It’s been almost a year and a half since I left my job and just now I feel like I’m finally hitting my new groove to my life.
That might come as a bit of surprise to some people, but I would say honestly it really does take some time for you to adjust to your new retired life. The reason is you tend to go through a series of phases when you retire.
The first is the most obviously: the initial high of being retired. Let’s face it when you finally leave work after all that planning it feels fantastic. Your walking on air and the world seems to be brighter and happier. That phase can last anywhere from days to months or if your really lucky up to a year or so. Then it wears off and while nothing has really changed you start to think:is this all retirement is?
Ah welcome to being disillusioned. The next phase of your retirement. Here is where things start to go wrong and you often don’t know why. I personally hit this phase in six months (as you can see here). It was a crappy place to be. You can feel unhappy, anxious, lonely, and even in more severe cases outright depressed. I personally never got that bad but yes I did hit a low spot there where I was seriously doubting my decision to retire early. And yet oddly enough this phase of doubt doesn’t really get talked about all that much. What causes it? Basically you are missing things from your work life and you didn’t really understand how important they were for you life such as: a structure to your days, work friends, a sense of contributing to something bigger than you, and even goals with feedback on how well you did on your goals.
Yet after that low point you have a choice. You can give up and get a job again and return to something like your old life. Or you can push forward to building your new retired life. Here is where you start to make adjustments to your new life. You can add new activities, more social interactions, and even more structure to your life. You can search to do something you find meaningful and gives you a sense of progress on a goal. And know this search might take some time but don’t give up on it. Then finally after a time you will hit your new groove.
Which brings me back to where I started this post. I finally have a bit of routine to my life that makes me happy. I’m not bored or lonely. I feel productive working on writing material for my book which matters to me. I’ve finally built a new identity of the retiree not the worker without a job that I started at after I left work behind.
There is a long process to get to this point. It doesn’t come easy and while it can take years to get to a new groove it is possible. Just stay the course and give yourself some time. After all, you are retired right?
So retirees, how long did it take you to find your new groove?