What Are Your Retirement Challenges?

As my retirement turned into an unplanned roller coaster ride with ups and downs I’ve wondered about my readers’ experience in the time of Covid, inflation and other uncertainties.  I think of all the retirees planning to travel by air or land or spend leisurely days on the golf course or tennis courts, beach or lakes.  There are the dreamers of a long awaited tour of other countries or an RV adventure.  People who want to start a second career or volunteer, take classes, start a new hobby, spend more time with grandkids. You’ve heard about my journey; now tell me something about your experiences.  

By asking you to share your experience with others I believe we’ll find we have a lot in common.  Sharing can create change, a feeling of community and the knowledge we aren’t alone.  Oftentimes, we keep our battles hidden.  I deliberately exposed mine through this blog hoping to help other retirees work out what I saw as common dilemmas from identity loss to how to fill our time.  Reading the comments to some of my posts helped me realize I wasn’t alone and gave me insight and ideas I might, otherwise, have not encountered.

At one time I really thought my retirement was over.  Maybe even an enjoyable life would never come again.  But, I found I had more resilience and strength than I ever thought possible.  Enter Covid.  I thought the world had gone to hell in a hand basket.  Being house bound was difficult; going out with a demented husband was even more difficult.  Getting him to wear a mask, social distance, use hand sanitizer took all my patience some days.  I thought retirement couldn’t become more difficult, but then I thought of the people around the world suffering far more than I and Martin.  For years now, I call Tuesday Gratituesday as a way to be sure I count the good things in my life at least one day a week.  That kept me going with hope.

What have you faced my friends?  Did Covid or some other event derail your retirement plans?  Did you work and continue to work?  Did you retire early?  Did you shelve plans to travel or golf or visit museums or wineries or other parts of your country?  Now we are experiencing high inflation.  It’s higher than it’s been in decades.  There are supply chain issues.  Travel is expensive and from what I’ve seen on TV air travel is frustrating as flights are canceled or delayed.  Are you like me and experienced a health crisis with your partner or yourself?  The list can go on and on.  

Retirement is much like our pre-retirement lives – stuff happens.  What challenges have you encountered.  How have you handled those challenges?  Did you handle the challenges?  Let’s help each other by sharing.  We’re all on this journey together.

Happy Gratituesday!

21 comments on “What Are Your Retirement Challenges?

    • Yes, I think being retired certainly helped weather the pandemic. It was hard not getting out a lot or seeing other people. But, not having to go to work and choosing when we did go out softened the blow Covid delivered to us all. Thank you for your comment.

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  1. Hi Kathy, I’m happy to see you blogging again. I hope the new house is coming along. Yours was the very first blog I found that had the kind of content I sought in my pre-retirement days. Your devastating turn of fate with your husband helped me keep perspective when I started my retirement suddenly crippled with arthritis (not the walking, hiking, biking boon time I had planned upon). We have to believe in our ability to adapt; we have a lifetime of wisdom behind us to help. Change and contingency planning are a key part of this life phase. Thanks for being there!

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    • Hi Annie, I’m sorry to hear about your arthritis. That had to have been devastating as you were planning on being so physically active.
      I’m reminded of what Darwin did say about survival and I’m paraphrasing here. But, basically he said survival is not to the most intelligent or the fittest; survival is to the most adaptable. Like you, I’ve had to believe in my ability to adapt to the curveballs thrown my way by life. I’m planning an blog update on my house situation so stay tuned. Thank you for your comment!

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  2. Hi Kathy. I had enjoyed reading your blog for years even before I retired. My heart goes out to you and Martin for all of the things that life has thrown at you. My husband and I retired four years ago. We were financially prepared for retirement. I had hand surgery, which was why I retired a year earlier than planned. We did get to enjoy one year of travel and doing what we wanted. Right after I retired, I felt the calling of the Lord in my life. I began to read the Bible more, joined a new church and found myself becoming a born-again Christian. I was baptized again and found community with fellow Christians. This transformation of my whole being was not on my retirement bucket list and it was a surprise to me. Then Covid hit. My son was exhibiting signs of severe mental illness. He lives with us and was recently diagnosed with schizophrenia. We have put our travel plans on hold. My son is doing well right now, however, things could change it anytime. God prepared me in advance for all of the trials that were coming with Covid, my sons’ mental illness, being locked down with a severely mentally ill person and Each of us having Covid twice, even though we were vaccinated. Despite what was going on in my home and in the world, I was at complete peace. It is the peace that defies all understanding. It only can come from Jesus. I had tried yoga and meditation for years and nothing is like the peace and faith that I now have.

    I’m convinced there is no normal retirement. All the planning in the world, especially all the financial planning, means nothing if you don’t have your health or the health of your loved one. My own mother died in 1980 at 54 years old, shortly after my dad retired.

    I don’t respond or comment on blogs, however I wanted to share what God has done in my life. Someone else out there might be looking for this peace especially during these turbulent times in our world. May God bless all of your readers. I was unable to post this comment as I had to have an account on the domain and really wasn’t able to set that up. My best wishes for a healthy retirement.

    Respectfully, Linda Kelly

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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    • Hi Linda, I’m sorry to hear about your son, but happy to hear of your spiritual journey and how it has helped you. I have a spiritual guide that I read every morning. It does help to have a spiritual connection and just trust everything is ok in our universe. I agree there is no normal retirement as life continues to happen with an occasional curveball thrown in our direction. I appreciate your willingness to share as you are correct in that you may help someone else. Thank you for your comment and thank you for letting me know you had to be registered to comment. I didn’t realize I had enabled that. I never intended to make it difficult to comment. God bless.

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  3. I retired in 2012 from teaching and almost immediately had to deal with a cancer diagnosis. Multiple surgeries and chemo kept me busy for the next 2 years. Transitioning back to a normal retiree life was unsatisfying for me but I wasn’t sure what needed to change. Covid prevented me from participating in Yoga classes and book club and uninspiring lunches. When I wasn’t allowed to volunteer at my granddaughters elementary school due to Covid restrictions I decided to start substitute teaching there. Great move-I feel like I am helping out with the sub shortages…I love being around the kids…I like the socializing with peers at school…I found the retirement life I like living. Covid was a positive in effecting this change.

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    • Nancy I’m so glad to hear your happy ending. Sometimes the worst experiences can lead to the best experiences. In retirement we still need meaning and purpose in our lives. It sounds like you found a solution that brings you satisfaction. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. Well K,
    Retirement has had its ups and downs with COVID but my hubby and I have decided we’re not going down without a a big fight!
    We live in Florida which literally said “The Hell with COVID restrictions and masks”. So we’ve both had COVID but thanks to a merciful Savior have lived to tell about it!
    In our 5 year retirement we have traveled to Alaska, Europe, Texas and Nashville. We have taken up hiking in parks and weight lifting in our local gym with a free membership thanks to our medical plan. We each purchased the car of our dreams and enjoy time with our grandchildren often!
    Overall we must say retirement has been kind to us and we live with an extremely grateful heart daily !

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    • Maria I’m hearing that despite the ups and downs brought about by Covid you and your hubby are pushing through with some great experiences. Being grateful for what we have often helps maintain our positive outlook. It’s a whole lot better than sinking into despair. Thank you for sharing your grateful heart.

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  5. I’m basically an introvert. I mean that although I love time with friends, I need quiet time to recover from social time. So covid hasn’t bothered me as much as it bothers people who are much more extroverted and need social time to be happy.
    I became a writer.

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  6. Right at the start of COVID, my mother fell and suffered a traumatic brain injury, which changed our lives in a minute. COVID made navigating through that and finding a place for my dad beyond difficult. I’ve lost the freedom that comes with retirement and every decision has to consider my dad (my mom died in December of 2020). I try not to let it get to me but I always feel a huge weight of responsibility. And my dad is terribly unhappy which makes it all even tougher. I know it’s all part of life but it wasn’t what I expected for my retirement.

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    • I’m so sorry for your loss. I can relate to what you have been handed by life. I found talking to a therapist helped me work through the challenge of loss and grief. The loss wasn’t only losing my husband to dementia, but also the loss of retirement plans and expectations. This is a tough situation for anyone so don’t be too hard on yourself. That’s easy for me to say, but you have done the best you could do. You cannot make your dad happy; only he can do that. Now, it’s time to take care of yourself and make some new retirement plans. I’ll be thinking of you.

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  7. Kathy, It is lovely to see you back writing. I think my transition into retirement helped me when the pandemic hit. I missed being with people, missed my theater-going, missed my dinners out. But I was able to shift into a learning mode and studied a number of different topics over the two years. I was also extremely thankful we had two wonderful homes (we split time between them – cocooning in each). Also thankful I did not have to worry about shifting to a work-from-home mindset, deal with school age children, or have to go into an exposed work environment. [I eventually did get Covid (even vaxxed and boosted), but it was very manageable.]

    I’ve seen two major shifts in my retirement so far 1) dealing with cancer which resulted in me stopping (and not restarting) my consulting work and publishing my book. Both kinda big effects! 2) moving full time to Florida which really wasn’t in the plan early on. I’m still working through that move dynamic – we are just 15 months here. But I’m really happy with where we are – both physically & emotionally. I know there will be other changes to face going forward, but I’ll deal with them when they come.

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    • Pat, I’m happy to be back writing…at least more often. As you know, writing is a habit. I’m also glad you are happy with your choice to move to Florida full-time. That’s a huge change, but I seem to remember you took your time making a transition to your new location. Very wise.

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      • You are right. I did think through the move transition and plan for it. A bit different than my retirement transition with no plan! I guess that might be why I’m feeling settled more quickly. Thanks for reminding me of that!

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  8. Kathy, Thanks for initiating this discussion. Covid definitely threw me for a loop. I live alone and have high needs for solitude, and I had carefully structured a variety of activities into my retirement life to keep me connected with others. Then, almost all those forms of connection were cancelled, and I discovered that imposed solitude is very different from chosen solitude. I am blessed with a resilient, upbeat personality, and I quickly began problem-solving to keep connected with others. Zoom was a godsend, as I hosted online family gatherings to replace in-person visits (none of my family live nearby, and I did not see any of them in person for a year and a half) and took and taught online courses for my local senior college (lifelong learning program). Even my choral singing group had some Zoom “rehearsals” to keep us connected. Very early in the pandemic, I decided that I needed to remind myself about the sources of richness in my life, and for a year I wrote a blog called “Daily Delights” in which I reflected on all the small delights I was experiencing.

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    • Jean, it’s good to hear from you. Your insight about chosen solitude vs imposed solitude struck home with me. I’m an extrovert, but need my me time. My activities were already limited with caregiving for Martin. Then Covid came along. I’m so happy to hear you found ways to circumvent the imposed solitude. Sometimes an event like Covid causes us to become resourceful beyond our imaginations. I enjoy your gardening blog. Now that I live in Michigan it provides much needed inspiration.

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  9. Kathy, I really enjoy your blog! I retired a year ago at age 58 to turn my attention to health issues (osteoporosis and knee replacement). I am fit and active though and have never looked back. Recently I helped coordinate the health care needs of three Afghan refugee families sponsored by my church. One challenge for me is that work provided a lot of structure of course, so I am constantly assessing whether I am making good use of my time. I would love to hear more about your daily routines (fitness, health, beauty, nutrition) and progress on your new home. Also, how do we nurture friendships at this stage? Thank you, Kathy, for your wonderful blog.

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    • Margaret, I’m glad to hear your challenges have had a good outcome. It’s wonderful to hear about your caring for the needs of refugees. I wouldn’t worry too much about use of time. However, since you asked, I’ll answer with some blogging about my routines. Thank you for your lovely comment!

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