Ask Dr. Giles: I feel guilty for retiring early due to this illness.

Lisa writes:

I’m feeling guilty about retiring early due to health reasons. I don’t feel *that* bad, but I’m finding it difficult to keep juggling work, family and health issues. I’m only 46, a single parent, and still supporting my 3 kids. By cutting all my expenses to the bone, I think we can make it, but I feel lazy and guilty for wanting to stop working.

It’s normal to worry about our choices when they seem to be different from those around us. We wonder if we’re doing the right thing because nobody else is making the same choice. The truth is, however, it may be there are few people who are in a situation similar to yours: single parent of three children with health problems who has the choice to retire. I’m assuming you have some specific reasons for choosing to retire (I’m also assuming the decision has been made, right?). If it is true that you have already retired, then I would suggest looking forward rather than backward. Recall the reasons you chose to retire and follow through with them. Decide today to make your choice work out. That is, given that the choice has been made and your circumstances are set, do everything you can to give it the best chance to become the best decision you ever made. I’m excited for you. Robert Frost said, “Freedom lies in being bold.” Don’t be afraid to make a bold choice. It just may set you free.