General Question

filmfann's avatar

Retirees: Do you ever feel useless?

Asked by filmfann (52350points) May 6th, 2023

I have been retired for 9 years.
My family all say I deserve to kick back and relax after so many years of long, hard hours, and many midnight call outs.
The thing is, I don’t feel needed anymore.
Have you ever felt this way?

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30 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

I am healthy, fit, and even have some of my brain faculties.
I always have something to do and/or somebody needing something. That is far from useless.
Can you walk or run? How far? Get a little notebook and keep track of how long it takes you to go to your favorite restaurant. See if you can get the time down. Carry a bag with you and pick up a couple of cans or two along the way. Exercise and try to improve.

You’re still firing on all cylinders. Use that power to do some good – even if the good is for your own health. If there’s anything you have ever wanted to do, do it now. Make a plan!
Come to my place! I guarantee you won’t feel useless!

flutherother's avatar

I’ve been retired for 7 years now and feeling useless is liberating and wonderful. I find a joy in being useful to myself. If I’m to be useful only to others then ultimately what is the point? I follow my own interests in my own time and I enjoy life.

Poseidon's avatar

I must be fortunate because don’t have time to feel useless. I am 76 and have plenty to do to keep my self occupied and entertained.

True when I first retired I did start feeling of no use to anyone but then I started hobbies that I had thought about when working but never took any up. Now I have several hobbies which keep me busy. I also keep myself fit with walking and other exercising.

Added to this I have Great Grand Kids which are always in need of a babysitter. I love this part of my retirement.

All in all although I am retired I am more than happy with my lot.

gondwanalon's avatar

One old guy once told me that if you ever want to feel totally useless then retire.
I think that retirement is something that some people can’t handle.
I’ve had no problem with it.

I’m 72 and have been retired since 2015 from 38 years as a Medical Technologist. I’ve never missed it from the day I stepped out of the hospital labs.
I’m so busy with my fun activities and friends that I don’t have time to feel useless:

*I start each day with an hour of calisthenics.
*Four days a week I go canoe paddling with my canoe club (training for canoe races with many paddling buddies).
*Gym workouts two times a week guided by an extent trainer.
*When the weather is too extreme for canoe paddling I use a Concept 2 paddling machine (10K works). Or go for 8 to 9 mile hikes.
*Do traveling also. Last year I represented the USA in international canoe sprint championships in London (got eliminated in the semifinals).
*Last September my 70’s six-men canoe crew paddle an 18 mile open ocean race in Hawaii (3rd place in class finish).
*Last November I hiked the Grand Canyon from North Rim to South Rim with my wife (she’s also 72 and retired).
*Took a cruise to Antarctica last December that included a little hiking, kayaking and jumping into the 28*F sea with just swimming trunks on.
*This year I’m going to American Samoa in August to complete in the international distance one-man canoe championships.
*This September I’ll be back in Hawaii to race on a 60’s men canoe team
*Also my 70’s canoe paddling crew are training for numerous races up and down the PNW in rivers, lakes and Puget Sound and preparing time trials this November for the 2024 international canoe sprints
*Also I spend a lot of time generating YouTube videos of my club’s canoe races using 8 GoPro cameras plus a little drone video (when possible).
*I also I try to find time to do yard work and house maintenance and waste time monkeying around on the internet and playing with my cats.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m semi retired. I don’t feel useless, but I have something to do almost every day, and I try to help people when I can. When I help, I try to stick to things I truly enjoy doing.

I live in a place where activities and volunteering are both incredibly easy to join or not. I busy my day with all sorts of activities I enjoy.

Is there something nagging at you that you wish you had accomplished but haven’t? I have a little of that. It comes and goes. For me it’s missed financial opportunities that I didn’t follow my intuition.

Could you be a little bored also?

I had to mentally switch to being grateful that I could do whatever I want and really focus on my happiness when it happens.

My MIL has complained about feeling “inútil” for years. It’s basically Spanish for useless. Once her kids were grown I think her purpose became unclear to her, and I know she wishes she had had more courage to go out and get a job or to do something to feel more productive.

janbb's avatar

I have times of feeling purposeless since retirement, especially since my children and grandchildren live so far away. I fill my time with exercise, connecting with friends, reading and learning opportunities. But my biggest sense of still being of use comes from my involvement in my Unitarian congregation, particularly with its focus on individual growth and social justice. I have found a real place for myself there.

jca2's avatar

I’m a young retiree (mid 50s) but I still have a child at home. She’s in high school and she doesn’t drive yet. I’ve been retired for almost two years now. I used to have a really yucky and stressful commute and between my work day and my commute, I’d be out of the house for about 10 hours or sometimes more, per day. It was especially stressful when there was bad weather and the highway would be all backed up, and the one hour ride would become a two hour or more commute.

I try to schedule a few stops when I go out, so I’m not running out the door every day. If I need stuff from the store and I have an appointment, I try to do them on the same day, and maybe I’ll fill the tank while I’m at Costco, too.

When I am bored, I remind myself of my commute and the stress I used to experience. Even when it came to scheduling a vacation, I had to be very mindful of my time, even though I had a really generous amount of time off, I wouldn’t want to take too much at once. Last year, we went on a 2 and a half week vacation, which I would have never done while I was still working.

I am considering volunteering somewhere, maybe a local historical society, a few hours a week. I could get a part time job but I wouldn’t want to work on weekends so that would be an issue. I volunteer with my daughter’s Girl Scout troop now and I help out the seniors in the area if they need anything.

kritiper's avatar

It’s about you, so don’t be concerned about how others feel. Go fishing!

KNOWITALL's avatar

My grandfather struggled with it, but decided to be a widow jigalo at the senior center, so there’s that option. Ha!

SnipSnip's avatar

I’m retired from one career but have another. I choose when I work and on what and with whom. My office is in my home. It’s perfect. It’s at most a part-time endeavor. I love retirement. No, I don’t feel needed like I did with a growing family and busy career. Thank God for that.

filmfann's avatar

I have always felt the need to contribute; to help others.
Being happy with my own good life isn’t me.

SnipSnip's avatar

^^My work itself is service to others. I understand what you are saying.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Yes. Fluther gives me meaning.

JLeslie's avatar

@filmfann Get a part time job or volunteer. What do you like to do?

YARNLADY's avatar

I’ve been a homemaker for over 40 years. Now, at age 80 I still have enough activity to keep me busy. I am currently homeschooling 2 teenage grandsons.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’d be pretty useless even if I wasn’t retired.

raum's avatar

I think it’s lingering effects of capitalism.

Years and years of placing value on work. Retirement can be a difficult transition. But I’m looking forward to that uncomfortable liberation. Space to find value beyond what I’m able to create or provide.

NoMore's avatar

Not having a schedule to meet anymore is all the value I need. I’m good.

NoMore's avatar

@Dutchess_III seems like being there for your grands would keep you from feeling useless. My grands and great grands keep me happy enough. My grandsons wife is preggers again with a girl and my great grandson Jaystin is beside himself. Two years old and ready to be a big brother. Their dog was trying to jump up on Kaylynns lap the other day and he ran over and yelled, Get off my baby sister! She’s in my mommy’s stomach stupid dog! Lol

Caravanfan's avatar

I’m with @raum I can’t wait to feel retired and useless.

janbb's avatar

@Caravanfan. You’ve used your “use” so well!

JLeslie's avatar

I was just sitting here so happy to be sitting in my house on my comfy sofa feeling incredibly lucky. I will be doing some work today, but I work very little.

LuckyGuy's avatar

There is nothing as underrated as a nice, relaxing poop!

@Patty_Melt Hey! You helped me! Really!

chyna's avatar

I will find out later this year.

canidmajor's avatar

No, but then I never had a regular career/job, I worked at so many.

Yesterday I had a long catch-up phone call with someone I’ve known since I was a teeny baby. We haven’t spoken in a few years, and she asked me how I was keeping busy, and my first reaction was to feel a bit odd as I answered that I’m not. I did busy for most of my life, I was always moving and doing and producing, and now I’m not. I revel in the quiet and the stillness. If I want to do something, I do, and often I simply want to read, or go to the water and look at it, or throw the ball for the dog over and over.

I don’t need or want to have a purpose, I did “purpose” for many years, now I simply want to be.

Useless is just fine for me, now, thanks.

I also take my coffee very differently than I did in my purposeful days.

Patty_Melt's avatar

@LuckyGuy, I helped you poop? Surely not!

NoMore's avatar

I just lost my supper. Glad to know @LuckyGuy is in good health but otherwise I’d as soon avoid talk about bowl movements.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Patty_Melt No, you didn’t help me poop. You helped me decide what to do with some items.
You relieved me of the pressure of having to decide what to do with it and gave me about a cubic foot of extra storage space. Thank you!

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