Will I or Won’t I…. become bored and depressed?

I recently saw another “phases of retirement” description that again highlighted a negative phase – this one talked about a retirement phase where you become bored and depressed.  A previous stages review had a stage called “Disappointment”.   I’m starting to wonder, at 18 months into this thing called retirement, will I or won’t I…. become disappointed, bored and depressed?


I’m thinking I won’t… and why? I’ve spent the past 18 months developing a skill set to prevent being disappointed, bored and depressed. Here are some elements of it:

  1. Know thyself.   I’ve done the self-reflection to know what I need. Yes, it took time and yes, the nerd in me has it documented. And it’s not just a “Nice to know” document.   I use it to choose activities that fill those needs so I can be satisfied with the days/the weeks/the months ahead.
  2. Possibilities List. Eric over at Mr. Firestation calls it his never-be-bored list! For me it’s that and more.   It’s a place to keep track of everything from bucket lists (yes, someday I will try haggis and visit Machu Picchu – not at the same time!) to connections lists (networking goals) to learning and explorations lists (just got a lecture series on astronomy!)   It has about 200 items on it and I add to it regularly – participate in a Drum Circle just got added.  Bored?   Not with 200 things to try!
  3. Affirmations & Journal Meditation. I was never a practitioner of meditation or affirmations, but I have found they work. While my blogging (reading and writing) is part of my continual reflection and inspiration, my morning journaling and affirmations have made me a happier person.   Really.   People have noticed.
  4. Be Active/Have Fun. Again, I was not a very active person in my working years.   In fact, my life during that time could be described as Work- Eat – Sleep.    Now I consciously plan things that combine activity, play, and connections with friends. I have seasonal “Out & About” stay-cation type of lists, started a mid-week foodie club to explore new restaurants, and regularly meet girlfriends for hikes (instead of just ladies-who-lunch meetings).
  5. Portfolio thinking. Just like a BIC financial portfolio has a blend of different types of investments, I have a blend of activities in my life – some that energize the mind or the body/some that calm things down, some that are active/some passive, some for alone time/some time spent with others. I have complete freedom of choosing what I add to the portfolio and what get’s dropped.  A recent publication on a TIAA retirees survey showed that retirees who regularly participated in 10 or more activities were the happiest!  And this was not just recent retirees, but across the whole spectrum.


While some might say I am still in the honeymoon phase of retirement, I think I’ve actually found a new life rhythm.   A life rhythm that changes on a regular basis – with the seasons (gardening/SUP season starting), the class schedule (pottery class done, cooking class next), the project work (yes, part-time right now for the mind stimulation and sense of achievement) and the travel plans (NOLA for our anniversary weekend).

Bored? No.  Depressed? No.  Disappointed? No.  Having fun? Oh yeah!

What skills do you need to have to avoid the potential downfall of disappointed, bored, and depressed?


Picture Credit: Pixabay

9 thoughts on “Will I or Won’t I…. become bored and depressed?

  1. I am a little past two years of retirement and I’m not bored. I am finding that I’m re-evaluating myself often and deciding how I want to spend these most marvelous years of my life. It is a journey…. Always challenging…. Never boring. I think the biggest surprise to me was learning that I am still yearn for new experiences , treasure the old ones, and open to whatever comes before me. I’m excited to see where the years lead me. Good luck on your journey! I am learning to seek what I love and discard things they don’t bring me happiness or personal rewards…. not to be afraid to readjust my goals or opportunities. Life is so much better than I ever expected!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the encouragement. I like your phrase “learning to seek what I love and discard things that don’t bring happiness”. It’s sometimes hard to readjust goals in life but it is something I need to continue to learn to do.


  2. I think a lot of the boredom some retired people feel is due to inflexibility. Just like in the work world, if we do something (even something we like or love) all the time, it can get boring. And, keep trying other things if something doesn’t work out. If, for instance, you thought you’d love to paint when you retired, but found out that it was all that you thought it would be… try something else! Maybe painting is too solitary… join a photography club. Some can’t wait until they retire because they want to play golf all the time. Then, they discover after awhile that golf ALL THE TIME is boring (not to mention expensive). That’s where the Possibilities List comes in handy!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A recent report over at TIAA on retirees says the more activities engaged in, the happier you are. I just looked at my possibilities list the other day and decided to try Indian food with a girlfriend for lunch. OK, not that much of a leap, but fun to try something new! And 3 things checked off my 100 foods to try list as well! (Yeah to a buffet for once.)

      It’s tough when you see someone who is bored and getting depressed and they don’t want to take action.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. You have prepared yourself well for retirement. Pat, and you offer great advice/modeling for others. I believe that there are many people who fall prey to depression and other negatives in retirement, not because they were unprepared but often due to circumstances beyond their control. Short of this, I’m with you on staying as engaged, positive and proactive as I can be!

    Liked by 2 people

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