I am a boomer at heart although technically a member of the Silent Generation. I left the corporate world in 2010 but still engage in work-like activities to feel relevant and needed.
My network expanded since transitioning to my current life-stage. In 2017 I started a local group of senior adults with Judy, my wife. We migrated to Zoom when COVID derailed our lives. I also participate in many online discussion groups with peers across the globe.
I noticed a trend over the years. A portion of the ‘retired’ senior adult population complains about being lost. Both women and men have these feelings. The latter are less apt to confess for fear of seeming weak.
Being lost and lacking direction in our lives is difficult to admit for all of us. These feelings reveal themselves only when honestly examined. The root cause usually stems from a lack of purpose and meaning.
The lives of those caught in the maze were previously defined in terms of work and accomplishments. When work stops sadness and anger replace dignity and self respect. The motivation “to get up and make the donuts” in the morning escapes.
Many are lonely. Some never married, others lost their partners or have no nearby family or close friends. A child cared for an ill parent for years. COVID isolation magnified this loneliness.
Instead of being motivated, they listen to a negative inner voice in their head. It slyly draws them back to bed long after they should arise. Later the voice convinces them that it is better to eat, drink, watch TV, read the paper, work a crossword puzzle, etc. than to take a walk.
Then the same voice scolds them for being bad!
Chores are avoided; tasks become burdensome. Change is frightening and couples with anxiety. Mild, even severe depression may follow.
This hamster wheel existence repeats daily, as if starring in one’s own personal Groundhog Day movie. Perhaps they somehow have a reality check, perhaps not.
I have had similar feelings at times. Some were due to severe illnesses, others to low self esteem or sheer boredom.
Fortunately I never spiraled down into depression. Support systems and resiliency helped me bounce back and fight through setbacks.
Self reflection is one of the exercises I used to counteract these feelings of uneasiness. The steps are simple, the execution difficult.
List past activities that elevated you to get high on life, operate in a groove, attain flow. A place where you were lost in space and time.
Then ask yourself WHY? Repeat until you understand what truly brings you happiness or contentment.
Then devise an action plan. Pattern your remaining life’s journey around the sources of inner joy you exposed.
It worked for me through trial and error. I hope it works for you.
Michael Yublosky has been called a Renaissance Man by many but really considers himself to be an observer of life, an outlier and Don Quijote rolled into one. He is still active in the business world and can be found on LinkedIn.