For years and years, you got up every morning, went to work, and had a purpose. You had something specific to do each day. But, even if you loved your job and it gave you a reason to wake up every day, you’ve probably daydreamed about retirement. The truth is, very few people are actually prepared to manage their time once the retirement dream becomes their new reality. And all of the newfound time on your hands can come as quite a shock to your system when you are used to a certain routine and days jam-packed with meetings and deliverables.
Many people who’ve recently retired feel an overall sense of loss and a lack of purpose. Others feel like they’ve reached their peak and are no longer needed. Filling your life with a busy schedule of activities can bring short-term happiness, but in the long run, what will bring fulfillment is a life with purpose.
If you’re thinking, “Yes! I need to find my purpose”, but are wondering how to do that, here are four ways that will help you find meaning and purpose in your retirement:
1. Clarity comes from engagement, not thought. Embrace this key idea and it will change your life. You can’t just think about finding purpose, you must take action to make it happen. Thinking about what you are passionate about is the easy part. And of course, if you don’t know what you are passionate about it is definitely worth taking some time to figure that out. Just make sure to take the next step, which is to quit thinking and start doing.
2. Don’t be afraid to take a risk. What’s the worst thing that can happen if you try something new and it doesn’t work out? You might lose a few hours of your time but think of the rewards of discovering your purpose and enjoying it in the process. Risks can be scary but you really have nothing to lose.
3. Get social with like-minded individuals. Being around other retirees who are also motivated to find their purpose and be engaged can only help you on your quest. They can motivate you and you can feed off one another to help get that fulfillment you all desire. Joining clubs and associations that interest you will help you meet new people with similar interests. And, by all means, stay connected to the events and people you enjoyed during your career.
4. Volunteer and/or mentor. There are so many benefits to volunteering in retirement. For a comprehensive list, check out the blog post I wrote on this very topic. For inspiration, you can also browse the numerous personal stories on my website of people who have found their purpose in the second half of life. And if you’re local in Orange County, EncoreOC is a great resource. EncoreOC connects skilled executives and business professionals with non-profits who need their help as volunteers.
Retirees play a significant role in volunteering in our country, and many, many retirees have found their purpose by exploring volunteer opportunities.
There are many things that you can do to find your purpose and meaning in retirement. Pick one or two of the above and get started; soon you’ll be on the path to a fulfilling and meaningful retirement!