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Born in the 50s

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Discussion Forum


Started by Mike. Last reply by Alysoun Nov 30, 2018. 24 Replies

Buying A House

Started by Tekwriter. Last reply by Tekwriter Oct 6, 2018. 13 Replies

Comment Wall


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Comment by Tekwriter on September 15, 2018 at 1:09pm

I am beginning to pack. I keep running across Gary's shirts and it is hard. I packed up His urn and Jack's box. I ended up crying most of the morning. I did not expect it to be so hard.

Comment by Barzan on September 13, 2018 at 6:24am

Hoping on the retirement wagon.  I retired 2 years after my husband passed.  My job, too, was very stressful.  I worked in the healthcare industry that took my to D.C. several times a year to deal with Congress on $$.  It was the catalyst to retirement.  I also took that position right after my husband passed because of our manager.  Two weeks after he passed, she told me get back to work and get over it.  The resentment was too much for me and when this position came up, I jumped on it.  I ran the compliance department single handed and so it took my mind of my grief for at least 8-9 hours a day.

My great health insurance took care of almost the entire cost of care for my husband through his battle with cancer and hospice.  Even though I had to endure such hatred from my manager, it was worth not having the burden of medical expenses to deal with after he passed.

I do love retirement.  I have close friends that I can do things with and they help immensely in not focusing on my grief.  it has been just over 7 years and I am doing better.  Having the freedom of travel, exercising when the gym isn't crowded, shopping when not the working people are doing it and the list goes on.  

My mom is in assisted living recovering from a stroke so that takes up some of my time but glad that I have the time to dedicate to her.  

Comment by riet on September 12, 2018 at 8:23am

Dear Susan and Bergen, thank you so much for your comments. I am really touched by your friendship. 

A lot of hugs to both of you.

Comment by NancyD on September 12, 2018 at 8:15am

I retired three years ago from a career as teacher and school administrator.  I had happy plans of all sorts of things I would be doing.  Turns out Fate had a different plan for me:  Out of the blue I developed severe back pain (ultimately had surgery) and then my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer.  When he died last September, I suddenly found myself feeling "retired" for the first time-having my health, time and freedom to create whatever daily life I wanted.  But the grief was so overwhelming I couldn't rally myself to do much of anything. The best thing I did was to volunteer to help teach reading in a first grade classroom two mornings a week.  It made me get up, get dressed, and got me out of the house to somewhere where folks---kids and adults--- were happy to see me and I felt like I was doing something valuable.  So grateful for those mornings.  This year, a (very) part-time job opportunity coaching new teachers came my way and I took it. I am really enjoying it! I had never anticipated "going back to work" once I retired.  So you never know.  

I do have lots of time to myself and I am finding lots to do:  I spend time with my children and grandchildren, I do art projects and take classes, I putter around the house doing all sorts of things that were put off the last few years, I read, I take small trips, I go to lunch with friends.  One of the most challenging parts of retirement (and widowhood) for me has been figuring out how to manage my finances.  I am fortunate that I have enough but oh! do I ever wish that Frank were here to advise me!  I find it very intimidating and overwhelming to make financial decisions. 

Comment by NoLongerInBergenJC on September 12, 2018 at 7:20am

@Susan:  I could have written CarLady's post, except that I retired January 31, my husband passed away 5 years ago NEXT month, and my manager was AWFUL during my husband's illness and death.  But like her company, my employer also went through a lot of management and process changes, and the whole environment changed...not for the better.  I had reached burnout, so I quit.  This may mean that I have no health insurance for 11 months between the time my COBRA runs out and Medicare kicks in, but I have not regretted it for a minute.  It's funny how many of us left because of corporate toxicity.

7 months into retirement, I really enjoy this new life.  I miss the social part of work, but often that interfered with my ability to concentrate.  And of course it was nice to get a paycheck every two weeks instead of tapping the money I'd saved for so long. 

But like Tess, I had long thought that if it is ever ME on that table being told I have cancer, I don't want to have to think that working for a bunch of managers who are only interested in their own careers was how I spent my time.  It's bad enough that I spent the last five years of my husband's life neglecting him emotionally because of how stressful my job was.  On the other hand, that job allowed him to have the best care without bankrupting us financially, because it came with very good insurance.

I spend too much time on the computer now, I will admit.  But I socialize more, I'm able to go to hear live music on a Sunday night or a weeknight, I joined a wellness center and go for workouts, tai chi classes, and I'm considering trying bhangra dance workouts.  We have Osher learning classes here because we have two major universities (I highly recommend looking into this).  

Then there's the flexibility -- I can easily schedule medical appointments.  I can get my hair cut in the middle of a weekday.  We don't realize how much we work our weekends around grocery shopping and dentists and errands and such.

So what I would say is if you can afford it, go for it!!

Comment by Tess on September 12, 2018 at 5:53am

Susan, good for you! I look at that date and it seems so far off, but will be here before you know it. You will certainly know how to fill your time. I don't know if you've heard, but retirees generally say, I don't know how I worked because now I am so busy.

I retired one month short of the one year anniversary of my husband's death. I had wanted to retire since I was about 55, so I didn't do it abrubtly or with little thought. Initially, I was going to retire six months after his death, but determined I wasn't ready yet. Those extra months made a lot of difference for me emotionally. My philosophy always was, if I need to alter my lifestyle financially to be done with work, so be it.

For me, there was just something wrong with giving away (if work is not rewarding) the one thing you're given in this life - time. The other thing you're given is your health. I say retire while you have it if you are able.

Comment by CarLady on September 12, 2018 at 4:55am

Susan - I retired January 1st this year. My DH passed away 5 years ago this month.  It was a huge decision and I thought about it for 2 years.  It turned out to be the best decision for me, as like you my workplace was undergoing huge changes in management and process.  I was unhappy with what the future would look like and wanted to leave under the best possible circumstances and feeling good about my contributions to the company. They were really great and supportive during my husbands illness and death, and held my job during several long leaves of absence when he was ill, and bereavement afterwards.  New management which has come on board in the last couple of years have changed company culture for the worse unfortunately.  I’m happily retired 9 months now, joined a gym, garden, read, socialize, and am taking a trip for the first time in many years.  I didn’t think work was stressful, but upon leaving I realized it took quite a toll always striving to meet objectives and rate highly on performance reviews.  I’m sure I made the right decision, and wish you all the best with whatever you decide.  

Comment by Athena53 on September 12, 2018 at 4:26am

Susan, I retired at age 61 when corporate politics got toxic.  I'd planned to work till 65 but had been working and saving my entire adult life and the numbers were good.  That was 2014, two years before Ron died.  It was a very good decision.

I'm involved in a lot of things- I travel, I have two wonderful granddaughters 3 hours away, 'm in the Garden club, on the HOA Board, and involved in church stuff.  I could go on! I also get to the gym every day and am in better shape than I've been in years.  I think it helps that I have a lot of interests and money isn't a problem, but to me it's been a blessing,  I hope it is for you, too.

Comment by booktime (Susan) on September 12, 2018 at 4:09am

I have decided to retire on June 30, 2019. This is big for me and earlier than I thought. But it is time. I need to leave before work really sours for me and I need to experience a different life. I want to travel, take courses, volunteer, concentrate on my fiber arts, and generally relax. Not be woken up by work thoughts at 4 AM. I know others have retired. Any comments or stories to share on this experience?

Comment by NoLongerInBergenJC on September 12, 2018 at 3:30am

Oh, riet....5 months is so little, and in some ways it is the beginning of an even worse time because the numbness is wearing off.  But I want to say something:  I've read your posts.  And I will tell you that the ME who is riet is hardly "miserable poor."  You are a loving, giving, sensitive person.  If you weren't, you wouldn't have such a strong support system.  

My mother had early-stage lung cancer when she was 65.  She had half a lung removed.  They gave her exercises to do to expand the remaining lung capacity sufficiently so that she could breathe normally.  That half-lung had to learn to handle the load.  She didn't do the prescribed exercises and so she had shortness of breath for the rest of her life.  

You are someone who devoted her life to others up to this point.  And you still will, and you still should.  But you are like the lung cancer patient who has to do work to get the remaining part of the lung to expand its capacity.  You WILL find the "ME" that isn't "miserable poor."  It can be hard, when you've always put others first.  I know this is very different but I put all my hobbies and interests -- writing, counted cross stitch, home improvements -- on hold when I started my last job.  That job pretty much ate my life and now that I'm retired, I have to figure out if what I enjoyed then is what I enjoy now.  

Give yourself time.  Susan has given you wise advice below.  This grief journey is a long road and there are no shortcuts.  You don't really "heal" in the sense of "getting over it."  What you do is find a place for it in a life that has changed.  You will get that extra capacity of the soul.  Be kind to yourself and give it time.


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