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Retirement Regret

Retirement Regret

Posted by scaredysquirrel on Jan 25, 2019 4:30 pm

I think recovery from cancer treatments is a slow process and it's too bad there is not more support in this area.  I read some of my posts and I kept talking about retirement without really realizing what this would look like for me.  I know now it was a huge mistake and I am trying to deal with my feelings.  I wish now I had at least tried to return to work when my Onc. told me too last January.  It's a shame it takes a year for the actual cancer treatment effects to wear off and one is finally feeling whole again.  I can't believe I'm not back at my job.  I start my volunteer job on Monday, this will be a whole new experience for me.  I hope it goes okay.  I also stopped by Douglas College again and spoke with the manager.  He was very nice despite the fact that I was unable to take the job offer.  He says to apply again in June.  It's a long time until June and I'm not getting any younger.  Hopefully I can manage working again without the gradual return to work that Manulife would have provided.  I'm very disappointed in myself.

Re: Retirement Regret

Posted by Elsie13 on Jan 27, 2019 4:02 pm

scaredysquirrel‍ Sorry you are having all these negative feelings. I know you had problems with an anxiety medication, and you switched to a different drug?   But are you going for counceling also?  I used to see a psychologist and a psychiatrist once a week, due to anxiety.  I was in a sort of 'negative feedback' loop, and the counceling helped with that. I noticed you said "  I know now it was a huge mistake" (retiring) but you don't actually know that. You might have gone back to work and hated it.  You mentioned going out to the bus in the morning? The weather in BC is usually not as bad as Ontario and Quebec, but who knows, you might have been struggling to walk on icy side walks, or trying to get through foot deep puddles.  Also, if I remember correctly, you had your six-month treatment recently, and you were totally exhausted? 
      I don't think you should be so hard on yourself. Cancer really changes a person!
In 2016: diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer. Treatment: hysterectomy, chemo, radiation. Afterwards: No Evidence of Disease!

Re: Retirement Regret

Posted by MommaBear on Jan 28, 2019 1:30 am

Dear scaredysquirrel‍,

Last year, you seemingly had deep-seated anxieties about returning to work that were fear-driven for reasons both known and unknown to you.  My guess is that had you returned, you may not have thrived.  Of course, your mental outlook has improved because you are no longer faced with the threat of a daily grind of commuting to/fro and enduring the challenges of interacting with others at work, performance reviews and the gamut of cultural pressures of the work environment.  You now relish the view from a distance and it's looking much better from this perspective, but the reality of surmounting the challenges of holding down a job become harder after cancer even while in remission because the treatment has been so difficult.  We are no longer the same person.  We often make decisions based on our feelings -- this is common.   You have many subconscious emotional reasons for deciding as you decided.  Your difficulty now though is you're possibly experiencing a calling to return to the "familiar" "normal you", but opportunity for real growth and satisfaction lies in moving ahead into your new volunteer endeavours and growing into the "new you".  There is rich satisfaction in helping/being with others who need us.  I think we are only ever truly happy when we can can put the needs of others ahead of our own fears.  You have so much to offer!  And, who knows?  The volunteer work may lead to a better, more fulfilling, hopefully physically easier part-time job for you down the road!

Also, I think I remember you mentioning you used to love to play piano.  I'd love to have time to practice playing piano again.  I never made it past a Grade 3 piano level, and probably can't even play at that level now.  What a talent you must have!  So, in addition to volunteering, you might really enjoy making music again.  

We are all broken fragile vessels, but we can still contain the light.  Don't let yours go dim!
You go, Girl!  

Hugs and prayers,
- MommaBear

Re: Retirement Regret

Posted by princessmaura on Jan 28, 2019 6:23 am

Momma Bear‍, thanks for so beautifully putting into words the message to scaredysquirrel‍...it's so true that after cancer and the cancer treatments, we are no longer the same person we once were...we now have to work much harder to take care of ourselves;  we, who have been through so much of an ordeal, both mentally, spiritually, and physically...
now is the time to rest and recuperate from life's daily struggles, if we can...and healing should be our first priority...

Re: Retirement Regret

Posted by Dielle on Jan 28, 2019 1:21 pm

scaredysquirrel‍, I think you are right that there is not a lot of support (other than on here) for people who are more than a couple of months past their final treatment.  It is very hard for others to understand what we go through and its even hard for us to imagine what it will be like.

I went back to work and even though I knew it was going to be hard and was prepared for it, it was much harder than I expected.  So as Elsie13‍ and MommaBear‍ pointed out you don't know how you would have fared.  It is quite possible that you were not ready at that time.  You had to make a choice and you chose what you thought was best for you then.  Thats all any of us can do.  If you feel that are now ready to go back to work you can make a different choice.

You think that June's a long time away but think about how much better it would be to go to work when you are really looking forward to it rather than dreading.  In the meantime, enjoy your volunteer work and let us know how that goes.  And explore other interests and options.  Maybe you will decide that you don't want a job after all.

Take care, 

Re: Retirement Regret

Posted by scaredysquirrel on Jan 29, 2019 1:30 am

Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts and encouraging words.  I did post something about my first day on the volunteer job.  It went really well.  Thank goodness for my bookstore retail background and training.  The register is super easy, reminds me of the first registers we had until our POS registers came along.  No scanning, lol.  oh well that's okay.  I have to do the deposit and closing balancing, something I did at my job (only way more detailed).  Yes, I guess  I can second guess myself for jumping the gun so soon.  Maybe having the retirement package on my desk for so long was too tempting? I was getting more and more depressed as the time went on.  I think, though, I was looking at things the wrong way.  Although, I am of course grateful for surviving cancer and the treatments, I should have looked at going back to work as a "gift" and appreciated that it could possibly be my last "kick at the can" before retiring.  I will never know now.  I am sure going back would have been hard, especially given my daily commute.  I could have driven of course, but I got used to taking transit.  Anyway, I have to accept the fact that I did not return and opted for retirement. It's still a word I have a struggle with because I feel too young and have the desire to work.  I don't know when one knows the right time to pack it in.  For now the volunteer job is helping.  My skating is really a pick me up, although at times I wonder why I'm at a rink and not at work!  I suppose in time I will adjust, at least I hope too.  I really missed my job today.  I was wistfully thinking about it.  I probably do idealize things from time to time.  Yes, it's easy to miss all the great things about your job and forget all the things you didn't like.  Maybe that is the problem.  Twenty years in the same job is a long time.  I guess I never thought I'd feel so horrible about leaving my job.  I wish I would have felt this way last September.  Anyway, I'm relieved my brain is still working!   I think chemo does do some damage to our brains.  I mean it is a harsh chemical after all.  Well the gift store worked out, maybe Douglas College is still a possibility.  I will be almost 65 when I reapply.  At least I will gain my confidence again at the volunteer job.  Thanks again everyone.  

Re: Retirement Regret

Posted by scaredysquirrel on Mar 21, 2019 6:04 pm

I've been rereading some of my posts and trying to understand why I decided to retire instead of returning to work as some have here.  I should have read more posts about returning to work and how that went for everyone.  As it's been mentioned, I am probably looking at my job through "rose colored" glasses at the moment.  When I had the choice to go back, I caved and retired instead!  Makes no sense to me now.  I am feeling better and stronger since my treatments ended.  Oh well, I have to keep focused on what's ahead.  My husband's surgery is the most important event on my plate at the moment.