Retirement Pain – When a Heartache Won’t Heal
The Senior Years and adolescence have something in common: they both seem to be the period in life when heartaches and heartbreaks take forever to cure. The intensity of emotion is so paramount that feelings seem to soar and then plunge with equal rapidity. Often, it seems the cause is never clear. Just as uncertain is the cure. In those days, it feels as if the pain will never subside. Dark clouds loom. Day to day life is met with depression and hurt and unanswered questions.
Eventually, it all passes away. Sometimes it gets tucked in a memory bag and remembered now and again on particular and special occasions. Something seems to prompt recall. That passes too.
Many expect seniors to be able to handle heartache because they have experienced it more. That is not necessarily the case. Disappointment in another, hurt over insensitive actions or behavior or words, a partner, however defined, undergoes some very serious malady and the pain, experienced by one, is real to the other.
From wherever the pain originates, it is just as real in later life as it is in adolescence. Pain is pain. Blithely disregarding it does not offer a balm. Cliches do not offer any consolation. Our emotions need sensitivity and care, affection and thoughtfulness. It isn’t immature, at any age, to admit and to openly go through pain. On the contrary, those who refuse to be open about their pain, most often will bury it and deal with it in other unhealthy ways for a longer period of time.
Healthy human beings examine and demonstrate ways to be and remain healthy. Emotional, just as well as physical pain, must be given attention, sometimes even going so far as seeking professional help, in order to overcome and get back on track with the good life that is available.
Another important dimension of healing a heartache is to avoid doing it in isolation. Maintain contact with others. Find persons with whom you can share life and laughter and even your story, refusing, however, to dwell on it interminably. That will chase your best friends away and you will be miserable.
Take initiative to be out and about. Discover new friends. If you are going through a separation or divorce or loss of a spouse, partner or friend in death, find and attend support groups. Create a comfort level that allows you to move outside a confined space. Look for ways to have fun, be in groups which offer healthy distractions.
Finally, invite yourself to enjoy some manner of meditative stillness. Discover that being outside yourself means more than going out… it means allowing a spiritual force to come in. Open up to the sharing of the calm and peace of contemplation, away from your immediate crises, look and be receptive to hearing a still, small voice offering you healing, promise, love, hope and quiet fulfillment available to each of us in retirement.