Dare to Discover Your Post-Retirement Purpose

There are many milestones in life at which people may arrive without much information to help guide them – puberty, a first romance, first job, marriage, menopause, and then post-retirement.  Although adults eagerly look forward to retirement after years of working to pay the bills and build security, much of one’s identity, purpose, and social engagement often are tied up with employment.  Retirement years, if not well planned, can leave older adults feeling untethered, bored, restless or trapped.  A good retirement plan not only accounts for savings and budgeting, but also for healthcare, well-being, and maintaining a sense of purpose. 

According to a recent CNBC Life report, a 2021 study of 12,825 adults over the age of 51 linked a strong purpose in life with healthier lifestyle habits and slower rates of progression of chronic illnesses.   To find meaning in retirement, many older adults learn a new skill or take up new interests.  Others find their purpose by engaging in part-time work or launching a second-act career that helps give their days direction and ease financial burdens.  Most seniors don’t return to the 9 to 5 grind, but often start new businesses based on their passions, offer consulting services, volunteer or discover new hobbies that “spark joy”.

At the intersection of doing an activity that you love, that you are good at, the world needs, and you can get paid for doing is the Japanese concept of Ikigai – or your “reason for being”.  Sometimes referred to as your “why” mission, pursuing an activity that you enjoy doing, which helps yourself and others, and has potential for growth can help give direction, purpose, value and meaning to the retirement years. 

With greater longevity, many older adults are living decades past traditional retirement age and there are many healthy years in which to achieve new goals and discover value and meaning later in life.  Learn more about un-retirement and finding your purpose by following this link to author and mindset coach George Jerkin’s website and The DARE Method.