How did retirement changed your life? Was it a dream or a nightmare come true?

  1. 1
    Hi everyone.

    I don't even know if I'm asking the right question but all I know was this is the place for retirees or inactive nurses to gain more information on the subject matter. I am a young new retiree due to some genetic medical condition with no known cure and not sure what it's going be like for me to retire this early in life.

    Despite everything, I'm open minded trying to be as optimistic as I possibly can. I want to do something worthwhile. In order for me to do that, I added this thread hoping that my fellow nurses with good hearts♥ will not hesitate to share some personal views, ideas, advice, opinions, suggestions, knowledge, wisdom, and anything at all that will help the transition to be as smooth as possible. I would really appreciate it. Thank you so very much....
    Last edit by Joe V on Oct 4, '12 : Reason: spacing
    Joe V likes this.
  2. 16 Comments so far...

  3. 2
    You've gotten views but no comments. I'm guessing most readers aren't retired yet. Even though you posted over a month ago, I'll try to offer a tip or two. I retired after almost 30 years, so unlike you illness didn't lead to my retirement. I think the best option is to get your health into the best possible position and then take a look at what you would like to do. I'm talking about what makes you smile or the secret passion that you put aside for nursing. For me, that was writing.

    People ask me if I miss nursing. I can say I don't because I didn't retire to clean out overstuffed closets, but to enjoy the the things I missed out on from crazy shifts and overtime. Besides, I include a nurse in every story I write. But there is a transition period of feeling useless because you're not working. To avoid it write out a to do list every week. Be sure to include something fun. In time that feeling vanishes, if you replace it by re-inventing yourself. That's the hard part.


    If you want to stay in the medical realm consider starting a support group for your genetic condition if it doesn't exist or even joining one that does. Work to improve services or expand knowledge of it. Start a blog about it and include recent research but interpret the medical jargon for the lay person. From a blog you can move to newsletters etc.
    Use your nursing background to explain community services that people with disabilities can access. I had no idea how to access Alzheimer's care resources in my city until a friend asked me to help her. So many have needs and don't know where to turn.

    Consider running for the local position, depending on your mobility, of your state nurses association. Rn's and Lpn's serve and you can make a difference in nursing practice.

    I'll be honest with you, I've never seen a retirement checklist or to do list for young people forced into retirement for a rare medical condition. You could take your experience and write a booklet on how to get through it. At first you may want to shy away from drawing attention to yourself but I noted you wanted to do something worthwhile. Sometimes kicking the beast (or the problem) makes it easier to get past it.

    Hopefully, others will chime in.
    TriciaJ and somenurse like this.
  4. 0
    LOVED the comment above. I don't have much to add, nothing as useful as that most wonderful post above,
    but, i also went through a period of loss almost,
    having dedicated so so much of my energy to focusing on others, on helping others, on the invaluable connections i had with coworkers as we bonded, in part, over the shared experiences of our work setting/the unusual and sometimes dramatic situations we went through together.
    I found myself slipping into a bit of slump, actually, and eventually i took action to prevent that.

    I did many things to help myself transition into dealing with this in a more positive way. Among some of the things i did, include focusing on my overall fitness,
    (i have floppy heart valve/arrythmias and i had let that turn me into 'cardiac cripple')
    my nutritional status, ever increasing my energy tolerance, lost some extra lbs i'd been carrying around after joining MYFITNESSPAL.COM,
    practiced mental exercises of all kinds to stay sharp,
    as well as making actual lists of things/people/activities/events that left me feeling good/energized/positive,
    and those that didn't or seemed to have opposite effect.

    I found for me, personally, music is almost like a drug on my mood, and i often turn to it to boost myself up, and walking/exercising as i can with my heart valve/arrhythmias, to get the endorphins going, and forcing myself to socialize more with those i noted do leave me feeling positive, joining in activities and causes that i support, and accomplishing tasks,
    all helped me find my way back to my usual, baseline, more-positive outlook again.

    I am not exactly 'retired' but, out of work x 5 years now, but hoping to go back, in home care or hospice. this might not happen, but, due to financial reasons, i have to try. I am returning to the work force, at any rate, whether or not i secure a nursing job or not, i have to return to work. I am having to face i might not ever work in that field again, as i am not that marketable nowadays.


    I second the person above suggestion, to find outlets, activities which please YOU. Finding ways to volunteer might be enjoyable. For me, oddly, of all things, i ended up volunteering with dog rescue of all things. I'd never much thought about dogs, but, I've learned a lot, (in USA, we kill almost 6 million dogs per year, for lack of homes/overbreeding)
    and for me, this satisfies some need in me to care for another creature, and i smile, wondering if i am possibly also drawn to this, as my kids are grown and gone, too.
    Turns out, i rock at dog training. who knew? I am considering becoming a dog trainer, more for fun than income.

    I've also become increasingly politically active, and enjoy being amongst the like minds i find there. I've found various other ways to feel i am useful, contributing to my community, and do some volunteer work with a few other organizations i believe in.


    i GUESS probably each of us,
    being a unique individual,
    faces various challenges as we learn how best to transition to an entirely different chapter of life in most positive way. I did not do well right off the bat, i admit, took ME a while to get the hang of it. But, i can honestly say, "Sure, if i stop to think of it, yes, i do miss the action of nursing, and many facets of it. But, it's not on my mind anymore, unless i stop to think of it. Now, i do feel pretty joyful, useful, and content most of the time."

    IF IF IF you are currently not doing as well as possible, know this:
    that probably also you will also find your way, too, to finding the outlets for your skills, your interests and passions. Might not happen right away, but, don't beat yourself up, give it some time and thought and take some of the effort that you spent decades caring for others
    into taking good care of YOU now.
    YOU CAN DO IT!!!!! Best of luck in your future.
  5. 1
    I retired last year at the age of 58. I had been a nurse for 38 years and wasn't ready to retire, but our union contract was starting to be negoiated and I would have lost half of my healthcare being paid for and my pension would have changed and I didn't want to lose those benefits. I wasn't prepared to retire and no future plans, it was kind of a sudden decision after several long talks with the union president . I knew I would have to work as I still had a house and car payment and wouldn't have retired for another 4-5 years. I took 5 months off and now work part time as a clinical assistant and clinical instructor at a local community college.
    I didn't realize until I retired how burnt out I was. My caring well was dry. Initially, I was going to take a month off and go back to work, but everytime I thought about it a feeling of dread came over me and i knew I wasn't ready. Everyone I talked to who was retired said take some time off to de-stress and figure out what you want to do, and I am glad I did.It gave me time to rest and connect again with family. I neice stayed with me on and off for 2 weeks, and I never would have been able to forge a stronger connection with her if I worked full time.
    You find ways to fill your time when you are not working. I lost weight, exercised every day and became more fit,had more energy, read more, worked in the garden more, took up knitting and crosstitch again, and took a moment to just sit on the front porch and read a book, which was heaven. I even started to miss being a nurse. I missed talking to my former co-workers.
    I think you expand old interests or discover new interests when you retire and have more time. The only downside is that now you are living on a fixed income, and expenses go up but your income doesn't. You now have the time to do more, but not always the money. I was used to shopping on my days off work, maybe as a stress reliever and now I have to budget my shopping time, which was a learning experience for me.
    I enjoy working again with nursing students and feel I can offer them my experiences of 38 years of nursing. They are giving me back some of the enthusiasm I had being a nurse before I became burned out. Working only 20 hrs a week still gives me time for other pursuits. I also don't work when the college is closed and no longer have force my way into work during a blizzard because hospitals never close, but colleges do.I also can take summers off , which is nice.
    cubby777 likes this.
  6. 4
    I feel that I have retired three times in my career. Back in 1992, I retired from full time nursing and cut back my hours dramatically. It was WONDERFUL because I worked one budgeted day a week...eight hours day shift every Friday...and picked up other shifts as I wanted to. Sometimes, in the beginning, I worked full time with all of the extra shifts, but its amazing when you don't have to...its freedom to know you can say "no thanks!". In 2006, I stopped working my one budgeted day a week (.2) and only worked contingent shifts as needed. Three years later, at the age of 75 and facing knee replacement surgery, I retired what I thought would be for good. During that time, I probably started to suffer from depression because nursing was such a part of my life for so long...54 years...and I was really good at it but I just couldn't physically do the job anymore. I worked in my garden and enjoyed my family and traveled, but I missed critical care nursing and wished I could still do just a four hour shift here or there...knowing full well that I was kidding myself. There I was a 75 year old woman hobbling around with my cane after surgery....I was more in need of intensive care than providing intensive care. My nurse manager would call me once a month to ask if I wanted to come back to work to cover for lunches...or even serve as a constant attendant....maybe even work a shift once my knee got better...but I knew I could never do the job as well as I had done ten years before...and that was hard to take. Fortunately for me, my doctor recommended water aerobics for my knee and I was able to make a full recovery. About a year after I retired, I ran into a friend at a tag sale who I worked when I did MICU years ago who was now a school RN. Within one month, I trained to be a substitute school nurse working with special needs students. I'm no longer titrating drips or pushing meds but I'm still helping young people and I still do nursing. I only work once a week, and often times I do very little nursing...often I just enjoy the kids, although there are days when I work at the handicapped school where I give tube feeds, suction trachs and even start TPN. After four years of subing in the schools, I will probably retire at the end of this school year as my 101 year old mother (who is still active and healthy) is starting to slow down and I think she's FINALLY agreed to sell her home and move in with me. It sounds cliché, but this time I'm truly retiring to "spend more time with my family", and its the best reason to retire that there is.
    Last edit by HazelLPN on Mar 20, '13
    ambrr, Hoozdo, brynne1234, and 1 other like this.
  7. 1
    Hazel.. You are truly an inspiration, I sometimes joke that I will work till I am 100 because I love being a nurse! Best of luck in "true" retirement!
    cubby777 likes this.
  8. 2
    wow Hazel you rock!!! Have you ever thought about writing about your experience>
    HazelLPN and cubby777 like this.
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    Wow nice to see this added for those of us who are retired but still consider ourselves nurses! I have been retired for 18 years due to MS. I left nursing with great regret because I truly loved my profession. I still consider myself a nurse...just don't work at it anymore. I did have to discover what to do with myself once I didn't have my ER job anymore. I always loved art and artistic endeavors so I threw myself into learning how to make jewelry. More importantly I also discovered I needed to devote time to keeping myself active and healthy. That meant getting active in a gym; I began swimming and discovered I had better mobility and endurance. I also began dating again and found a wonderful man and got married for the first time at the age of 58! With better mobility I began to travel with my husband to the warmer parts of the southwest. I began taking photographs, another interest I had wanted to do for years. After traveling in an RV for five years we have now decided it is time to settle down for the winters and have purchased land in the beautiful country of Belize. We are in the process of building an ADA Leed Certified Green home for the winters in Belize and will continue to spend the summers in our home in Oregon. Life is full of challenges and my health is constantly changing but I feel it is an adventure and hope that you too find things to challenge your mind and body!
    Elle7 and MzJfromNJ like this.
  10. 2
    Quote from lovinlife11
    Hazel.. You are truly an inspiration, I sometimes joke that I will work till I am 100 because I love being a nurse! Best of luck in "true" retirement!
    That is very kind of you, but I'm nothing special. My secret to longevity in nursing is very simple. You must be good at it, you must love it, and it helps to be able to be in a financial situation where you can work part time. I didn't work full time until my kids were in high school and we needed money for college...so half of my years in nursing were spent working part time or less. It also helped that I did a lot of evenings, 7-11 is usually quiet and you are not dealing with the hustle and bustle of days or the effects on your body of nights. Had I worked full time days, I wouldn't still be in nursing...I would probably be dead!
    Elle7 and MzJfromNJ like this.
  11. 1
    Hazel- you're my new hero. I'm 'only' 58, and cannot even imagine retiring. I love what I do, I love who I work with, I love my patients and I'm seriously considering enrolling in a DNP program next year.

    THANK YOU for sharing your story! I'm inspired
    HazelLPN likes this.


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