Is your purpose in retirement to be able to get out of bed in the morning without struggling or do you hop out ready to embrace the day and all the wonderful things you are looking forward to doing? While aging bodies may mitigate the degree to which we can actually hop out of bed, attitude and goals inspire us to at least feel that we would like to hop out!
Are you retired and wonder why you feel stressed or does just the thought of retirement stress you out? One reason for the stress could be the lack of a vision or purpose in retirement. Don’t panic! That purpose doesn’t have to be to save the world. It could be as simple as I want to see good friends at least a few times a week or I want to keep Fido happy by taking him for a walk three times a day.
While writing this, I happened to look out my office window and caught sight of a friend, a widow whose husband died about three years ago. At first no one saw her and she was somewhat despondent. Two years ago she acquired a dog. Now she is out every day walking her new friend and talking with everyone in the neighborhood. She looks and acts like a healthy woman who is enjoying life…and I’l bet, sharing a great deal of love with her children and grandchildren. She now has a purposeful retirement!
Your purpose may be totally different. You might aspire to raise a million dollars for the local food bank because you hate to see children go hungry or to start something like a dance program for children or older adults. Whatever your purpose, having a clear vision of it will make your feel better. A recent study at Cornell University, and aired on NPR, has shown that people with a sense of purpose are healthier and live longer than those who are more or less aimless. We know happiness and social connection have positive benefits on health; Research now suggests that having a sense of purpose is equally beneficial.
Thinking we hear too much “stuff” about the trials of retirement, my primary goal is to spark the conversation with positive retirement ideas and debunk the nonsense about the agony of aging. Please share ideas that spark your imagination and energy…tell us how it makes you feel better, stronger, happier, more interesting…you name it!