How Long Does it Take to Adjust to Retirement Or Should You Just Give Up and Go Back to Work?

Well, that depends. For some people, retiring is like not having someone hit you on the head every day–those people are going to adjust within five or six hours.

bugs and elmer(Source:

For others, adjusting takes a bit longer–for me, for instance, it has taken about two years. Why, when everyone I speak to congratulates me on being able to retire and in fact, I was looking forward to it? well, here are the issues.

First, did you like your job? If not, you will gallop happily into retirement. If you did, you’re going to miss it.

Second, do you have something to retire to, that you haven’t had time to do before? something awe-inspiring and compelling? if so, you’re in luck. If, like most of us, you kind of whiled away the week-ends doing not much of anything but taking a rest from work, you might want to start the search for that awe-inspiring and compelling thing right away so it’ll be there when you need it.


I kind of put my activities into buckets:

There’s the what’s-the-most-fun bucket—this i have managed to fill pretty well, running around seeing art, music, and theater, visiting foreign parts of New York I’ve never ventured into–like Staten Island–and eating a lot (at a discount of course).

Atlantic Ave - middle eastern pastries 2Then there’s the am-I-filling-my-intellectual-needs bucket–I figure this blog is about as intellectual as I’m going to get.

There’s the you-are-a-musician-so-are-you-practicing-the-piano-at-all guilt bucket? I now pretty much have some regular chamber music buddies and we crash through music fairly frequently–nothing to have a concert over but good enough to get me to the piano on a semi-regular basis.


There’s also the what-am-I-doing-to-give-back bucket and I have finally found  a way to do that–working pro bono for a lovely non-profit that has development needs (did I mention I did development?).

Oh, and did I mention getting to spend more time with Rory and all our good friends? I know, I’m pretty lucky there.

So now, finally, two years after retirement, I mostly have filled all my buckets and feel adjusted to retirement. As they say, it’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

Nina asleepOur dog, Nina, decided to retire early, too.


2 thoughts on “How Long Does it Take to Adjust to Retirement Or Should You Just Give Up and Go Back to Work?

  1. I’ve been retired 10 months and still not adjusted. I identified myself by my job. It was a demanding, important position. Due to cutbacks my pay was less than my retirement and my 90 year old Mom moved in with me so retiring seemed logical. I went from not enough hours in the day, never enough sleep to nothing to do and 9 hours a night of sleep. But I do realize it takes time to adjust.


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