Struggling in Wisconsin. Advice?

Even after 11 years I still feel like I am drifting or floating a bit sometimes. I keep a list of things I want to work on or do and refer to my list as needed. Or I just sit down and relax or nap for a bit. But I know the feeling you are talking about.

I actually worked 8-10 hours a week for my son, from age 54 yo 65 and mostly really enjoyed the work. But when I turned 65 I decided it was time to really retire.....I may have to find more to do in the cold winter months.
 
Wow. So many great and thoughtful responses. Thank you all so much!

I guess I just need to allow the time for this "new normal" to settle in a little. Not only am I experiencing an unexpected early retirement, but having departed my career for the reasons I did, I am also working through the death of a dream. I am grieving the end of what was supposed to be a meaningful career as it came to a somewhat abrupt end.

I am certainly open to the possibility of going back to work or volunteering or any of the other options that were suggested... but I also know that I am not looking to just "busy myself" with a job I don't really care about or need. I guess I am hoping to stumble upon something that I will truly enjoy, even if in some small way.

Once again, I thank you all for your comments. I will certainly be poking around the rest of the forum, seeing what there is to see.
 
I felt the same way after early retirement at 56. I worked on reinventing myself - thru new hobbies. Some do this thru service to others. With your job, you had a focus and activities to support this focus. You need new activities. This article from Retirement Manifesto may be helpful Link Be sure and watch the TED talk
YES! I came across that TED Talk a couple of months back. It definitely helped give me some vocabulary for what am I going through, and what it is I hope to one day experience. Thank you.
 
Many years ago I stopped by a MacDonalds and engaged in a conversation with the older person that was washing the glass doors. Turns out he was 75 yrs old, retired and worked a couple 4 hour shifts a week just to get out of the house and see people. ( I think his spouse had passed) Oh, and he was an ex CFO for Boeing so I doubt he needed the money. It doesn't have to be about the money - it's about getting out.
Thank you. I really appreciate the example. Admittedly, I am quite the introvert, so finding the right kind of job "just to get out" is a bit challenging for me. I know that I need to be social, as I truly desire to create space for meaningful relationships... but I also know that working around lots of people where the relationships will largely be superficial at best would be draining for me. I think I just need to to keep my eyes open, and the right opportunity will come along eventually.
 
I found that it takes a bit of time to adjust. Work provides a certain structure to your life and now you need to find a new rhythm. It took me almost three years to get there.

I'd suggest just hanging in there, one day at a time and wait for that penny to drop. It will. I wouldn't commit to anything long term that might again lock you in, but rather enjoy each day for what it brings and know that it's just a matter of time.

Eventually every day will stop being "Saturday" and it will just become the way you live. Nineteen years in, I most often forget that I even had a career until I think about it.
Yes, this rings true to me. I am hesitant to jump into anything too quickly, as I feel like I am still just trying to figure things out. I have come across a couple of possible filler-jobs that might be a good enough fit... but a soon as I start to think about what taking such a position would "cost" me (i.e. not having the freedom to continue to get back into my hobbies, to learn to cook, to spend time with my son when he home from college, etc)... I decide to pass. I am already finding ways to fill each day, and so I am waiting until something comes along that really grabs me.
 
Hello Arnie,

Welcome to the forum. While you recognize that you are fortunate in some respects (family and financially) I believe that part of you is in a type of mourning for what should have been. Respect your feelings and give yourself time. The truth is you may, or you may not find another "dream vocation" and if you do not, you will in time make peace with, and come to embrace, your new reality. But like any loss, the grieving process does take time. In the meantime, work on your physical and emotional health, your relationships, and continue to explore non-work-related activities.

Take a peek at volunteering, and if you are ready, and are called to a particular organization, dip your toe in those waters. If you find a job that will fulfill your needs, great, the retirement police will not track you down.
You truly hit the nail on the head. While I in no way regret my decision to resign, I am deeply saddened by how things turned out. I am "mourning for what should have been" as you say. I have also been coming to terms with the reality that I will likely not find another "dream vocation" and am getting use to living a life that is (for lack of a better term) comparatively "insignificant" -- no more emails and texts blowing up my phone every minute of the day, and so on. There is a part of me that needs to heal, and I need to adjust to a whole new way of life.

Thank you for your insightful comments. It means a lot.
 
So many similarities. Wisconsin...check. Long time employee of a company that was making a difference...check. Company lost it's way, not illegal, but not a place that I wanted to work...check I resigned 18 months ago, in my late 50's.

I didn't think about what was next for six months. I was in tech, and afterwards took a couple courses in an area that I was interested in. But decided I didn't want a full time job in that area. I tried a part time job working with disabled people and really like it. I'll keep doing that. I volunteer one day a week. I'm learning a new language.

I felt lost after I quit. But I know I did the right thing. I still talk to former coworkers and things have only gotten worse. If I had to do it all over again, I would have been out the door earlier.

Oh, and we left Wisconsin and moved to a place without mosquitos. :)
Yes, so much in common! :) I too know that I did the right thing in resigning... and, yep, things just continue to get worse since my departure. I have no regrets about my decision, and I know I will celebrate it all the more as time goes by.

Wait... there are places without mosquitos? I've not heard of such a place... ;)
 
Transitioning into retirement can be stressful, even when it happens as planned.
Have you run firecalc? At what age does your wife plan to retire?
Give yourself time to find your new "normal".
If you desire to work or volunteer, search for opportunities that may energize you,
In the meantime, enjoy each day!
It is a gift
Thank you for your thoughts. In my head, I know that it is all a gift, and that I am very blessed to be in the situation that I am.

I have not run firecalc, but will certainly look into it to see if it aligns with the projections I have made elsewhere. I have primarily been using New Retirement, and have dabbled with ********. Is firecalc a better option?

My wife is currently working as a teacher's aide for Special Needs students during the school year, and then she works with horses and gives trail rides during the summer months... both of which she loves and finds great fulfilment in. She does not make all that much, but it meets our current needs, as we are content to live a fairly simple lifestyle. So, she does not have any set date planned to retire, and plans to work again this coming school-year.
 
I'm 53 too & been self employed for 5+ years doing what I enjoy. I also take time to do things for neighbors (mow grass when I'm already doing my own, help clean after the storms. Doing for others is really for you too.
 
Even after 11 years I still feel like I am drifting or floating a bit sometimes. I keep a list of things I want to work on or do and refer to my list as needed. Or I just sit down and relax or nap for a bit. But I know the feeling you are talking about.

I actually worked 8-10 hours a week for my son, from age 54 yo 65 and mostly really enjoyed the work. But when I turned 65 I decided it was time to really retire.....I may have to find more to do in the cold winter months.
It's funny that you mention working for your son. My son will be graduating from college in a year, and his degree is in an area that I also have some experience in. A few people have already asked me if we will be going to go into business together. Who knows... I am certainly open to something like that. If nothing else, I'd be willing to be an extra set of hands for him, as he tries to get something going.
 
It's funny that you mention working for your son. My son will be graduating from college in a year, and his degree is in an area that I also have some experience in. A few people have already asked me if we will be going to go into business together. Who knows... I am certainly open to something like that. If nothing else, I'd be willing to be an extra set of hands for him, as he tries to get something going.
Yes, I really enjoyed working with him and I do miss it. He owns an HVAC company and I was able to work from home. I learned a lot about HVAC and we always had something to talk about. It was very rewarding to watch him grow his business and to be a part of it.
 
Try going through the exercises in Zelinski’s retire happy book. The objective is to awaken excitement for activities that you have always been drawn to and enjoy - but may have put on the shelf during years of working. The other thing I find very helpful when I feel uneasy is to list and focus on the things I am grateful for. For me, gratitude yields contentment and peace of mind.

Growing excitement to have time for the activities I’ve always loved, but missed out on for years, makes me want to jump into the next chapter eagerly. Try putting some of these ideas down on paper. You may find yourself adding to that list as more & more ideas come to you. Then, the next thing you’ll be grateful for is that you’re not bogged down with that annoying job and can spend your time on things you really enjoy.
 
Ernie Zelinski's book "How to Retire Happy, wild , and Free" is a great book and the get a life tree exercise is one you can go back too often to add, review, etc.

Many folks here like Firecalc, and often use other retirement calculators also.
I like Firecalc and the ability to run different scenarios.
I re run it occasionally.
 
Hi Arnie. I am Dave and have been retired over 10 years now. I put in my paperwork back then at 56.

There is a bit of an adjustment after belonging to an organization and ideal. But when I left, I did not look back and it felt really good to be free. You now have a new world to discover and new friends to make. Many professionals only have their circle of professional friends and are limited by a lack of interests. But, it is important to push yourself and do things outside of your comfort zone. Join the local rock club, canoe/kayak club, take up beekeeping, hiking, hunting...the world is now in your pocket and out there waiting on you. Maybe take that archaeology class at the college. Learn to fly! The way I see it, people see the glass as either half empty or half full. Make sure you see it as half full. And going back to work...the cost of freedom ain't worth any amount of money to limit your life. You did enough of that in the past. This is my friendly way of saying Welcome to the Club...Come on in...The Water's Fine!
 
Your feelings are totally understandable and in line with why you left your organization. I'm sorry you found yourself in that predicament. One thing I noticed is that all of the things you're doing, while good in themselves, all sound solitary. I'm just wondering if you were working for an organization that had a purpose that you believed in, if you're missing that shared sense of camaraderie that your work brought you. There's nothing quite like team work. Since you're not wanting to go back to paid work (totally understandable to value your autonomy and time), I'm wondering if picking something to volunteer at one day a week would be helpful to jumpstart things a bit. Honestly, it doesn't have to be the "perfect" volunteer situation. Just pick anything remotely interesting and give it a try. They can't fire you, ha, and you can stop doing it any time. True story: my DH had forever dreamed of volunteering at an organization that he could see from his office window for decades. When he finally retired, he promptly went through their training and signed up to volunteer. He hated it. He was completely bored. He went through several different "opportunities" until he finally was asked if he could help out at a local thrift shop (a huge operation) that his church cycled through volunteering at every 6 weeks, for several days at a time. He has really enjoyed it! And as someone else mentioned here, it's not the work but the people you work with that make it fun. You'll find your way. Just be both patient with yourself and also willing to try just one volunteer gig. Keep at it until you find a volunteer situation that you enjoy or until something totally different (classes, hobby that involves other people, etc) comes along. And keep us posted!
 
Yes, so much in common! :) I too know that I did the right thing in resigning... and, yep, things just continue to get worse since my departure. I have no regrets about my decision, and I know I will celebrate it all the more as time goes by.

Wait... there are places without mosquitos? I've not heard of such a place... ;)
Thanks for sharing your story. I'm 53 and resigned from a "dumpster fire" a little over a year ago. After nearly two decades, I couldn't continue working for an organization that views things like diversity, inclusion, and even safety as boxes to check (and crimes to cover up) in order to carry on with business as usual. I spent last year on a half-time remote contract, but any morbid curiosity I had in watching the dumpster fire burn could not overcome the stench.

Similar to you, my better-half has a fulfilling career, and her income is sufficient to cover all our expenses. In addition, I still pick up consulting projects that effectively doubles our monthly income. However, I prioritize recreation, time with friends/family and community service over consulting projects. We just returned from a two week trip to visit my family, but otherwise I've been mountain biking 5-6 days a week since mid-May. Before that, I was skiing 4-5 days a week all winter. In addition, I had been volunteering with some local non-profits for a long time and, leading up to my resignation, I became more involved with those organizations (joining the board, etc.). I'm an extreme introvert, and so it's good for me to participate on boards where I can collaborate with others for a shared purpose. In that area, I have had extraordinary success and have now seen these organizations flourish over the past few years.

These forums were incredibly helpful as I planned my departure, and feeling good about our financials gave me time to process that perceived loss of a career. So congrats on your resignation!
 
So many similarities. Wisconsin...check. Long time employee of a company that was making a difference...check. Company lost it's way, not illegal, but not a place that I wanted to work...check I resigned 18 months ago, in my late 50's.

I didn't think about what was next for six months. I was in tech, and afterwards took a couple courses in an area that I was interested in. But decided I didn't want a full time job in that area. I tried a part time job working with disabled people and really like it. I'll keep doing that. I volunteer one day a week. I'm learning a new language.

I felt lost after I quit. But I know I did the right thing. I still talk to former coworkers and things have only gotten worse. If I had to do it all over again, I would have been out the door earlier.

Oh, and we left Wisconsin and moved to a place without mosquitos. :)
Leaving Wisconsin is a good start. Cost of moving along with aging parents that need my help keep me in Wisconsin even though I despise the place for the 7 coldest months of the year and tolerate it for the other 5.
 
I'm 53 too & been self employed for 5+ years doing what I enjoy. I also take time to do things for neighbors (mow grass when I'm already doing my own, help clean after the storms. Doing for others is really for you too.
Wow that's great that you are able to do that. I can't imagine being able to mow another persons lawn right after doing mine. I have to take a lot of OTC pain meds and a couple breaks to mow my own lawn. No way i'm doing another one too.
 
Make sure your profile is up to date on LinkedIn. Someone may just offer you a consulting opportunity that's tough to turn down. This may be just what you need in terms of social contacts and to lose the "lost puppy" persona. Some easy money to blow on stuff isn't too bad either.
 
Wow that's great that you are able to do that. I can't imagine being able to mow another persons lawn right after doing mine. I have to take a lot of OTC pain meds and a couple breaks to mow my own lawn. No way i'm doing another one too.
No biggie. Maybe 15 minutes for the front.
 
Leaving Wisconsin is a good start. Cost of moving along with aging parents that need my help keep me in Wisconsin even though I despise the place for the 7 coldest months of the year and tolerate it for the other 5.
Wowza.
I thought Wisconsin had great cheese 🧀 and great beer 🍺.
Have I been wrong all along?
 
Wowza.
I thought Wisconsin had great cheese 🧀 and great beer 🍺.
Have I been wrong all along?
Not enough to make up for 7 months of excessive cold IMO. There are worse places though.
 
I've spent a couple of summer vacations visiting Wisconsin. Lovely in summer! Nice weather. Would never go there in winter, however.
 
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