recently, I received a call from a friend who retired to Florida. She’s constantly posting photos on Facebook of herself lying by the pool (with drinks, of course) or going golfing, and it looked like she was having the time of her life.  But during our phone conversation, she indicated that she is bored.   Also in her 60s, she feels too young to be hanging out with the usual Florida retirees, and she, too, is thinking of returning to work or finding some kind of volunteer activity to fill up her days.

Not everyone is cut out for retirement.  Maybe if I had unlimited funds, and lived in an area with pleasant (not too hot, not too cold) weather, I could have enjoyed all that time off.  For now, I’m content with my 3-day weekends.  If spring ever does come and is, in fact, followed by summer, I plan to spend at least some of my Fridays doing amateur photography or visiting touristy sites.  Meanwhile, my bills are paid and I’m not bored out of my mind.

Maybe in about 10 years or so, I’ll try retirement again.  Maybe then it will be right for me.

PS:  Allow me to gloat – I recently learned that the young woman who replaced me at The Job From Hell quit after 3 months.  I guess it wasn’t just me after all.  May she find as much peace as I have.

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I love to hear from my readers. You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at cordeliasmom2012@yahoo.com

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Images by Cordelia’s Mom

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33 Responses to Why Retirement Didn’t Work For Me

  1. Love your gloat. Warms the cockles of my heart!
    Hubby and I have both proved to be hard acts to follow. When he left any of his previous jobs, they hired at least two people to do his work. When I left mine in 2007, they didn’t have a replacement despite my giving them 6 months notice as it turned out, so it fell down to my assistant who coped very well, but they didn’t promote her. Instead they hired a friend of the accounts manager who modified the spreadsheets off her own back, losing all his linkages, and she was escorted from the building before the end of her first week. They hired two temps until they could find someone else, still not promoting my assistant, who walked after two months into a job paying twice as much with the same responsibility. I was really pleased for her.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ksbeth says:

    this is so good to read. i turned 60 this year and looking ahead, trying to figure out when/how to retire. like you, i imagine a time of leisure, but worry if i’ll get bored or have enough money. i think the perfect thing is to do what you did in the end, find something part time to cover both issues – )

    Like

    • I apologize for the delay in responding – your comment went into my spam folder!

      It’s good to think about retirement well ahead of the time you actually do it. I had calculated my pre- and post-retirement budget as carefully as possible so I knew whether or not I could live on Social Security coupled with a part- time job, or whether I would have to continue to work full-time until I dropped. I actually had tried to retire at 62, but Social Security called me and told me they wouldn’t be able to pay me at all for that year because I had already earned too much from my job. So I changed my mind, cancelled my Social Security application, and decided to work to 66, at which age a retiree can work and still collect Social Security. Gotta tell you, those 4 extra years were not easy.

      Planning is imperative – and don’t forget to calculate in your health care costs. That’s another reason I have to continue to work at least part-time. Medicare doesn’t cover everything.

      Like

  3. Underdaddy says:

    Should have checked out TN. All the cold weather of the north with the mosquitoes of the south. But hey no income tax.

    Like

  4. willowdot21 says:

    Not everyone suits retirement, I didn’t have a choice after I broke my back I had to retire. It took me a good few years to accept the fact. Do what’s best for you be happy 💜🌹💜🌹

    Like

  5. I’m pretty happy, but I’m never bored. I’m pretty busy — busier than I usually want to be, too. My bank said we had more money this month than we spent! Imagine that! $254 more than we spent! HOLY MOLY!

    Like

  6. Tippy Gnu says:

    Speaking as a retiree who loves retirement, I’m sure glad there are folks like you around. Otherwise, who would do all the work that needs to be done? So thanks, and I hope you keep enjoying your job.

    Like

  7. Jane says:

    I get what you are saying. This past month really tested me because I did not have a car. I was STUCK at home. But I got into a routine and did a lot of cleaning out of crap. But I have decided to look for a remote part time job just for something to do and a little extra cash. My health will not allow me to work full time ever again and I do not want to undo all the good I have done with not being stressed out of my mind. I think it takes a lot longer than 3 months to make a life change like this so I am hoping that with spring coming, I will feel better about not working. I still feel guilty.

    Like

    • Jane, I never felt guilty about not working. After 47 years, I feel I’m entitled to retire. It was just that without money and with the bad weather, I couldn’t really enjoy retirement. Should I win the lottery, that’s all going to change very quickly.

      Like

  8. Dan Antion says:

    It’s pretty cool that your replacement quit after three months.

    Like

  9. Glad you’re happy with your new job and 3-day weekends. You’re still too young to retire, CM.
    ღゝ◡╹)ノ♡

    Like

  10. joey says:

    I cannot imagine retirement in a traditional sense any more than I can imagine living someplace hot. People always say “Wait til you’re MY age…” but these are the same people who told me the early years with my kids were the ones I’d miss, and I don’t, so, umm, I still life’s all about personal choices influenced by our own desires. It’s possible one day I will not work for a paycheck, but won’t I be volunteering? I’ve never liked sitting by the pool. I swim in the pool. Laps. lol That’s just me. I’ve never been good at sitting still, so your post cries out with the honesty of someone who likes to work, who likes to be busy, to be of service. Job From Hell, well, that couldn’t keep on.

    Like

    • It’s not so much that I like to work, Joey. I have to work for financial reasons, and if I ever get to the point where I don’t have those bills, I will reconsider retirement. I may or may not then opt for some kind of volunteer work to fill out some of the days (maybe something to do with animals). Probably it will depend mostly on my health.

      Like

  11. markbialczak says:

    Everybody can quickly tell what’s best for them, CM. Hopefully! I think I’ll be ready to enjoy non-working when I finally get there, but that’s a bit down the road still. We shall see.

    Like

    • Mark, I spent so many years dreaming of the day I could retire and sit around doing nothing all day. But the reality didn’t quite fit the dream, maybe because of the winter weather, the lack of finances, or just the fact that I’m so used to doing SOMETHING for the last 47 years. I’m sure after I’ve been on my new job for awhile, even though I love that job, I’ll start dreaming again of retirement. Just human nature to always want whatever it is you don’t have.

      Like

  12. theadultlab says:

    Thanks for writing this. You brought up some very interesting points. Both the financial and the motivational aspect are very difficult for many…

    Like

    • You sound like someone who knows, if not from personal experience than from that of friends or relatives.

      Now, having written that, I went over and checked out your site, and yes – you definitely speak from experience. Thanks for coming to visit. I look forward to following your adventure through the wonderful world of senior adulthood. We can commiserate with each other.

      Like

  13. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Totally get the gloat, CM. As for retirement, even though I don’t have an “official” job, I don’t plan on retiring but rather keep on doing what I LOVE for as long as I can. Oh yes it would be lovely to actually make money from my photography yet …. I do not have the time nor the know-how to promote myself. I also dread mixing business with pleasure. I refuse to have anyone tell me what to shoot, how to shoot, and where to shoot. Perhaps my writing? A book? I dunno. Travel I would love yet I must take into consideration this back of mine. We’ll see. For now, I am focused on making sure my cat family is well taken care of. I just had a Vet email me recently telling me she is SO glad I am the one who is taking care of Bella. Sweeter words there are, not in my book. I don’t get a whole lot of recognition for what I do, but when I do, it just feels so darn good!!

    GOOD LUCK finding another job!!! Keeping my fingers crossed that you land a job that you actually LIKE. GO, CM!! You can do this!!! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

    Like

  14. anstalmi says:

    I loved reading this. It is so true and made me laugh. I too am fairly newly retired ad trying to figure it all out. So much you wrote about is something I am experiencing. Nice to know I am not the only one. I would love to know how you worked it all out.

    Like

    • Hi, Annette. See? I just had to “approve” the comment for it to appear! So glad you have joined me. We can keep tabs on each other’s progress in retirement. BTW, your photos are awesome! I tried to comment over on your site, but couldn’t find a comment button, so I decided to just re-blog one of your posts instead to show my support. Hopefully it’s your first re-blog, ’cause that’s very exciting!

      Like

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