Yes, retirement is a time of freedom and fun, but for many retirees. It’s also a time of feeling a little lost, particularly if the responsibilities of work and/or parenting have previously defined much of your life. You may now wonder, “What’s my purpose?” And it’s important you find it, not just because having a purpose in retirement gives you a sense of direction, satisfaction ,and happiness, but because it also benefits your health. We can help you get started.
The Link Between Purpose and Health
According to Harvard Health, having a purpose later in life may help reduce the risk of early death and, in general, may improve your health in several ways such as:
- By reducing stress and/or helping you to recover more quickly when stressed.
- By reducing inflammation in the body that’s linked to cardiovascular disease and other health conditions.
- By making you more likely to protect your health through eating better, sleeping better, and increasing your use of preventative health services.
Finding Passion and Purpose in Retirement
So, now that you know the importance of having a purpose in retirement, the question is how do you go about finding that purpose? It may have been a long time since you’ve focused on what you’re passionate about or what you’d like to try – another great benefit of retirement is that it gives you the time to do so! These ideas can get you started:
- Open yourself up to opportunity – It won’t help to put pressure on yourself in your endeavor to find purpose, but you have to be open to the process, and also allow yourself to see new opportunities that may be in front of you. Practicing mindfulness can help with this as it teaches you to be more at the moment.
- Enjoy some self-reflection – Consider your talents, skills, and strengths, as well as what you enjoy in daily life. Talents and skills can be your current and past hobbies. What you enjoy can include types of foods, books, movies, and music. Then, consider what attracts you to these things to find common themes that you can explore.
- Put yourself out there – Maybe you love to sing in the car, you doodle constantly, you are a champion at charades, or you always dreamed of writing a novel. There are several ways to explore potential creative outlets like these from joining the church choir to taking an art class or acting class to self-publishing a book (it’s easier than you think today).
- Broaden your horizons – With age comes wisdom, but none of us know it all, and your next passion may just be waiting for you to discover it. Consider learning a new skill, a new language, go back to school to finish a degree, or travel to learn about different cultures. Whether you find renewed purpose or not, continued learning will always reap rewards.
- Volunteer your time – Young people can benefit tremendously from tutors, mentors, and coaches; depending on your experience and skills, you could reach out to a local school, sports league, or vocational program to offer your help. You might also consider a mission trip either nationally or internationally; check with local churches for opportunities. Or, check VolunteerMatch or AmeriCorps Seniors to find volunteer opportunities in your area as another way to find purpose.