Friday, July 16, 2010

Retirement Blues

Sydney Lagier has written a thought-provoking article over at US News & World Report on 10 Retirement Let-downs. (You may know the author better as "Retired Syd" who blogs at Retirement: A Fulltime Job.)

I freely admit that several of the items on her list are my main non-financial worries about my own retirement--never mind that retirement for me is 8 years off.

I recognize my personal capacity to become a hermit. And I also realize that I have a restless nature that is not likely to be happy about that. I do believe that maintaining relationships is important but I also know that death and job loss contribute to the loss of relationships as we become older. Where are the articles on how to make new friends when one is past age 60?

Not all of the concerns Syd listed are ones I share. Take it from me, Grace will NOT be moving to the country when she retires. I love my urban environment, access to good public transportation and the plain excitement of city living. Right now I live ten minutes from the downtown core--but one of the things I'm going to seriously consider when I retire, is moving to the center of my city.

Nor do I have a Mr. Grace to consider. Sounds like Syd thinks that's all to the good.

At any rate, as her article shows, there are a lot more than just financial considerations to be given to thoughts of one's retirement.


Nicole said...

I was just at a talk yesterday about how to keep older brains and bodies healthy and active and functioning, even when there's a chronic condition involved.

An interesting finding was that although a lot of research has been done on training people in specific memory and other cognition tasks using computers, older folks do retain those improved skills, but ONLY in the computer environment. They don't bleed over (transfer) into real life.

What they did find helped a lot was having folks do volunteer work. Something about getting up and having a place to go was amazingly helpful. Feeling needed helped a lot. Walking to the bus added exercise. All these different things had wide-ranging effects across all aspects of life.

They also found positive improvements with introducing complicated video games, both first person shooter and real-time strategy games... apparently youth are playing too many video games but older folks are playing too few!

The point of all this... work does a lot of those positive things. It's important for health and cognition and life to compensate for the loss of work in retirement. Watching less tv and doing more stuff improves all sorts of things as we age.

Anita said...

I like the fact that you're preparing, planning...not taking things for granted.

Retired Syd said...

Thanks for the link, Grace. Stay tuned, a little good news in next week's post . . .

Anonymous said...

You should realize that this top ten list, is Syd's top ten list. Not everyone has to endure such hardships in retirement.
#1-you are no longer important? to whom? Transient co-workers and bosses who come and go? When you put family above all others, you're NEVER alone nor unimportant.
#2. Replaceable? Your family can not replace you. There is only 1 mother, wife, aunt, cousin, etc.
#3. I have more friends after retirement than before. Why? Because now I have time for social engagements, like yoga, sailing (meet oodles of like-minded friends here)and have joined sewing clubs, garden clubs, book-of-the month clubs. If Syd had a boring life before retirement, she's guaranteed a boring one afterwards.
#4. Much more married? Absolutely! I haven't had this much sex since i said 'I quit" instead of 'I do'. Helps to have a younger hubby also. Oh yeah! Plus, no birth control required. Is this TMI?
#5. I have PLENTY of places to be. See #3. Best part are my long lunches and waking up in the morning or going to bed at night whenever I dam well please.
#6. Friends find me WAY more interesting than before. Rather than heay about my data entry days or bookkeeping adventures, I plan and give great dinner parties, can make a mean Cosmopolitan for when the girls come over, travel more and have become much more mischevious in my older age. I tend to laugh more, live more and am certainly NOT boring. I read more (so natch I have more interesting conversations because I can talk about ANYTHING with ANYONE now).
#7. Never gambled, visited a casino, bought a lottery ticket or played bingo. I invest ALL my money and watch it grow. I get a better thrill up my leg by investing successfully.
#8. At the end of the day, I always ask myself 'what did you accomplish today?' I'm never short on words.
#9. I still commute to the city despite living rural (on a 3.5 acre estate). Give me a break, will ya? If you plan your retirement correctly, you can have both.
#10. No more office parties? Thank God! WhoTF wants to see their drunken boss or 2 fellow co-workers doing 'it' in the back of their secretary's car? If you answered 'yes' then, obviously you have other needs that must be met before considering retirement.

Sounds like Syd isn't having a good time in retirement. Don't let it sway you.

Just saying.

Retired Syd said...

Hey Morrison/Joe, I noticed you didn't seem to have a problem with Grace joining her friends at a time-share this week. I guess it's just me you have the problem with. (Sydney the moocher).

Grace. said...

Syd? Who's Joe?

I didn't read the article to say that Syd had all those issues, but that she saw the possiblility of those issues cropping up and was sounding a warning. Since I think I could easily fall into some of those traps, I appreciate the heads up. And Morrison, any time you want to send that younger husband of yours to visit the Pacific NW, keep in mind that I'm always willing to meet new friends!

MasterPo said...

Sounds more like that article is about missing work rather than "problems" of retiring.

The answer is simple - don't retire!

Shevy said...

Morrison (and Grace!), you cougar! LOL

SaralehB said...

What causes retirement blues might vary from person to person, but my tracking what happens as we adjust to retirement certainly suggests that if you're prone to the blues at all it's likely to be harder when you retire since there's less distraction. Some of Syd's blues-focus I share, some not. Still, even after nearly 2 years at this I find myself in days/weeks of a blue funk and feeling somewhat lost. It isn't about being busy enough; it's something else that I'm still really trying to put my finger on. Meanwhile I'll continue exploring this interesting time in life and hope others will join in my quest.