Antidote to retirement malaise

Deborah,  Just turned 70

Sometime during the night after midnight, I turned 70 years old! Wow, how did that happen so fast?

In the days leading up to this event, I found myself in a sort of a funk and then I remembered the many female friends over the years who did not make it this far in life–Diane, Jan, Louise, Mary Lu. Quickly, this realization turned to an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. I’m in reasonable good health with a loving husband who is also in reasonably good health, four adult children who are productive members of society, 6 healthy, loving grandchildren, a 40-year teaching career behind me, friends, a strong church, and a new place to call home.

My biggest blessing is having a wonderful husband, albeit, 9 years my senior, who at my urging, was willing to pull up stakes and move to Bend, Oregon, after 40 years living in the San Francisco Bay Area. This adventure has turned out to be just what the malaise that came after retirement for us from meaningful careers needed. With several friends and family in the area, it seemed like the best place to move to.

Yes, our lives are full of doctor visits, a few aches and pains from overdoing because we think we are still in our fifties. We exercise, eat healthy, enjoy friends and family, worship regularly and volunteer through our church. I think the perfect retirement if one is able, is one third work, one third volunteering and one third playing! I took up quilting in retirement and find it to be an outlet for creativity after leaving teaching.

The hardest thing for me about aging is difficulty sleeping through the night. I know it is a combination of hormones and a brain that is hard to turn off. I know I’m not alone in this and wonder if there are other 70 year old women out there with similar sleeping issues. The only medications I take are a statin and an anti-acid so I don’t think it is that.

I know the future holds many challenges that will come as we get even older, so I’m really trying to relish each day.

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10 Responses to Antidote to retirement malaise

  1. Michelle says:

    Deep breathing exercises helps empty my mind when I have a difficult time falling asleep. Something else that helps which may seem strange is going outside in the morning as soon as I get up for 10-20 minutes. It helps set the inner clock. Of course I live in California, where this is easy to do.

  2. Sally says:

    I recommend getting a good mantra. Find words that are calming to you and when you are ready for sleep, start chanting.

    The other thing that works for me is to go thru names of girls and boys. Start with 5 names that start with “A” and keep going. If that doesn’t do it, switch to boy names. I think its so boring yet mind consuming until you forget you want to sleep. (smile)

    A nice glass of white wine is good maybe an hour or so before bedtime.

    I wish all of you luck. Sleep, rest, mind cleansing is a great medicine.

  3. LISBET TAYLOR says:

    As to retirement, I don’t use that word. I prefer “refirement” as suggested by I can’t remember whom.
    I’ll turn 70 next March. A bunch of my friends and I will celebrate our accomplishment for a weekend at our favorite Sacred Circle Dance place in New Hampshire — Neskaya Movement Arts.

    I just finished a part-time job as Devt. Director and Community Liaison for Now I’ll work to increase clients in my 2 little IMPRESARIA Coaching businesses — Shiatsu Asian Bodywork and Heart Mind Integration Healing ( To age with “independence, dignity and purpose,” (“Disrupt Aging”) is to remain healthy in spirit and body, own our age, and live with purpose so young folks will come to us with questions and we thus become elders.
    I suggest two sources: Stephen Jenkinson (Dr. J.);
    Jo Ann Jenkins (CEO of AARP): “Disrupt Aging”

    Blessings and Belly Laughs, Lisbet

  4. LISBET TAYLOR says:

    Dear Deborah, Apparently our ancestors went to bed early; awoke in the wee hours and went to visit a neighbor for 2-3 hours; then went back home and went to sleep again.

    If that’s not practical, I suggest journaling to get the thoughts down on paper, then you don’t have to think about them anymore, and can go back to sleep, knowing that you won’t forget what they were. — Sometimes your subconscious will keep working on them as you sleep.

  5. Blog Mavens says:

    For those who are having sleep difficulties, I recommend the new book by Arianna Huffington, The Sleep Revolution.

    She addresses all aspects of sleep, from history and science, to practical solutions. She offers tips and techniques for those who struggle with falling asleep.

    She herself suffered ill health from sleep deprivation, and transformed her life to become a “sleep pro.” She is now spreading the word through her book and through many interviews (you can see some on YouTube). She even provides nap rooms for her employees at the Huffington Post!

    Check it out an see what you think.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Melatonin (I take 4 of 3 mg pills each night and stay asleep all night). It is safe and does not cause any strange feelings in the morning. I wake up rested and most nights go to sleep by 8:30. Up at about 6am or so. Hope it works for you! Start with less if you want. My husband takes 3 and its fine for him.


  7. Cindy says:

    I will turn 70 in a few months. Aside from the usual aches and pains which I can work through with regular Jazzercise classes, my biggest complaint is not being able to sleep through the night. Falling asleep is not the problem, staying asleep is the problem. I do not nap during the day and try to get some sort of exercise each day and keep to a regular bed time. No matter how tired I am when I go to bed, come 3 am I am up and wide awake. Any one have suggestions how to cope with this?

    • Dot says:

      Melatonin, Benadryl, over the counter, benign meds help me sleep; if it is pain that wakes you, try a safe pain buffer. (ask your pharmacist). I read something pleasant, inspiring, uplifting, funny, to help me sleep.
      I try not to eat for 4 hours before bedtime. No exercise, or stressful conversations, avoid Newshour. Meditate when I can.
      Being active during the day helps; mental stimulation leaves me relaxed. If all else fails, try a lover!

      • Laurie says:

        If you are a spiritual person, you may try praying and reading daily devotionals in the evening to calm your mind. Try to give all your concerns to the higher power you believe in.
        I get up two to three times at night and occasionally cannot get back to sleep. I just get up and read for an hour or so and enjoy the dark, quiet peace.

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