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September 29, 2016


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Barbara Bomberger

I do have one other comment or thought. Walter doesnt say if he has a spouse or partner or if he hor she is retired. It would be interesting to see or hear their perspective and if they are having the same issues.

I would think that spending time with my partner or spouse would be one of my major retirement goals...................


To those who provided constructive, thoughtful comments as well compassionate feedback, thank you so much. I am struggling to find a direction and found this blog to be insightful and a way to reach folks who may have gone through the same struggles I am. For those who wanted to be mean spirited in your remarks--so be it. For the record, I was most proud of the accomplishments of my management team and line staff, I enjoyed the daily interaction with many of my coworkers and still keep in touch with several. And my spouse is still working full-time ( there is a 4 year age difference). One thing I have learned, those who state spouses shouldn't retire at the same time or close in proximity are wrong--there is an impact when one spouse is retired and one is not. Again, thanks to those of you who wanted to help. Walter

Retired Syd

Well said Walter. Good luck in your journey.

Steven from Arkansas

I retired one year ago from a high powered position where I ran a billion dollar complex with hundreds of employees. I did not need to earn another cent but I immediately stepped into a position I created for myself consulting and lobbying in state government regulatory issues. I work 4 gigs, all part time but all related.they are complicated keeping my mind sharp, and lucrative making me feel useful. I rarely work more than two our three days a week but with several hobbies, travel and a good bit of volunteer work I'm pleasantly busy, but not stressed.

With your contacts in government why not become a lobbyist? It is lots of fun, leverages your understanding of how agencies do things and draws value from the people you already know. So far after a year, I'm really liking it. Sure it doesn't pay what I used to make but you've got that sweet pension so now is the time to work for fun!

Your New Fan

Another great topic! My advice to Walter is to go back to when he was a kid and try to remember what brought him joy then. Exploring/hiking? Swimming? Shooting bow and arrows (Archery)? Digging in the dirt? Running/biking through the neighborhood? Camping? Going to the beach? Traveling and site seeing? whatever made him happy or whatever he wanted to do when he was young and energetic. He needs to find his joy but only he will know what that is.

I quit working very young and although not rich by any means we are very comfortable. My husband is a little younger than me and loves what he does for a living but he wondered what he'd want to do when he decides to retire one day. Then he'd see me digging in the dirt gardening and planning all kinds of things like where I'd like our patio extended to, what trees go where, what kind of water feature I'd like to have and he decided he would enjoy doing that with me.

Then I came into a little inheritance and I, like a heat seeking missile, decided we should buy lake front property (no structure included because we couldn't afford that nor did we want to maintain 2 homes). That became a hobby for approximately 2 years just driving around Florida looking at various places and types of lakes (you'd be amazed how many shapes, sizes, restrictions, types of water there are! Clear, black with tannin, sandy, mucky, over weeded and can't be cleared, spooky, over run with gators, etc. We then got educated on the city/county guidelines of building codes, zoning, set backs, environment issues and the like for future decisions we may make. Then we saw it. The one and Yay! we could afford it! Then we built a little storage shed and added furniture to sit on after clearing under brush and vines and we needed to have Tiki torches and candles so we could hang out there all day and camp out there on cooler night. Then I decided we needed a "real" boat and not just a canoe so we built a little floating dock and then a little private ramp (just the 2 of us or with friend's help).

Our friends and some family members began to complain that we never want to do anything with them any more so we now squeeze getting together for dinner at the beach and then walking it after we eat. Then go have drinks at a place right on the beach enjoying cocktails and running our mouths and laughing. We go to St. Augustine to enjoy the amazing city and shop, eat, drink, ride the carriage rides, go on ghost tours or whatever suits us. We go to Art Festivals in Winter Park, Mt. Dora, Cedar Key, or music Festivals and concerts... the things to do are endless.

Now my husband is chomping at the bit to retire we have so much to do. Happiness. You have to make it for yourself.

Peace and may Walter find his bliss!

Retired Syd

Oops, looks like I missed one from Tom:

What we believe is what we become. Fear is a belief.

I have been retired for 2 1/2 years. I was a dentist with a literally Mom and Pop office, my wife and myself. The patients were like friends and I felt well regarded and felt I made a difference in their lives. It was comfortable and even though business was slow I could have kept going. But I reached age 67, and was having physical problems. Finally my wife gave me an ultimatum to retire and close the office which we did when I was 67 & 1/2.

I felt uneasy at first in retirement. I missed being the "Doctor" and making a difference in peoples' lives. I missed people depending on me. I missed doing a dental procedure and getting a good result. I missed being a responsible person. I had let my profession define my identity as person.

I had to learn to 'let go'. Letting go of my identity as a family dentist wasn't hard; at my age I knew it would be too physically demanding to get back into it. And being financially OK, I knew that getting any old job just to keep busy did not make sense. And that's where volunteering came in. It's work and responsibility without a paycheck , set schedule and stress.

After trying different places to volunteer, I settled on 3 main places: helping sort donated books for the public library and helping people to read and speak English and occasionally I help at a food bank. I'm just a grunt among the minions of volunteers; but I don't care. I know that in some minute way I am helping make the world a better place. And that is enough satisfaction for me.

For many years I've heard the saying that "Satisfaction equals Reality minus Expectations". As I approach 70 I've lowered my expectations of what I can do or be. And I really truly don't care if I don't do wonderful things. I am content to learn a foreign language or play a musical instrument or do a crossword puzzle or travel with my spouse.

Some parting thoughts. Acknowledging the human life cycle has helped me accept and embrace the life phase of being retired. There are seasons to our lives. Our life journey is one of change and transitions.

Hope this helps, been there too (but not too long).


Walter you are one unhappy person. These are my suggestions.
1. Quit your crappy job and then immediately get an even crappier one. For example, you could get a job at a “Quickie Mart” working the 12MN to 8AM shift. Then you will have only one thing to be concerned about. That being, how you are gong to get enough sleep to function in today's world.
2. Go to Disney World. Maybe you will be happy there.
3. I will quote my Mother when we children would whine that there's nothing to do. “Well, find something to do”. It's a big world out there and if you can't find anything, you are truly a lost soul and nothing we say here can help you.


Roger, you are one very mean spirited person based on your post. Why not share your wonderful retirement experiences with us and tell us how it's done. This blog is for retirement information and helping others, no for tearing someone down.


i think a lot of people are like that if you dont have a well laid retirement plan then you kind of get bored. i had plans after the military but they never materialized but once im able to im going to get some part time work so i can still do what i want


My thoughts are that Walter would benefit from some attention to physical activity-- and also to working on developing an open mindset.If he is absolutely against any volunteering or hobby development, or new activities other than work,well then, he's answering his own question.

If Walter is truly ONLY happy when he is working at a fulfilling prestigious job that pays money, then perhaps starting a new business, or just giving all his energy to finding a better job.

If he can open his mind and just try experimenting outside the box a little, maybe he WOULD develop some other interests and surprise himself.

As a retired health professional,I'd suggest some counseling.Walt doesn't sound like the kinda guy who would go for this, but a little time spent on self examination with someone who could open his mind to new ideas would be a great investment, maybe even fun!!!!

The world is so full of love,life,laughter.. hobbies, avocations, and yes, jobs too..I hope Walter won't limit himself.His retirement is a new phase.. just starting--plenty of time to regroup and see more of what's out there!

John Hurtt

Hello, my name is John and I am a student at IU and I am working on a marketing project with a travel company on Baby Boomer traveling expectations and experiences. Would you mind taking my quick survey? Please copy and past the link below into your web browser . Thank you in advance for your time.


Hi, my first read of your blog and comments. You have wonderful readers! I too struggled with the transition. I lost identity, structure, affinity, a sense of accomplishment. I call myself "a recovering workaholic" after 2 years in retirement. In my 2 years, I've explored a lot of things. I've even gone back to working part-time, and realized how easy workaholic tendencies can creep back into your life! My recco to Walter is to read a couple of the books suggested ( I loved what Color is your Parachute for Retirement and Ernie Z's book also), and take the time to do the introspection on what you want to try, what you want your life to look like. No one's path will be your path. We are all different, and what works for someone else might not work for you. Steal and reapply only the things that fit your values, strengths and interests. And know you are not alone. Work provided many things that might need to be replaced in your life going forward. Understanding what you need to have replaced can help you plan things and set goals. For example, I have a goal of 10 networking connections a month (from mentoring to old work colleagues to new connections to networking groups) ...helps me with structure, affinity and sense of accomplishment. It also turned into the part-time work project. I am an introvert, but setting this goal made me do it....not always 10 every month, but I try! Good luck to Walter. Pat at Retirementtransition.wordpress.com


Live your life and find something to put your hand to and thank God that you have the opportunity to do so. I know I do. P.S. Retirement only solves 50% of your problems your still left with the other 50% Sorry I was so late to the game Syd but it's good to hear your hanging in there. Keep the faith baby.

Retired Syd

Another emailed contribution. From JS:

I enjoyed your last blog with the story from a man struggling with retirement. I worked for a government agency for almost 12 years. I loved my job for most of those years because there was travel, independence, good salary, and most importantly, I was able to create changes for veterans as determined appropriate. After my boss retired, things changed, I could see that the emphasis was on turning in numbers rather than providing quality services. Due to the political situation, no one wanted to say no to any veteran regardless of their need for services or qualification for those services. I had a very difficult time comprehending this philosophy and realized that it was time for me to retire, rather than fight the system. I seriously considered returning to my employer, after there was a second management change and the managers position was open. Although my retirement package was sufficient, I missed the impact I made in providing health benefits to vets in need. There was hardly a day that would pass without my thinking about work and the changes that needed to be implemented. Meanwhile, I struggled to make my retirement a success. I needed to have a purpose, and a plan for a happy life. I hardly knew where to begin. The following were things I focussed on:

1. Get healthy and lose weight.
2. Establish a hobby and explore areas of interest including: watercolor, meditation, yoga, and French.
3. Establish a better social system, including girlfriends to share a meal or enjoy films together.
4. Take mini trips to see friends and family that live out of town.
5. Volunteer for an organization where I could use my social work skills or obtain a part time counseling job.
6 Increase my knowledge with cooking by obtaining a position at a Culinary store or restaurant, or take culinary classes.

FOLLOW UP - These are the things that I accomplished and learned.

1. I was able to lose 17 lbs by exercising at the gym on a regular basis. Hiring a personal trainer to meet at 8:30 once a week helped keep me on track as well as signing up for Weight Watchers.
2. Learned that in general, I do not like group activities including senior water aerobics, meditation, yoga, or line dancing. I do not have artistic talents, nor do I enjoy big group activities. I was made aware that I am uncoordinated by watching others go left, while I was going right.
3. Recently, I reconnected with a woman that enjoys films so we have established a friendship and enjoy going to films together.
4. For about six months I did not travel, because I was on a mission to get healthy and lose weight. However, this summer, I have travelled both for family need and pleasure and have learned that Travel is essential to my sense of well being.
5. I have not yet signed up to volunteer for a Social Services Program, but plan to do this soon. Currently, I have signed up to assist with Hillary and her campaign and hope to do a little more this month.
6. I gained employment with a Culinary Store in the kitchen as a chef’s assistant but learned this was not a fun job since I spent 90% of my time washing pots and pans. I quit after only one week.

I know that my satisfaction has greatly increased these past three months. Part of that satisfaction has to do with being busy and having a sense of purpose. I realize that when I am busy engaged with family and work responsibilities as well as travel and FUN, I don’t think about my previous employer. I appreciate having the flexibility of utilizing my time the way I see best. I found a book How to RETIRE Happy, Wild, and Free by Ernie J. Zelinski, and hope to read other books to enhance this retirement experience.


1. RETIREMENT SUCCESS IS A PROCESS. One has to have a plan and take mini steps to learn and feel successful.
2. Just as it took years for me to feel comfortable with employment, it will take time to continue to explore work/play options to make retirement successful.
3. I like making decisions, and need to find volunteer work or employment that is flexible, rewarding, and FUN.
4. Get over the guilt in leaving my husband at home for a few days. Just put a date on the calendar and plan A FUN TRIP in advance.
5. Get more involved with the retirement process and perhaps assist with the Retirement Reading and Support Group. That means, spending more time reading and exploring options.
6. Take time to set goals for this second retirement year and remember to take the time to ENJOY EACH DAY.

THANKS, I hope this helps.


As a relatively younger person, who is years away from retirement, I wish I had Walter's problem. While all the comments above have offered excellent advice and points on Walter's predicament, I would suggest this. Try and make some money by selling something. It may be consulting, it maybe Avon from door to door. But if Walter want's challenging work try and sell something.

Kerry Baker

I relate. Projects and volunteer work are fine but some of us are conditioned to only validate our performance by earning income from it. The first step for me was to find something where the whole process was interesting, then figure out how to make income from it. The goal of earning income gives that process direction and forces you to do uncomfortable, difficult things. That's what challenge is too. The income validates your performance and some of us still need that, even after we retire.


Walter I happened to catch "The Intern" with Robert De Niro on HBO a few days ago. You might want to see if you can watch it on HBO or maybe buy the DVD or maybe your local library might have it to check out. I don't think it's available on NetFlix or Amazon Prime. Take from it what you can.



Retirement is a process. It takes a while to settle in, so be patient with yourself. I agree you should quit the job you don't like or need. My first few years were spent being concerned with being productive. Now, not so much😃. I lived with a lot of"shoulds" over the years and now I do"wants". I have faith that you will find your way, just by your willingness to state your issues and be open to getting feedback.


Oh, yes. I wrote an article on retirement for our local paper and stated it is a time for failure. You have the opportunity to try something that you might fail at and the consequences are minimal. I learned I stink at playing the piano, despite my efforts, but I am still proud of trying.

Melissa Adams

Thank you for sharing. Walter, my father felt the same way. He has decided to travel the US in an RV.

Spencer Feeney

Walter could have a look at the posts under the Retired Lives category on my blog, www.retiredblokes.wordpress.com Some ideas there from men who have retired from high-pressure and very responsible jobs. In the meantime, Walter, stop defining yourself by the job you used to do. And quit your current job before it kills you with despair!

Stephen Ingalls


A happy retirement requires planning just like the other aspects of our lives. Clearly the job that you are doing is not satisfying. You need to look at what does make you happy. If the social aspects of working give you fulfillment, then focus on non-work related social activities. There are many volunteer opportunities that fill that need on a more flexible basis than a 40 hour work week. Sports, gaming and dance offer great social outlets.

The key is to find something that makes you happy. Be honest with yourself and treat yourself to a happy retirement.


Well, I don't have any more insight to add for Walter...but I wanted to thank all of you. You've given me some really great ideas on tackling the anxiety I sometimes feel over my own early retirement. The first being SCORE...what I great idea and I've signed up as a volunteer. I'm about to start my third year and this website has been very helpful. Thanks Syd and all contributors.

Patrice Jenkins

Hi Walter,
I appreciate your transparency when it comes to finding happiness in retirement. You are not alone. I want to run the other way when people say they love retirement; everyday is like Saturday and Sunday. I believe the sweetness of the weekend comes from the challenges of the week. That's why it's important to continue to put ourselves in situations where we are challenged to use our skills, or to develop new skills.

If you're familiar with Flow theory, you know what I'm talking about. It's a psychological state where we lose track of time, emerge with a greater sense of satisfaction (happiness) that continues to grow over time. We experience this frame of mind when we increase complexity and add challenges to what otherwise is a life of leisure. The difference in retirement, as compared to when we're working, is we are responsible for creating these conditions.

I encouraged you to reconsider your views on hobbies and volunteerism, especially if you can recreate conditions that lead to flow and bring back some of the non-financial benefits that you're missing from work. Research indicates that we can experience a growing sense of happiness/satisfaction when we're involved in something "greater than ourselves." I suggest investigating organizations that you already support financially. There is a big difference between writing a check and finding yourself in the field.

I also encourage you to consider the future life perspective. How many "good" decades do you think you have left? Is being miserable in your current job how you want to spend your time? I doubt it. Instead, what is one thing that you could start doing now that will make you feel more comfortable about leaving?

Like Sydney, I speak and blog on the social and psychological sides of retirement, and the author of "What Will I Do All Day? Wisdom to get you over Retirement and on with Living!" I invite you to view my website and blog at www.patricejenkins.com.

Patrice Jenkins PhD


As a new retiree (only 4 months) I don't have a substantial volume of advice to offer. However, my personal rubric that focuses on skills to develop has helped nudge me into more exercise, more time with friends, more low-cost cultural opportunities and more attention spent on my finances. There are many other skill areas to address (spiritual, strengthened family ties) but they will make it into my rubric as times goes by. Thank you for your work in creating and writing your blog!

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