~ Intertwining Lives ~

Memoirs, Life's Journey, Fitness/Health, Hiking/Trailing!

Retirement/Loneliness ~ August 24, 2013 ~


I am a 62-year-old female who recently retired from state government. I’m wondering how to cope with retirement, the loneliness, and what to plan for my future. Here is what my day and thoughts are about thus far:

After being awakened during the night by the thunder, I finally rested until about 6:30 am. In the past, I would jump out of bed and think that the day was half over and I needed to do something. Well, today I took a leisurely approach. I stepped out to view the rain that had fallen, took my vitamins, fed the dogs and then made coffee. I got on FB and looked at Cassie’s Hawaiian pictures for a while. I then got on the treadmill and read my nook while walking a mile. Only afterwards, then I did sit down with my coffee and continued reading from my nook.
Once my eyes started to blur, I got up and fixed a salad and read some more while eating.

All the while, I look around and think about what on earth am I going to do for myself? I read through the Goodyear magazine and found some things that might interest me, such as a boxing class, a belly dancing class, an emergency preparedness class, and outdoor concerts. But then I think about how boring that is to do these things by myself. I then lecture myself that it would be nothing new to be by myself and it would do me good to get out of the house….which brings me to an ever growing problem of retirement adjustment and facing loneliness head-on.
I recently had a discussion about retirement and loneliness with my 32-year-old daughter Katie and my 34-year-old son Alex.
The loneliness existed before my semi-retirement. As I seem to have made a decision to live by myself for countless years, my loneliness has been ever present, but pretty much ignored. After all, I had work, family, grandkids and friends to keep me occupied. Work consumed most of my time because I, over the countless years, grew into a workaholic, working into the nights and on the weekends. This workaholic business happened many years ago while my children were young. I was a single parent and felt the BURN to get ahead. In order to get ahead, I had to work harder than my male and female counterparts. I also had to go back to school and get that Master’s degree. I existed for years on 4-5 hours of sleep….and even to this day it is hard for me to sleep longer than 4-5 hours at a time. At least I’m napping now. Ha.

All these hours kept me away from finding a real mate or friend where we shared our lives together. Adults need, no, CRAVE, this partnership. We fill up our hours with work, kids, grandkids, social friends. But what happens when everyone goes home or moves away? Our loneliness becomes palatable. You can taste it. And it can weigh you down. You begin to think about “what is the point” of doing any of those things you love to do because there is no one to share it with; no one to laugh or cry or just enjoy the moment with. (I know, I know. I should not end a sentence with “with”. Sorry to all my teachers.)

So, the headlights of loneliness flashed right in my face when I retired from state government. It seemed that I no longer had a purpose to my day. I no longer had work friends with which to communicate. I no longer had a direction. After working more than 40 years, this was like an avalanche of stark nakedness to my soul. What on earth will I do? What is my continued purpose?
Fortunately, my 36-year-old daughter Cassie came up with an idea and a proposal to work for her for about 30 hours a week in their PV solar business. This job gave me a reason to get out of bed and a purpose to my mornings. I have also created RENLDZ Consulting, LLC, a “very” part-time job consulting on behavioral health records and clinical practices.
And what did I do in the afternoons? I think I slept them away for a month or so. I was simply exhausted. This exhaustion was the result of not having to have my adrenaline pumping 24/7, as it did in my state career, which began in 1985.

Responsible parents care for their children. They live and breathe for their children. And then they live and breathe for their grandchildren. I think parents never stop parenting and wanting the closeness of their families. When those children move on to their own lives, it is gut-wrenching. It is necessary for their growth, but it is gut-wrenching for the parent who cares and is left behind.

Realizing this, I mourn that I left my mother for school and jobs. We were two of a kind and I feel I left her to fend for herself, even though she had Dad. My sister also lived close to her. My mother and I were soul mates; I cannot describe our relationship differently. However, my mother wanted me to LIVE and be INDEPENDENT. She wanted to see me accomplish those things she could not. She grew up and lived in a time when women were encouraged to be dependent on their husband for all things. I find myself feeling weepy now that she is gone. I miss her. I need her. Above anyone else, I knew she always had my back because she always loved me unconditionally and often protected me. She was always there for me. She believed in me and gave me courage to strike out and become independent. But now, because I’m feeling lonely, I feel like I am somehow a disappointment to her.
And as I look around my home, feeling sorry for myself because I don’t have friends or kids to tool around with, I wonder what my next direction will be. What will I build out of this nothingness called retirement that we are all supposed to look forward to? Would it be better if I had a husband so we could travel together? Would it be better if I had a good friend so we could travel together?

I have many talents, or used to. I oil paint. I sew. I’m good with other crafts. I’m good with organization. Well, I used to have these talents. When I think about doing something, such as painting or sewing, I’m stuck. I think what is the point? What am I doing for myself, for others? What is the point to taking a trip by myself? What is the point in going to a movie? Painting? Hiking? Frankly, I’m tired of being alone. Well, my 31-year-old son Luke tools around with me some, but he cannot fill this void for me just like I cannot fill it for him. I want to find that special someone to love and be loved. And if that doesn’t happen, then I NEED TO REDEFINE my life once again. It is ironic that I once thought that I never needed another adult to love me. Now, I realize I am craving this; craving to not go through the next 30 years alone.
I realize I’m grieving. I’m grieving the life I made for myself. I’m slugging through my days trying to carve a new life. Only time will tell what I come up with to enjoy the remainder of my years; only time and some seriously hard work on my part. As my mom would say, “pull up the bootstraps, Patty, and get tough! get moving!”. God bless her! I think I shall, after I rest this afternoon (smile). Then I will think some more about getting out of this mindless, self-pity rut I seem to be experiencing of late.
Over the years, I’ve realized that grieving is a natural state in life. I have learned to allow myself to grieve. I know, however, that it is important to not wallow in this grief. So, I do know that I must move ahead and plan some things that will give me purpose and get me out of the house and active among other similar adults.

Although the day is nearly over and I can feel good about cooking that steak I bought a little earlier than normal, I plan to sit and watch some movies so I can continue to escape what is facing me. Perhaps tomorrow I will make some more plans and commitments. Yes, Mom. I will pull up the bootstraps. I always do, don’t I?


Author: pattyraz51

05/18/2020: Hi to my fellow bloggers and/or readers!! I am 69 years of age. I have raised four lovely children as a single mother and those children have provided me with 8 lovely grandchildren, to date. I retired from nearly 30 years working in state government in March 2013. I worked mostly in management positions and as an investigator. As a child, I was affectionately called an “Air Force brat”. Our family lived in several countries and states before settling in central Illinois. In 1998, I moved to Arizona and call this my home. Since my retirement, I have worked in the solar industry and have developed a passion for trail hiking. I have returned back to some of my artsy roots and have made pottery, jewelry and painted. I am also writing and committing myself to developing my blog. I hope to bring comfort, motivation and inspiration to fellow bloggers and/or readers. I have a passion for life’s journey and hope this carries me for the next 30 years. Warm Regards.

3 thoughts on “Retirement/Loneliness ~ August 24, 2013 ~

  1. Pingback: Retirement/Loneliness ~ August 24, 2013 ~ | ~ Intertwining Lives ~

  2. Thanks for being so honest about what you are going through. I have watched you be an independent, hardworking, dependable parent. I have seen you deny your own needs, so that you can take care of the needs of others. You deserved to be loved! Not just by your kids- who love you to death, but by a mate. I’m determined to help you get back out there (to date) haha. If you are being this vulnerable on a blog for the entire world to see, you can defiantly risk the inconveniences and oddities of trying to meet someone new. Of course loving yourself, and letting God really love you, and having good relationships with family and friends all have their place, but so does a romantic relationship, companionship, even if it is just someone to share meals, or talk too, or go out with. I know you have found some wonderful goals, like hiking and fitness, which are good and necessary, but they still don’t fulfill- and cannot substitute the need to be loved. You are not alone in the fact that we all have this need! And…if you pull up your “bootstraps” as I know you have done already, don’t be tough, but courageous. Honesty is courageous, vulnerability is courageous. I have seen these qualities even more in you the past six months, after retirment began, and they are inspiring. There are more good things to come. I respect, admire, and love you… always! And, look forward to see what you build out of this new life.

    • Thank you, Katie. You and your sister Cassie have really inspired me this year. I have always written things….poems, essays, thoughts. I have never put it down to publish, though. The NaNoWriMo contest was a real test to getting a lot of words and thoughts to paper. And I love both of your blogs. So, why not join the masses in blogging? I’m not sure where this is going and how much I will write, but it gets me writing and having fun with it as well. So, for those reading this in nether blog land….check out “The Thinking Pen” by Kate Lunsford and “Mountains and Valleys” by Cassie Clemans. They both have some wonderful things to offer blog readers. All the best! Love you!!

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