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Something's Missing Syndrome

Written by Marianne Heron with Paul Britton

While still at work in your career, it is hard to imagine retirement. You may have experienced a strong push to leave work and looked forward to having time to yourself. The funny thing is that after you have had the holiday of a lifetime, played golf, gardened, done the DIY, six months to a year later, reaction may kick in and you get


The things that are missing are the very things that work supplied no matter how much you looked forward to retiring.

  • Social loss (being with people).
  • Psychological loss (boredom, lack of stimulation, loneliness).

These come out tops as the main drawbacks of retirement. A sense of identity, self- worth, status and a sense of purpose are just some of the other things you might miss. You don’t have to do anything when you stop working, but you actually need to do something. A life of leisure can lose its attraction without the contrast of work or purposeful activity.

You expect to be happy in retirement. But, happiness isn’t a destination, it’s a by- product of doing the things you do that bring you satisfaction, enjoyment or offer challenges. The kind of things that meet your needs (and this doesn’t mean being ‘needy’) are the need for things like recognition, being well regarded, leadership, to learn, to have fun or to achieve all of which were previously met by your work or leisure activities.

If your needs aren’t being met, you are likely to feel dissatisfied or to experience a sense of alienation.

In a nutshell, you want life to be fulfilling. Fulfilment is the state of fully expressing who you are and doing what is right for you where you have a sense of rightness and harmony.

This excerpt was taken from Rewire Don’t Retire, sponsored by Irish Life and Active Retirement Ireland. You can download the full guide HERE.