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Regretting my decision to retire

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 18 March 2016
Dear Patricia Marie,

I recently retired from a career I'd had for over 20 years. I thoroughly considered this decision and was excited about finally having the time to do the things that the demands of work wouldn't allow. However, 3 weeks later, I think I'm regretting my decision. I miss the purpose my job gave me and the people I used to work with, and actually feel bored at home. I know that I can't return to work but I'm struggling to move on. Do you have any advice?

Patricia Marie says...

Retirement can and should be an exciting time, bringing leisure and freedom to pursue a multitude of interests, to travel or just to slow down and 'smell the roses’. However, it can often leave a huge void in your life, and the important thing is to fill that void in such a way that you can remain physically fit, mentally agile, and continue to enjoy social interaction with other people. A pet could be the answer, particularly a dog, but if your circumstances prevent this, perhaps you could embark on a hobby, join a gym, or check out local clubs for upcoming activities.

Most importantly, stop being so hard on yourself. Three weeks is no time to adjust, as you are still at the transitional stage from working to taking life easier. Make this time count, and try to focus on what you would like to do next. Consider some voluntary work in the local hospice or charity shop. Hopefully you would then feel a sense of fulfilment by doing something useful, together with resuming a routine you so badly miss, but without the pressure.

Think about all those dreams you envisaged, and had to put off due to work commitments. Allow yourself some quality time to do just as you please. If you can learn to enjoy retirement, you could be rewarded with what may be the most meaningful, creative and fruitful time of your life, and have great fun in the process.

I recommend: Retirement Manual by Stuart Turner: The Step-by-step Guide to a Happy, Healthy, Retirement.

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