When it's time to go
A job involves having to show up at a specific point in time, putting forth a specific effort and receiving a monetary reward as well as stature in a community.
Retirement is choosing what specific points in time to show up, by choosing what efforts one to put forth, and typically involves no monetary reward. The rewards are more personal and may difficult to be seen or measured by others.
You can still stay involved in one's community but on different levels, volunteer work and volunteer boards can be rewarding, but also as time consuming as work, should you choose.
The added time made available to hunt, fish, bike, hike, ski, paddle, travel, etc. well that is just a very pleasant bonus.
"A dolt of a word," what a magnificent phrase.
However, that word, retirement, looks entirely different depending upon what sort of occupation a person has been locked into for upwards of 30 years. I can imagine that retirement for a ski patroller or a brain surgeon or a publisher may be just as disorienting and lonely as your brilliantly describe.
For the person who has been chained to a broom, or a prison guard tower, or a classroom with dwindling monetary and administrative support, or a plumbing truck mucking out others' deposits, or a grocery store clerk with gravity-induced cankles, retirement really is that plush sofa on the shining hill. The lure of retirement is what elevates tired blue-collar workers of America out of bed every morning. Each day brings us one day closer to freedom and autonomy. And if it is relevance that we need, there are so many diverse opportunities to do something useful in post-retirement from a job that has daily drained every ounce of energy and creativity from a person. There is so much yet to learn. There are so many sunrises and sunsets to savor. There are so many ways to meet new friends and to help people, plants, and animals. For this retiree, retirement has proved to be the most anticipated word and event since graduation.