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Old 11-18-2014, 10:37 AM   #1
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Mistakes Made

Hi all,
I am always a reader of the forum and very occasionally add something to it. I'm afraid I am a frustrated retiree. It's my fault that I'm still a little unsettles in my new life.

I really did not retire too early. I'm single and 67 years old, and retired November 2013. I was in such a rush to get some permanence in my life after being overseas for about 42 years in 12 countries working. I bought a house in northern Washington, first house I ever owned, a stones throw from Vancouver. I have a wonderful dog, a Labrador, to train as a therapy dog.

I miss other cultures. I'm used to traveling, and find my life to be too stagnant. I'd never ever give up "man's best friend", but he does restrict what I can and cannot do. I suppose I could lock up the house and travel, but it's all new to me.

I'm hoping that to hear that it sometimes takes years to get used to retirement, and to find a niche to give that quality to your life. I was wondering if others have had similar difficulties.

Thank you.

Rob
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Old 11-18-2014, 10:50 AM   #2
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Hi all,
I am always a reader of the forum and very occasionally add something to it. I'm afraid I am a frustrated retiree. It's my fault that I'm still a little unsettles in my new life.

I really did not retire too early. I'm single and 67 years old, and retired November 2013. I was in such a rush to get some permanence in my life after being overseas for about 42 years in 12 countries working. I bought a house in northern Washington, first house I ever owned, a stones throw from Vancouver. I have a wonderful dog, a Labrador, to train as a therapy dog.

I miss other cultures. I'm used to traveling, and find my life to be too stagnant. I'd never ever give up "man's best friend", but he does restrict what I can and cannot do. I suppose I could lock up the house and travel, but it's all new to me.

I'm hoping that to hear that it sometimes takes years to get used to retirement, and to find a niche to give that quality to your life. I was wondering if others have had similar difficulties.

Thank you.

Rob
Many others will have different things to say. But first off, it doesn't seem that your mistakes are particularly difficult to undo. If you are training a therapy dog, you will before long be turning him over to the agency or an owner. If you bought your house reasonably well, you could resell it without a crippling loss. That presumes you would like to be released from your current situation.

People make false starts all the time. It is quite hard to imagine yourself in a situation that you have never lived before, so sometimes it doesn't fit well.


People and places can vary a lot, and not everyone is equally thrilled with the different varieties. I rented for ~5 years, then when I bought I went only 8 blocks away in a very similar situation. Still, there are considerable differences not all ideal to my way of thinking.


If you are used to a high human interaction environment, and retire to a US suburb or many city areas, you may well be lonesome. Going to meetups may help, or not.


Ha
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Old 11-18-2014, 10:58 AM   #3
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I'm sorry to hear that you are unhappy. My first question is what is your social network? Social connection is one of the principal drivers of satisfaction in retirement. As an introvert, I found I had to work at this, but it is paying off. My second question is what time commitment have you made to training the therapy dog? Once that commitment has been fulfilled, why not travel? Trips planned for low season or with long stay can be economical and not require that you give up your home. Traveling with friends can be very enjoyable, and that's where your social network comes in.
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Old 11-18-2014, 11:08 AM   #4
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My wife and I are at a different stage, looking into the possibility of spending more time abroad. So I have been reading about the problems expats have getting used to their new environment. Along the way I have found lots of posts of repatriates having lots of problems too, some of the same ones you mention. Google "repatriation for expats" and you will find lots of articles about it. One WSJ is particularly applicable I think.
http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB123745981080883001
Apparently repatriation blues is a common problem.
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Old 11-18-2014, 11:13 AM   #5
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I'm hoping that to hear that it sometimes takes years to get used to retirement, and to find a niche to give that quality to your life. I was wondering if others have had similar difficulties.
Based on an article I read recently, about 1 in 10 find retirement less satisfying than expected, so you're not alone. People discuss the financial aspect of retirement endlessly, but too few discuss the emotional/mental - the 'what will I do all day' aspect. That's why I always recommend folks carefully think through 'what they are retiring to' before pulling the (work) plug, to make sure they're retiring to something better. Retirement comes naturally to many, but not all.

Sounds like you need to find ways to travel AFTER you've completed training the therapy dog. In any event, I am sure you will find your way, give it some time...and thought, to map out a better next chapter. Many, many years ahead, make the best of them.
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Old 11-18-2014, 11:18 AM   #6
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You're in a beautiful part of the world. I lived in Bellingham for 3 years, and my best friend still lives there.

Getting into a new routine/lifestyle is always daunting. I found that doing a combination of "pushing myself" to explore/do new things, with "permission" to not push if I felt overwhelmed, has worked for me. So I set mini-goals when I retired... Signed up for an Italian class a the community college, but didn't rush to find volunteer activities like I thought I would. It was intimidating being the old lady with a bunch of 17-21 year olds in the class... but I pushed through and made friends with a few of the students.

Find your pace, your routine.... Give it time.
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Old 11-18-2014, 11:25 AM   #7
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I think it takes a little while to find one's way in retirement. My (unsolicited) advice is to be flexible and follow your heart. We didn't have retirement figured out correctly in advance, either. We had planned to move to Missouri right after retiring. Our plans have changed, at least for now, and I guess we will stay here? I'm not sure, to tell you the truth.

I don't know how long or how intensive the training is for a therapy dog, or how important it is to you to produce a trained therapy dog when you'd really rather be traveling.

If you had a normal dog, I'd say you should temporarily board the dog in a kennel, close up the house, and travel for a couple of weeks. Then if you felt the same way when you got home, I'd suggest putting the house on the market and selling the dog.
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Old 11-18-2014, 11:29 AM   #8
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Based on an article I read recently, about 1 in 10 find retirement less satisfying than expected, so you're not alone. People discuss the financial aspect of retirement endlessly, but too few discuss the emotional/mental - the 'what will I do all day' aspect. That's why I always recommend folks carefully think through 'what they are retiring to' before pulling the (work) plug, to make sure they're retiring to something better. Retirement comes naturally to many, but not all.

Sounds like you need to find ways to travel AFTER you've completed training the therapy dog. In any event, I am sure you will find your way, give it some time...and thought, to map out a better next chapter. Many, many years ahead, make the best of them.
Seems like in this forum, it's more like 1 in 100 ...
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Old 11-18-2014, 11:35 AM   #9
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Seems like in this forum, it's more like 1 in 100 ...
6.1% were less happy than they expected in ER, according to our forum poll here. But then "happy" and "satisfied" are not exactly the same thing.
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Old 11-18-2014, 11:44 AM   #10
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I have much more limited experience with regards to expat issues, but still.

One thing I am very aware of is that you cannot go back once you leave a place for more than four years. Even if it is your so-called 'home ground'. The further away you go, the more true this will be.

Try revisiting the primary school you went to. At one point in your life, that was your life. Now, even if some of the same people are there, the place is no longer the same. For all practical purposes, your primary school doesn't exist anymore, even if it does. It's the same with the place and country you left behind.

The only way that works I've seen is to move forward not backwards and take control. Build a new home. One that fits you.

In addition, if you have moved around all your life, well then moving around is what you have known and feel comfortable with. If you are in that category, I'd wager you'll feel best as long you keep on moving.

So arrange your life that way. Go home.
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Old 11-18-2014, 11:50 AM   #11
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Rodi brought up a great thing.

I work with 20-somethings, and have found it liberating to be their parents' age, instead of a perceived competitor or, even worse, a prospective mating object. (Both those attitudes, from cow-orkers, contributed to the misery of my early working years).

The youngsters only care whether I can answer their questions or provide useful insights. They speak freely around me, since they aren't worried that I might use what they say to get ahead of them. **Best of all** I know jokes and funny sayings they've never heard, so they also find me amusing. I bet it's somewhat the same being "the old lady" among teenage students.

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Y It was intimidating being the old lady with a bunch of 17-21 year olds in the class... but I pushed through and made friends with a few of the students.

.
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Old 11-18-2014, 12:09 PM   #12
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Thank you for all your very nice replies. However, I think you may be confusing a therapy dog with a service dog. I'm training my dog to be a therapy dog, which will allow he and I to go to hospitals, hospices, schools, and nursing homes to be with the less fortunate. It's amazing what petting a dog and spending time with a dog can do to the sickly or mentally handicapped. I will still keep my dog.

After a service dog is trained, you give him up to "service" someone who is perhaps blind, or a severe medical condition that the dog can detect before it happens. Service dogs can travel in planes or trains whereas therapy dogs cannot.

I'm hoping that he'll travel with me around the US. When I'm comfortable with that, them maybe to Mexico or Central America, or even Hawaii, where there is no longer a quarantine. I made a commitment when I got the dog, and that's something I need to keep.

Anyway, just feeling a little restricted here. I suppose if I do travel overseas, I can put him in a nice pet hotel for a month or so. My dog is very sociable, so I suspect he's love that.

Thank you.

Rob
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Old 11-18-2014, 12:41 PM   #13
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Rob, sorry to hear you have not adjusted to your new lifestyle and the environment. I totally understand your feelings and doubts, since I'm from another culture which is much more open and festive. I too find the suburban American life can be somewhat stagnant, provincial so to speak---no offense, just personal observation. It can of course be beautiful and peaceful.
I'm sure you will soon figure out what to do and how to find happiness in your new life. I'd suggest to take long road trips for now, to explore canada and the US cross country. There are plenty of b&b that allow dogs. We did that many times and enjoyed very much (we have a large dog too). This will keep you (and mr. Fido) busy, at the same time allow you to "fall back in love" with the country again. Well, if after 2 years you still hate it, sell the house, pack up, and move to central or South America (or SE Asia for that matter). All of those cultures are friendly and warm, as I'm sure you know that already. There are tons of American and European retirees living in those countries, happily, so I'm sure you won't be bored. Actually, I'm pretty curious why you even bother moving back to the US after so many years living abroad? Most my expat friends stayed permanently when they retire. Well, they often end up marrying local women so I guess that helps...
Best wishes Rob! Don't be discouraged. Keep trying, then just follow your heart. It's not the end of the world if you have to move abroad again, and taking Fido with you is not as hard as you think.
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Old 11-18-2014, 12:50 PM   #14
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Just wanted to say that I admire you for doing this wonderful, unselfish thing.

A.

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I'm training my dog to be a therapy dog, which will allow he and I to go to hospitals, hospices, schools, and nursing homes to be with the less fortunate. It's amazing what petting a dog and spending time with a dog can do to the sickly or mentally handicapped. I will still keep my dog.
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Old 11-18-2014, 12:58 PM   #15
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Not retired yet but one thing I often remind myself--I am responsible for where I am and what I am doing. At any point, I can make changes to my situation. True, there are some things I cannot do--there may be physical, legal, or financial limitations--but reality is that these are actually very minor. Certainly I am less constrained than most of the rest of the people on this planet. There are costs to make changes--physical, emotional, and financial--but I can either make the changes or not, its up to me.
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Old 11-18-2014, 01:09 PM   #16
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I am going to resign on 5 Jan 2015 (only 14 more "in office" days away) and retire after my nominal 2 weeks notice. I haven't given how I will spend my days all that much thought other than exercise more and travel more (hopefully). There are all sorts of things I don't get done the way I'd like to do them. Maybe that will change. I can't say I don't have some misgivings about (1) not having most of my time committed, (2) not having the dependable paycheck coming in and (3) not adding to my savings.
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Old 11-18-2014, 01:17 PM   #17
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Rob, we have 3 dogs, all of whom love road trips.

You can hit the road and take your dog. Plenty of hotels take dogs, as do RV parks if you like that mode of travel.

Plan to do day boarding or get him into a groomer on the road if you need a break or when you want a museum/beach day.

Get someone to house/dog sit; have someone keep your dog in their home. We don't board our dogs any longer in those busy kennels, but there are other options.

Re: your work with therapy dog clients, I would think another concern you'll have is getting these people attached to your visits over time and then leaving for extended periods. I have done work with the fragile elderly, and that is a tie that isn't easy to leave behind.
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Old 11-18-2014, 01:17 PM   #18
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Hi all,
I am always a reader of the forum and very occasionally add something to it. I'm afraid I am a frustrated retiree. It's my fault that I'm still a little unsettles in my new life.

I really did not retire too early. I'm single and 67 years old, and retired November 2013. I was in such a rush to get some permanence in my life after being overseas for about 42 years in 12 countries working. I bought a house in northern Washington, first house I ever owned, a stones throw from Vancouver. I have a wonderful dog, a Labrador, to train as a therapy dog.

I miss other cultures. I'm used to traveling, and find my life to be too stagnant. I'd never ever give up "man's best friend", but he does restrict what I can and cannot do. I suppose I could lock up the house and travel, but it's all new to me.

I'm hoping that to hear that it sometimes takes years to get used to retirement, and to find a niche to give that quality to your life. I was wondering if others have had similar difficulties.
I'm sure you'll settle in. Once you get busy taking the dog around it will be that much more worthwhile.

We were out in the Seattle/Olympic area in October. You are close to many interesting cultural pockets. Acres of diamonds in your backyard, the saying goes.

Take care!
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Old 11-18-2014, 01:28 PM   #19
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It might be a good idea to ask and answer yourself what restricted means to you? Particularly, who are you with respect to this feeling of being restricted? If you were "unrestricted", what exactly would do? Can you find a way to have or do those or similar things in your life as it exists now? What might exist that you haven't thought of? If you were your own best friend, what might you tell yourself to do that ypu might not be seeing now?

I have come to find that restriction exists in the mind--what's restricting to one person might not be at all to another. It's a matter of interpretation. The trick is to look at who we are and what we say about what we say are restrictions in order to find a more satisfactory result. How else can you approach the situation or what actions can you take to give you more of a sense of freedom? Sometimes you have to stop and look at how you're looking at things in order to see what you might might be missing.
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Old 11-18-2014, 01:34 PM   #20
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Rob, I do rescue and many of my former fosters (border collies) have gone on to get their therapy credentials. It is a big commitment you have made to get him certified, and having that will open many doors for the two of you to do very rewarding work in a variety of settings.

I wonder if you've considered doing some travel in a small camper or something like that? You could see a lot of North America from where you are (we just spent some amazing time earlier this year on the Cassiar Highway just above you) and there is abundant camping in the state parks there. Your dog would love it. And perhaps you might find enjoyment in keeping moving, albeit at a slow pace, but still getting the traveler's high from being in new places.

I wish you much luck, and again offer my thanks for your time into training your dog for therapy work.
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