Passages of Retirement: Personal Histories of Struggle and Success

By Richard S. Prentis | Go to book overview

11
Retirement Blues

Whatever the nature of your decision about retirement activities, it should be a personal one founded on your particular areas of pleasure and fulfillment. These decisions, for some people, are not made immediately; often a transition period takes place which may be pleasant or painful. This transition involves both fact and feeling. The fact that you are no longer employed is self-evident, but your feelings about it all may prove to be much more difficult to get a handle on. If you wake one morning, feeling listless, puzzled by the lack of desire to do almost anything, you may very well be in the clutches of the retirement blues.

If retirement blues are one of your problems when you leave the world of work, be comforted--we have all experienced them in one form or another. But during your working years, the cause of depression was less obscure--job stress, family arguments, problems with the kids, bills, and so forth. The difference now is that you are confused; you cannot think of any particular reason for your state of mind.

One thing is certain: You are experiencing many changes when you retire. A change in hours and schedule is unavoidable. Perhaps you are suffering from your previous "time binding," when you were chained to time ( Suinn, 1976). You are looking at different faces, the conversation is not work related, and possibly this is the first time in your life when the daily pressure and stress is gone.

Dr. R. H. Hirschowitz of Harvard Medical School suggests one reason for your feelings. He states: "It is axiomatic that all changes involve loss. Whenever men give up their attachment to familiar places, people,

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