So, you’ve finally made it to the big day: retirement. Maybe you’ve been looking forward to traveling the world when you no longer have work responsibilities. Perhaps you’re excited to try a new hobby. Or maybe you haven’t figured out yet what you want out of the next chapter of your life.
It’s true that without a typical work week to keep you busy, you can begin to feel as though you lack clear direction or purpose. But there’s no reason to feel that way when there is so much goodness ahead!
Here are a few ideas to consider if you want to find a new purpose in life after you stop working.
Assess Your Core Values
Retirement gives you the chance to re–evaluate your life in a way that nothing else does. Not only does retirement give you the gift of free time, it also comes at a time when you have a wealth of life experience to draw from. In the hustle and bustle of working life, it’s easy to lose sight of your core values. Now is the perfect opportunity to align your core values, beliefs, and goals.
The experience of your career is often a good starting point. What aspects of your career left you with a feeling of fulfillment? When considering this question, it’s helpful to think of things that didn’t involve monetary gains, such as raises or bonuses. Try to zero in on those elements that fell in line with your fundamental being. It’s also helpful to consider any activities that received positive feedback from friends, peers, and family members.
Are your core values centered in faith? Read about how Acts works to address the spiritual needs of older adults.
Try New Things
Once you’re done working, you have the chance to try new things at almost any moment. This is an excellent way to find new and exciting pursuits. Often times a lack of purpose is just a sign that you haven’t found the right activities that bring you joy. Now you can try almost anything to see what really engages your spirit.
Not sure where to start? No problem. In today’s interconnected world, there is no shortage of new groups, activities, and outings that you can find online. Try using local Meetup groups or other social media channels to find activities that might be of interest to you. You’re encouraged to cast a wide net in the beginning stages, as you never know what activity may spark emotion, and there’s no shame in stopping anything you don’t like. If you’ve considered moving to a retirement community, this is a great reason — many are filled with clubs, activities, hobbies, classes, and more.
Click here to read about staying active after retirement.
Connect to Your Local Community
Finding new purpose can often be as easy as getting involved with the right people in your community. There are many options for meeting new people who may be able to connect you to a sense of purpose. You can start by using existing connections you’ve made throughout your life, but don’t be discouraged from delving into new spaces where you will be able to meet people outside your usual circles.
You never know where one conversation can lead you. After a life of working, it may feel as though you’re confined to interacting with the same groups of people. In fact, the opposite is true. With the freedom and flexibility that retirement brings, you are more open than ever to pursue the kinds of community interactions that produce a sense of health, well being, and purpose. This is another aspect where a retirement community can aid greatly.
Think About Others
There is no shortage of data to show just how helpful it can be to help others. As a matter of fact, getting outside of yourself and helping others is one of the best ways to enlighten your life with newfound purpose.
Volunteer opportunities are abundant in today’s world. You don’t have to limit yourself, either. If you’re passionate about nature and the environment, find organizations who share similar priorities. More invested in helping the less fortunate? Try volunteering at a local homeless shelter. Any organization would love your help, and you’ll love helping.
Read, Explore, and Interact
When you’re not working each day, it’s tempting to fall into habitual patterns of inaction. Perhaps the best way to prevent this kind of behavior is to remind yourself of all the world’s opportunities. Furthermore, your current stage in life has blessed you with the chance to explore a great deal of them at your choosing.
Reading is a great way to discover activities and communities that align with your purpose. But you don’t have to limit yourself to novels and magazines. Try going online and finding local bloggers or websites that write about subjects you’re passionate about. Visit your local library and see if there are any events that you can participate in.
Retirement gives you the space to explore new places, both within yourself and in the wider world. Rather than allowing your world to shrink in the space created by not working, you should see this time as a chance to expand. Any expectations you had for your life are best addressed by doing all that you can to explore the many opportunities presented by retirement. In doing so, you put yourself in a position to connect with your life’s true purpose, no matter how far away it may seem at the moment.
Click here to read a list of retirement hobbies for couples (or friends!)
Finding your purpose is a process requiring constant adjustments and self-awareness. When you stay curious about life and assess your own perspective in relation to the world, you’ll soon discover that searching for a new purpose is one of the most fulfilling ways you can choose to spend your time. Always remember that your retirement is a chance to do those things you’ve always wanted to do. So, get out there and explore your purpose!
For more information on retirement, read these articles by Acts Retirement-Life Communities: