How to find purpose in retirement

purpose in retirement

Greetings from the Vee Bar ranch in Wyoming. The family and I came here for a long weekend to do a little skiing at the Snowy Range and to check Wyoming off our list of states visited. We’re trying to get our daughter to all 50 before she graduates from high school. The Cowboy State is number 21.

I’ll write more about that in a future post, but today I wanted to write about something a little different: how to find purpose in retirement. One of the most popular posts I’ve written at IR is 15 Practical Ways to Live a Purposeful Life. One of the most popular books in recent memory is The Purpose Driven Life. Neurologist, psychiatrist and holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said that the striving to find meaning in one’s life is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans.

In other words, we’re hard wired to want purpose and meaning. That need doesn’t somehow vanish when you enter retirement. If anything, I’ve noticed that it gets stronger. When I talk to clients that have been retired for awhile, the desire to find purpose and to leave some sort of legacy that outlasts them is important.

I’m starting this series of Saturday bucket list posts and I want them to be fun and encouraging, but with this first one I thought I’d just point out that your list doesn’t need to consist entirely of bungee jumping and exotic travel.  As Shakespeare once said: “Leisure is a beautiful garment for a day, but a horrible choice for permanent attire.”

Don’t get me wrong. You should absolutely do fun and interesting things. Splurge on yourself. Be a little selfish. Those things are great, but don’t forget to add items to your list like giving, serving and volunteering as well. Maybe that means doing something like my retired friend Dan who spent three months volunteering on Mercy Ships in the Congo. Maybe that’s building houses for Habitat for Humanity like my client Bill. Maybe it means volunteering in your church or running for town council. Whatever it is, be thinking of ways to use your time, treasure and talents during retirement that will have a positive impact on others and will bring meaning and purpose to you. Visit our Pinterest page for more ideas on volunteering during retirement.

Since this series will cover things on my list, I picked an item that matches up with the ideas above. Over the years my wife and I have given to an organization called charity: water that brings clean water to communities in need around the world. The wells have huge health ramifications and also free people to use their time more productively than walking miles every day just to get enough water for drinking, cooking and bathing. In 2015 I’ll take revenue from the store at IR and fund one of those wells in the name of you, my much appreciated readers. I’ll update you later in the year on progress toward the goal. In the meantime, be thinking about what you can add to your own bucket list that would be fun but would also help you fulfill your purpose in life.

Have a great weekend.

Joe

 

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