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One Year Later, The Road Ahead: I Just Retired

By Cindy Boatman December 17, 2022 Lifestyle

My first post-retirement article, “The Road Ahead: I Just Retired,” captured my mindset once the dust settled. It’s a good starting point to reflect on my first year of retirement. Looking at reality vs. expectations, the unexpected, and where my thoughts on retirement land now.

I’m immediately struck by the sense of enthusiasm I portrayed throughout “The Road Ahead.” My emotional state was genuinely eager and confident, but it was not without a slight sense of uneasiness. A normal range of feelings one might encounter when starting something new.

Mostly, the year lived up to my expectations since I was ready to move on to something new. It wasn’t without challenge, but I didn’t expect it to be. It was like a “continuing education” course in the art of cultivating life balance. A journey of rediscovering myself within a new framework.

Permission to Rest

I also suffered from burnout, being physically and mentally exhausted after 35+ years in the workforce. It was a beautiful gift to myself to spend all of January and February resting. The option to sleep in or linger in bed with a book or podcast was delicious! By spring, I felt revitalized.

Be aware that, as a new retiree, you may experience unexpected feelings like sadness, grief or even depression. You may ask yourself, “Did I make a mistake?” That was not the case for me, but it’s real and happened to someone I know. It began after the “honeymoon phase,” when they no longer had the sense of being on vacation.

If this happens to you, remember to practice self-compassion. Allow yourself time to adjust and process your feelings. Seek help from family, friends, or a mental health expert if you remain overwhelmed by unwanted emotions beyond a reasonable amount of time (you know you best).

Forethought: Set Yourself Up for Success

I never looked back or missed my job. Freedom and flexibility were and still are my fundamental desires. Having the time and space to write at my pace still tops my joy list.

Just prior to retiring, I made a commitment to Sixty and Me to submit a monthly blog article over the next year. That minor act of foresight proved invaluable during my first year of retirement. From day one, it set me up with a means to explore a dream and connect with my creative side. It was also mentally stimulating and lent itself to my curious and research-oriented nature.

If you’re planning to retire soon, I highly recommend you have some kind of plan in place to provide structure and personal meaning within your life. Rest and relaxation are great, but remember to maintain a sense of purpose is an important element of healthy aging.


Though I don’t miss my job, I miss the daily interaction with former co-workers, who were also friends. Despite my tendency towards introversion, I reach a threshold and need a social fix. Scheduling semi-regular lunch dates with friends and former co-workers has been a key practice for me in the past year.

As a new retiree, be careful not to isolate yourself! Studies support social connection as another pillar in healthy aging. Plan time to socialize with family, friends and former co-workers. Volunteer work may also provide social interaction.

The Unexpected

Here’s what threw me off a bit:

Every Day Is Saturday

Transitioning to retirement from a Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. work schedule is disorienting! I’ve always calendared events rather than relying on memory, but now it’s a necessity. I also find it helpful to create a flexible game plan for each week, and I try to adhere to some daily routines. These practices help in establishing a sense of time.

“Type A” Personality Challenges

For years, I was required to keep a “Project Report” at work. While I cursed it, I also loved the sense of accomplishment I experienced upon removing a completed item from the report. I’m not a hardcore “Type A” personality, but I cannot deny my need for organization, goal-setting, and the need to feel a sense of accomplishment.

Repurposing “Type A” tendencies was beneficial for me. I still set goals, with timelines, regarding things I want to pursue in retirement. On a short-term basis, I allocate days of the week or time within a specific day to “check off the list” activities. This might include rearranging a closet, cleaning out the junk drawer, meeting exercise goals, or running errands.

Do I Have the Courage to Live My Best Life in Retirement?

This was the magic question I asked myself in “The Road Ahead.” The answer is still yes! I’ve also grown in my ability to be honest with myself. I’ve learned that acting on that honesty is optional. What matters most is that my choice to act or not is deliberate, and not out of fear.

Mary Oliver’s lovely poem, The Journey, is still my favorite invitation to live your best life in retirement. But damn, those “ankle tugs” and “the voices” are still around, although they are much easier to deal with or ignore. Unless you live in a vacuum, some level of compromise will always be a part of your life.

Crappy days are also still part of the equation and to be expected. If I’m having a bad day, I sometimes brew a cup of coffee, pull out my retirement cards, and allow the sentiments to lift my spirits. I’m truly grateful that most days in the past year were good ones. I have no regrets!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What threw you off the most during the 1st year of retirement? How did you adjust to the unexpected? What are your fondest memories of the first year of retirement?

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I just retired in December. So glad to find this website because I am already feeling a bit guilty about my decision to quit working after nearly 40 years in the corporate world. I will need your words of encouragement to navigate this stage of my life.

Sue Loschiavo

Thank you so much for all the responses – my first year was also getting over burnout, a bad finish up with the company I worked with for over 20 years – I was so disappointed and sad – I broke my leg then my arm , so much happened that I would rather forget 2022 but I am really interested in developing and finding myself again and I think now that I’ve found this wonderful site – I will💕💕


Sue, I sometimes feel a bit bored and I don’t think that’s unusual for some retirees, especially as they are transitioning. Transition, by nature, takes time.

My left brain “organizer” seems to be the part of me that gets a bit bored at times. After all, it dominated my life during my working years. In retirement, my focus has shifted to cultivating the creative, playful and spiritual aspects of my right brain. I think curiosity is key, what are you curious about and how will you pursue it?

I found an insightful article at Overcome Boredom in Retirement — 8 Tips From Successful Retirees (secondwindmovement.com) that might be helpful to you! Have a great day Sue!

Last edited 8 months ago by Cindy Boatman
Sue Loschiavo

Thanks lots Cindy – I will have definitely have a look at that article! Have a lovely evening Cindy!💕💕

Sue Loschiavo

I read the article Cindy and really enjoyed it – gave me a lot to think about!💕💕

Sue Loschiavo

Hi Cindy – how is the Retirement transition regarding marriage – one minute you see each other on a few hours a day – next you are together all the time – and what you want to do is different from him – how do you deal with this?

Cindy Boatman

Hi Sue – First of all, 2022 sounds like it was very challenging year for you. Thankfully you survived! In hindsight, you might try reframing it from the perspective of it having increased your resilience. Becoming more resilient is so important as we age! Anyway, I’m glad 2022 is in your rear-view mirror and you’re ready to move on with your life!

Also, I’m pleased the ‘Overcome Boredom in Retirement’ article provided food for thought. I believe this community will help you gain valuable insights as you create your unique retirement journey. A couple of things to keep in mind and provide you with perspective: (1) time, you literally have only so much of it left on this earth, and (2) what are you going to do with that time? Will you exercise the courage to be the author of your own life?

Regarding your question on navigating marriage during transition into retirement, Personally, I mostly do what I want! Of course, you can’t be totally selfish. Well, you can, but it’s probably not the best idea if you want to keep your marriage/relationship intact. Just take it day by day and learn as you go. Compromise is still part of the equation in finding the happy middle ground that allows each person to thrive. If you are unable to find that common ground, then some tough decisions may be in order.

My significant other and I are not married, but we live together. We are both quite independent, and he is not the type that will ever really retire. He owns a business, so he stays busy with that as well as other things. He drops by the house a few times during the day to touch base, but otherwise I have most days to myself. Works great for me since I get to choose how to spend most of my time! Honestly, I’m not sure it would work if we kept constant company! That said, we enjoy our evenings together as well as traveling together as much as possible. I believe it’s important to find a balance of separate interests as well as things you enjoy doing together. There’s no set formula, it’s whatever works for both of you based on your unique personalities and desires.

It’s been great chatting with you Sue, and I wish you the best in the year to come!

The Author

Cindy Boatman is excited to share her research and personal insights, hoping to help others live their best lives as they age. She is retired, pursing her dream to write, enjoying nature, travel, and her grandkids. She completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training certification program in 2020.

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