After spending decades saving for retirement and paying off the family home, many baby boomers lose their identity or sense of purpose in life after collecting their final paycheck and officially exiting the workforce. So much of our identity as boomers is connected to our career and chosen profession. That’s why it can be challenging psychologically when it is time to move on to the final chapter of life.
Finding a new purpose in life is just another rite of passage. By following the advice below, many seniors find that they are happier than they have ever been before with more freedom to pursue lifelong dreams. More free time means seniors are in a unique position to get to know themselves all over again without the added pressure of a full-time job that makes it difficult to pursue hobbies and new pursuits.
Reassess Your Values, Gifts and Passions to Find Your Purpose in Life
At some point in life, we have all wondered about why we are here. Seniors Matter recommends Psychology Today’s idea to ask yourself specific questions designed to ferret out your true purpose in life beyond paying the bills and raising a family. One question to ask yourself is: what activities do you participate in that captivates you to the extent that you forget to eat and lose track of time. This type of exercise provides important clues about your purpose in life.
Identifying old hobbies and interests that you may have neglected is a good place to start if there is no clear passion that you have been longing to explore. Most of us have clues throughout our life about our true purpose. Consider the compliments you have received from others about ways that you excel in life for possible hints.
Find a Way to Help Others
The idea of “giving back” during retirement is a popular one. Many boomers turn to volunteer work as a way to contribute to society. Select a charity that has special meaning for you and get involved. In addition to the obvious benefits of volunteerism, AARP reports The National Institute of Aging’s findings that volunteers between the ages of 60 and 86 scored higher on physical and cognitive tests than their non-volunteer peers.
Being needed is associated with providing meaning in life. When seniors feel like they are contributing to something bigger than themselves such as a cause or person, they report feeling like their life has meaning. A connection to others is key for providing a sense of purpose. Acting as a mentor or tutor provides two obvious examples of how many seniors give back to the younger generation.
Establish Healthy Routines
One obvious purpose in life is to stay healthy and practice routines guaranteed to contribute to a high-quality life. Many retirees finally have enough time to establish routines where they can integrate walking, medication and yoga into their day to promote wellness.
Most retirees agree that after leaving a structured career life behind, they need some structure in retirement too. While it is a relief not to have every hour scheduled in your day, having meals at a certain time of day and exercise routines every morning or afternoon on a regular basis offers comfort and adds to longevity.
Tap into your Creative Side
Exploring your creative side is an excellent way to find a new purpose. While painting, crafts and writing are obvious choices for creative expression, there are many ways to let your creative juices flow such as cooking a meal without a recipe or decorating your home using your design skills. Other creative outlets might include gardening and inventing products and solutions to everyday problems.
Creative problem-solvers can provide real-world answers that serve others. Being in a position to change other people’s lives by improving their quality of life provides purpose and is the path that many entrepreneurs take to start new businesses.
Find Your Tribe
A person’s tribe is comprised of like-minded people who share important interests or values. The people that you find make it easy to click with them since most likely tribe members.
As social creatures, identifying and finding your tribe is one of the truest strategies for seniors who seek to live a fulfilled life after leaving the corporate world behind. While many seniors complain about how difficult it can be to make new friends in their 50s and older, once you find your tribe, it is much easier to connect.
Joining a writer’s group or an association devoted to your favorite hobby is a favored way to meet people in your tribe. Since connection is such a crucial aspect for fulfilling your purpose in life, it makes sense to dedicate yourself to finding your tribe.
Baby boomers who lead a life with purpose are healthier and happier. While figuring out your purpose in life might sound like a daunting journey, it is not as difficult as it might sound initially. By honestly assessing your interests and skills using some of the ideas above, it becomes easier to find purpose in your golden years.