Column: Are You Stuck In Retirement?

By Michael Amoroso

I lead two volunteer lives. I am the Director of USE which helps 50+jobseekers. In this capacity, I have met numerous retirees who wish to remain active by working part-time or volunteering for USE. I also lead discussion groups on life after retiarement. In this capacity, I have met many retirees who are bored (if not depressed) stating that every day seems almost like the one before.

Individuals who are stuck in retirement are passively going through their motions in life, trudging through their daily routines feeling unfilled, unchallenged and uninspired; repeating the whole process day after day. You may very be stuck in retirement and not even realize it. Use the following signs to determine if you need to start making a change in your daily life.

Your energy and enthusiasm levels are low. Do you go through an average day full of “get up and go” for what lies ahead? Or do you need to be dragged through the day, lie around and do very little. Have you become a couch potato? We all have good days and bad, but if more often than not you’re facing each day with a lack of energy and enthusiasm , that’s a good sign you’re stuck in retirement and may need a change.

You’re stuck in the past. When people ask you what you do, do you tell them what you used to do rather than what you currently do? Do you reminisce about days gone by? People who are stuck in retirement avoid thinking about the future as a protective mechanism—keeping them from having to confront an uncertain tomorrow. If this sounds like you, you might just be stuck in retirement.

You lack purpose. Retirees who are in happy places in their lives are fueled by a sense of purpose and tackle each day, along with the goals they’ve set for themselves. Those stuck, embrace inertia. And it’s not hard to imagine the vicious spiral this creates, leading you to accomplish less and less as the days drag on. Don’t get stuck in a retirement spiral.

One of the real tragedies of being stuck in retirement is that it robs you of the very ability to see a way out of it. It’s common for those stuck in a rut to feel that there’s simply no way out or that they can’t even imagine that there’s something better out there. It’s not a good place to be.

No doubt, it’s hard to change but you have to start somewhere. How about reading a book on the rewards of retirement. Then, start walking 30 minutes a day (4 or 5 times a week). While your walking (lifting your mood) talk to yourself about the rewards of retirement that you read about. Then, get out there and interact with some new people; join a book club or volunteer. Will this get you unstuck? Of course not but it will start you on your way.

It’s a matter of trial & error. The idea is to start trying a variety of new activities like the ones  mentioned; some by yourself and some with others. Some will stick. Before you know it, you will get up in the morning looking forward to your day and your new pursuits. Best wishes.

Michael Amoroso, BBA, MBA has been a retiree for 22 years, previously running his own consulting firm in Manhattan. He currently is the Director of USE, which helps jobseekers fifty and older. Their website is Mike also lectures on Life after Retirement at libraries throughout Fairfield and Westchester counties. He can be reached at

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