Throughout life you, like most people, found purpose in many aspects of life, and maybe didn’t even know it. Early on it was getting good grades in school or competing in a sport, and later your purpose may have turned to raising a healthy and happy family and/or succeeding at your chosen career. In retirement, however, when the nest is empty and the career has come to an end, it’s still important to make purposeful living a driving force in your life to stay healthy and fulfilled.
Grade school, high school, college or trade school are in the past but that’s no reason to stop learning. Life-long learning is actually a very real opportunity at colleges throughout the nation and one that can benefit you in so many ways. According to the matherinstitute.com article, “Extra Credit: The Cognitive Benefits of Lifelong Learning for Older Adults,” an award-winning 2020 study showed that seniors who took classes may well have improved their “cognitive control, working memory and episodic memory,” and the more time they spent on class work, the more cognitive function improved.
Whether you want to brush up on your high school French, take that anthropology class you wish you had taken in college, or just learn more about the world, there is probably a class out there just waiting for you. If you aren’t sure where to begin these websites and articles can help:
Also, research nearby colleges and universities, community centers and senior centers for different learning options in person as well as online. One thing is for sure, learning is a great way to pursue purposeful living in retirement!
What makes you happy? Working with your hands? Creating beautiful art or craft pieces? Cooking? Helping others? Think back over your life and recall the times that you did something that really fulfilled you and made you feel proud. Maybe you mentored young people starting out in your career path, or enjoyed woodworking, painting, or weaving, or really loved planning events and entertaining. Whatever it was, it may hold the key to purposeful living and finding your passion in retirement.
Consider old hobbies like coin collecting, fixing things, or a sport you used to enjoy like hiking or swimming. In most cases these can be a great place to start (or start again) and make purposeful living a daily goal. Find out more ways to begin on the path to purposeful living with the Psychology Today article, “Five Steps to Finding Your Passion.”
Decades-long careers may come to an end, but all the knowledge you have gained during those years is yours to keep and share. For example, healthcare workers are often needed to help in programs that help others get healthy, prepare for a new baby, or learn parenting skills. Or perhaps a career in teaching can be shared through a literacy or tutoring program. Those with specific business experience can help others through programs like the Small Business Administration’s SCORE or other local programs.
Many organizations are always looking for experienced volunteers to help them achieve their goals so check websites like volunteermatch.com, AARP, justserve.org, or idealist.org for local opportunities to make purposeful living a reality.
When seeking purposeful living it may also be worthwhile to think about what you truly care about. Maybe it’s nature or the environment, civil rights, or fighting poverty, there are no bad choices when it comes to following your heart. To find out where you can help check the websites of different non-profit organizations that share your concerns, since they generally operate on donations, they are usually looking for volunteers as well.
Many such groups operate on a local level, but others span a state, the country and the world so opportunities may also provide the chance to travel, see the world and help make it a better place. For a rundown of some of the groups and causes in need of help at home and abroad, check out volunteerworld.com or try some of the organizations in the getzelos.com article, “Want to Give Your Time? Check These 20 Websites for Volunteer Opportunities.”
Purposeful living is no accident and at Thrive Senior Living we go the extra mile to help our residents find and pursue their purpose every day. Download our Senior Living Options guide and contact us to learn more about our housing, amenities and services.