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Old 01-29-2015, 02:24 PM
 
40 posts, read 42,699 times
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Reading your stories is tremendously helpful. Thank you to all the kind people who have posted here!

I find it's rather a shock to the system. (A good shock, yes, but still a shock.)

I hope to recover from the stress of burnout (constant performance reviews, having to prove our worthiness all the time (accountability fetish from the institution and its higher powers), committee work and meetings out the wazoo, bureaucratic busywork, fierce competitiveness among colleagues, power-hungry bosses, very needy students, and so much more.) I taught year round so I spent every weekend and "holiday" doing my work: creating courses and materials, testing/assessing, grading, the usual stuff.

So the disheartening lethargy that has overcome me now is new to me -- it was certainly not a 'luxury' I would have allowed myself during my career. But I hope to gain an eager desire to do stuff again -- just not *work* stuff. Like some of you say, I also have no desire to do anything that even looks or feels like work. Just the thought of volunteering in my own specialty is rather nauseating to me, at least for now. I was good at what I did, but I am more than done.

Listener2307 mentions dreams. I have only had one work dream where -- oddly -- a colleague, a fellow professor who was actually friendly to me, was teaching something specific that I had created and that was *my* specialty and something I really enjoyed, and I found myself feeling jealous because he got to teach it and I didn't. Of course, when I woke up, I certainly had no desire to get up and go teach (!).

I also wonder what's going to happen to all the weird specialized knowledge I have in my brain. Does it all just fall out? Do you guys, especially you guys in IT and other specialized fields, think about that? Where does your knowledge go? Maybe it just falls out with my hair.

Again, I am very grateful for the kindness and empathy here.
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
16,355 posts, read 10,343,687 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harpaint View Post
I was there (retired RN). It took a long time and was very gradual. It felt like slowly defrosting, and only my husband (a social worker) understood, no one else. I depended on pets and nature a lot and avoided busy environments. After about 4 mos I began to feel alive again but it took longer to really start my new life and feel like doing much. After 2 years, I actually began some volunteer work at a food bank. Things are great now, and I hope you will find that too.


well, I understand-retired Med Tech here. This is the beginning of my 2nd year and am just now thinking of doing some volunteer work.

Not feeling guilty in the least.
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Old 01-29-2015, 06:50 PM
 
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Hello, fellow Austinite! I knew when I saw your photos, especially the birds, that they were from the Central TX area. I am ten monthas away from retiring and don't know how I am going to last that long. I fully intend to do nothing for at least six weeks when the day finally arrives.
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Old 01-29-2015, 07:32 PM
 
Location: CT
3,461 posts, read 1,856,473 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curmudgette View Post
I can't afford a trip, but so far, I am immensely enjoying doing nothing.

Were you burnt out at the time? I was wondering how long it takes to recover from burnout for those of you who might have experienced this.

I will definitely not be one to unretire, but I hope to regain some ambition some day.

(off-topic, but here's my lizard: https://www.flickr.com/photos/958542...7650123594480/)
I looked at your pictures and here's what I see, a love for animals and nature, patience, detail, creativity, and a sense of humor. I think you have left your empty work life behind and are healing your spirit with a fulfilling passion. You are an inspiration to those of us who still walk into that souless job everyday and wonder if we can ever disconnect from the rat race. I'd say that's not meaningless, thanks for your story curmugette.
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Old 01-29-2015, 08:17 PM
 
Location: SW Florida
9,759 posts, read 7,038,572 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curmudgette View Post
I can't afford a trip, but so far, I am immensely enjoying doing nothing.

Were you burnt out at the time? I was wondering how long it takes to recover from burnout for those of you who might have experienced this.

I will definitely not be one to unretire, but I hope to regain some ambition some day.

(off-topic, but here's my lizard: https://www.flickr.com/photos/958542...7650123594480/)
Beautiful pictures- the lizard looks like he posed for you!

IMO it's just fine to do nothing as long as you want to, it's your time now, to do exactly what you like with it.

I'd say the time it takes to get used to being retired, realizing that you have time on your hands and wanting to do something with it varies, as does what folks actually do with that time. I'd say savor the joy and release you feel in being newly retired, enjoy it as long as you want to, and figure that over time,
you'll figure out what you want to do when you "unretire". Or if you never do, that's ok too.
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:09 PM
 
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I actually liked my job....at least most of it most of the time, so I wouldn't say I was burned out; but, in retrospect, I think I had a mild version of PTSD from having a truly psychotic boss towards the end. She retired before I did and was replaced by someone pretty incompetent but easy to manage. So it seemed there was a respite until one day the psychotic boss's psychotic assistant came back as the assistant to the new boss. The lunacy started up again; even worse since we had had a brief respite from it. Every day was like walking into a new horror show lol.

I totally vegged out the first 6 months of retirement even though we had a house to get on the market so we could move. I sort of just did whatever my husband directed and then did nothing most of the rest of the time unless it was something I wanted to do or enjoyed.

I'm not sure how long it would have lasted because I had to snap out of it month 7 to help my parents deal with my fathers serious illness. After that, I gradually felt more energized and ready to get on with life and the plans we had.

So, I would say just go with the flow. Maybe plan something that requires effort a few months down the road like a trip or redecorating something in your house, whatever you normally enjoy.

If you feel your lethargy is going on too long or getting in the way of what you need to be doing to take care of yourself consider some short term therapy. In retrospect, I think that would have been useful to deal with the pent up stress that I had, but it seemed to much trouble at the time.

Once I started getting involved in more things, it kind of disappeared.
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:32 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
16,420 posts, read 5,356,250 times
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Curmudgette, I think that what you are describing is a form of PTSD, which you shouldn't brush off but should take seriously. During your working years you had to endure incessant demands from parents and from the school administration and put up with unpleasant working conditions until you finally reached to the breaking point. You were wise to bail out early for the sake of your mental health. And now you have earned every second of your leisure. You deserve it, so enjoy it.

I went through the same thing six years ago, and I'm still getting over it. My job was extremely stressful, and I still have bad dreams where I am at work and everything is going wrong. I think PTSD is like grief, it has its own timetable, and you have to work through it at your own pace. Please don't feel guilty if you're not living up to some idealized image of what retirement is supposed to be.

As a teacher you have done more than your share to contribute to society. You may no longer be teaching, but the influence you had over young lives will continue. I still remember some of my teachers fondly after 50 years or more and am grateful for their wisdom and guidance. Not many professions can say that. Now it's time to look after yourself.

The best thing about retirement is being in control of your own time and not having to do anything that you don't want to do. So relax, stop beating up on yourself and bask in the rewards of a life well-lived. Retirement is not one size fits all. You are now free to create the kind of retirement that suits you best. You don't have to conform to anyone else's expectations and you don't have to please anyone but yourself. Enjoy!
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:48 PM
 
Location: Cochise county, AZ
4,975 posts, read 3,460,586 times
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Another thing Curmudgette, have your doctor ask for a vitamin D test. We've been trying to do something about my depression & then she thought maybe some was lack of sunshine.

The test showed I was at 10.6 when the normal is 30.0 low, 100.00 normal/good. She put me on 50,000 mg once a week for 12 weeks. The normal is 5,000 each day during winter. So we'll see what happens.
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:56 PM
 
Location: Washington state
5,440 posts, read 2,764,764 times
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I've never really done a job I love, but it was only with my last two jobs that I began to really detest working. When I left my last job in 2008, I was so relieved I wasn't going to look for work right away. Then I took a very bad fall in 2009 and messed up my back. Now it looks like I won't ever be working again, so all I'm doing now is waiting till I'm 62 and I'm going to retire as soon as I can.

None of this makes me want to be productive. As a matter of fact, the nightmares of my last job still haunt me and even if I could, I still can't find it in me to want to work. And it's been 7 years. I don't feel useless though. And even though I will probably have no need for all the things I learned over the years, I still learn new things every day. I can't help it. If I could have found a job that required me to just learn, I'd have been a millionaire by now.

So don't worry about forgetting what you know. Believe it or not, it might come in handy one day. And don't worry about getting over being burnt out. What you're doing now is not recovering, it's adapting to a new life. I'd enjoy it. It's like a road you're walking down. If you keep walking backwards and looking at where you've been and worrying about it, you'll never see the great stuff ahead of you.
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:15 PM
 
Location: Henderson, NV
3,456 posts, read 2,255,905 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curmudgette View Post
I also wonder what's going to happen to all the weird specialized knowledge I have in my brain. Does it all just fall out? Do you guys, especially you guys in IT and other specialized fields, think about that? Where does your knowledge go? Maybe it just falls out with my hair.
You don't say what your area of expertise is, but if you're eventually open to sharing that specialized knowledge, perhaps an opportunity to do so will present itself. For example, I had a wonderful conversation today with a volunteer in Canada who talked me through a particularly convoluted genealogy search using the LDS "family search" site. He's a retired research librarian and mans the phone for this genealogy site part time.

Also, my specialized fields were major gift fund raising and teaching the blind. I have become an informal consultant for a couple of small agencies in town and love being called upon to brainstorm and share my experiences and knowledge. All of this is very part time and very much on my terms, but I do feel good when I can call on my experiences to help people doing good and important work.

And by the way, it took me 6 months before I even began to think about volunteering or trying to reestablish myself as a useful member of society!
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