I’m a working mother, who is forever on her toes multi-tasking, to meet deadlines. It would be dishonest if I say I haven’t harboured fantasies to retire. Oh, to retire and to be on vacation all the time. To sleep late, to take that trip or to rekindle the long-lost hobbies. How often have I felt that twinge of envy for that colleague on his farewell day?

The other day I bumped into one of them on my way to work but then it took me a while to recognise him. Because the usually suave and well turned out gentleman was nowhere around. This was a slightly disheveled fellow with faraway look in his eyes and a stoop in his shoulders. We made polite conversation and moved on. But that brief meeting made me relook at my ideas of retirement.

Retire comes from French and means “withdraw” or “tear away” …. ouch… Sounds a little cruel or may be the French knew something that I didn’t! It turns out that the French did get it right. Retirement does hit badly especially the ones who refuse to see the writing on the wall. Often people consider their job as an extension of their persona. With the job gone, the people and the perks disappear too. And so does the person’s self-confidence. That rocking chair doesn’t seem so rocking any more. They become cranky and withdrawn. The family around them just doesn’t know how to handle this stranger.

The grumpy exterior often hides more than it reveals. There is a sense of worthlessness that just pulls them into the pit called depression. Without the daily motivation of getting ready for work, they stop making an effort to look and dress better. With no fixed routine, the schedule for meals and chores goes haywire. And life as they’ve known it slips out of their hands. Sometimes the depression is so bad it gives way to suicidal thoughts.

Seek help before it’s too late.  Self-reliance is so ingrained in us, it’s actually overrated. There’s no harm in looking for solutions from people who are trained to do so. Professional help and therapy can do wonders. A timely helping hand is just what is required to avert a crisis. I have often felt that more than the people who suffer from mental health issues, it’s the people around them who need to be aware.


Women retirees seem to fare slightly better may be because they never really did disconnect with the rest of their life. Probably that’s the clue to a happier retirement. Some pointers for those who are still a little away from hanging their boots:

Do not stare at that closed door of your office. It had a purpose in your life which it has fulfilled. Just turn around and you'll realize that retirement was actually what you had imagined and more. 

Keep in mind, that your job was just a section of your life and not the entire pizza
Dr.Shivani Salil

Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology
Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital

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