Now that you’ve retired, how do you figure out what you actually want to do with the rest of your life? There’s no easy answer to that question. So we decided to look into some ways in which we can try to help, or at least point you in the direction that’s right for you.
Now you may think gee, “I don’t seem to have a goal anymore”, or “I’ve lost my purpose now I’m not working”. And you may be floundering around and feeling like you’ve entered into no man’s land.
Well, that’s just negative thinking. Almost everyone who retires goes through a stage where they feel kind of lost, or aimless, or empty, perhaps even depressed. But it’s normal. It happens to some people two days after they exit the workplace and in the case of others it might happen two years after they leave to feel those feelings.
No one knows how or why or when (or if ever) it’ll hit them. But if it does, we want to offer you some advice on how to find or if necessary, regain, your passion in retirement.
The important thing is to discover what works for you. What works for your spouse or partner in life may possibly also play a role, especially if your hopes and goals are different from one another’s.
Do You Actually Need a Goal or Purpose?
For many retirees, the prospect of a life which embraces lots of freedom while trying out new ventures and enjoying life’s endless possibilities is enough. Contentment comes to them without their seeking or needing to find any “higher” purpose. Ask yourself if this describes you. If it does, then read no further.
If it doesn’t, then keep reading.
Questions You Should Ask Yourself
If, now that you have retired from work and you find yourself feeling lost or aimless, perhaps it’s time to get creative and try to discover what makes you tick. Or better yet, what is (are) your passion(s).
The following questions may help generate some ideas and could certainly help point you in some directions you may not have thought about before. At the very least they may encourage you to think about some new possibilities:
- What made me happy or inspired me when I was a youngster or as a teen that I'd like to revisit?
- What are my special talents which I have not yet fully explored?
- What are the characteristics I have as an individual that have intrinsic value?
- Am I more comfortable with the status quo, or am I up for new challenges?
- Do I have skills developed over the years that I can use to benefit others?
- What motivates me? Social or ethical issues? Family? Education and learning? Something else?
- Where am I spiritually? If lost, then what can I do about it?
- Will I die having regrets about not having done certain things?
8 Tips & Practical Actions
The following are some tips you can take to help propel you into action, especially if you’re having difficulty finding some passion in your life “after work”.
1. Consult a Life Coach
They’ll walk you through a process of identifying your interests and evaluate and prioritize various options.
2. Read Through a University/College Course Catalog
You may discover subjects or topics that inspire you — some you may not have realized interest you.
3. Talk to Friends & Family
Who knows you better, and possibly even more than you know yourself? Friends and family. Often they have a more objective point of view as to what turns you on and what they see as your passions.
4. Consult Your Inner Child
Many life coaches recommend you try this technique. Try to recall those things you enjoyed doing as a kid. For example, if you loved music, get involved again – study music at a local college or learn how to play an instrument; if you liked colouring and making art, take a painting or drawing class or get involved with your local arts council.
5. Listen to Your Heart
Very often the things we dwell on and dream about are the things and activities we love. When you’re interested and engaged in some pursuit it usually indicates passion.
6. Take a Chance, Be Willing to Experiment
There are no bad ideas at this stage of your life. So don’t reject things or new ideas because you believe they’re just not you. You might discover something about yourself you didn’t know, like, “Hey, I do enjoy cooking! Who knew?”
7. Make a List
Write down the things that strike you as giving pleasure and are enjoyable. Those are the things worth pursuing. All stages in our lives are part of the total work in progress that is us. Add to your list as ideas occur to you. Think “Bucket List” if that helps. Rest assured, you will find new passions to replace those once fulfilled by your job.
8. Attitude is Everything
Seeing retirement as a journey will make it a positive experience, and that’s motivating and helps keep you committed to yourself and your well-being. A bad attitude towards new experiences is just plain bad. No two ways about it!
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
Discovering your passions won’t happen overnight and you probably won’t have any big “OMG, this is it!” moments. However, you can get there if you stick to it with an open mind and some creative thinking. And you’ll be happier and have a more satisfying “after work” experience in retirement by doing so.