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Unlocking Your Purpose in Retirement

Your Purpose in Retirement

When you picture retirement, do you dream of days on the golf course, brunching with the family, countless hours spent in the garden, walking the dog, or sailing off into the sunset?

Of course, treasured pastimes will bring us joy, but when the novelty wears off, you may find yourself asking, what is my real purpose in retirement?

There’s life beyond leisure

It’s a fact that when we imagine retirement, our minds run wild with our favourite hobbies, yet what we often forget is how we will find true purpose in our retirement years. Financial planning aside, we fail to consider how we might replace the fulfilment that our careers once brought us over the many years that we’ve been working and contributing to society.

Then, what can feel like a shock to some, life comes to a sudden halt and we are left wondering what it was all for and how to fill our days, now that we are no longer needed by our employer, and our children have moved out of home, busy raising families of their own. However there is still life beyond leisure.

Reset the sails and keep sailing on

A misconception about retirement is that we should wind down and take life at a much slower pace. Although some people may seek a more relaxed way of life, for others, it can be a shock to the system after being used to the busyness of work and family life that has consumed them for decades. There’s a sure fire way to combat this which is to stay busy by resetting the sails, and keep sailing on with things you enjoy!

Find projects around the home that you can focus on and put a plan together with key milestones that you would like to achieve. Of course the timeline is flexible and there’s no consequence for not meeting the deadline, however it will give you a goal to wake up for and satisfaction once the task is complete. Alternatively, you might be able to help a neighbour or friend with one of their projects – they will be grateful for your assistance!

Spend time with family, especially the little ones

There’s nothing that will make you feel energised than spending time with the junior members of the family. When asked what people most look forward to in retirement, many retirees agree that spending more time with the people they love is at the top of their list.

The problem is that often our own children are already very busy with their own commitments and might not have as much time for Mum and Dad.

By offering to take care of your grandchildren, it will likely be gratefully accepted by their parents, allowing them to have some much needed downtime or get chores done. This also provides you with the opportunity to appreciate the simple things in life, by seeing the world through the eyes of a child. It will also take your focus away from any worries, concerns or boredom you may have, and will provide you with a real sense of purpose.

Start a business, become an entrepreneur

There are many different avenues that you can take when it comes to starting your own business in retirement. If you have a professional background, such as IT, Accounting or Business, you might choose to work part time as a mentor or trainer and share your expertise with others. As a tradesperson, or someone who is handy, you might find starting a small mobile business assisting people with day-to-day jobs will fill some of your time.

Perhaps you might like to start a hobby business, such as growing plants, breeding animals, selling boutique crafts, preparing meals or baked goods, photography, pet sitting or walking dogs to keep your fitness up and make some extra money in retirement. With the rise of the internet and social media channels, it’s possible to create your own website and promote your products and services to a local market in order to generate interest.

Volunteer in a not for profit organisation

If you’re in a position where you’re comfortable financially, however would like to utilise the wealth of skills that you’ve built up over the years, then volunteering for a not for profit organisation is a fantastic opportunity to do so. It doesn’t matter about the type of experience you have, there are always ways to help those less fortunate than yourself.

Some charities advertise vacancies for people looking to volunteer their time, or you can approach your preferred charity to ask if they are in need of someone with your particular skill set or if they have any general positions available. Ways to help may involve serving at a homeless shelter, organising a toy drive, raising funds for those in need, helping at a church, or reading to children in a school.

Join a hobby group or learn a new language

You may already have a hobby in mind, or are unsure of what might interest you, however either way, joining a special interest group will allow you to learn new skills and meet people from different walks of life. From book club, to running groups, barefoot bowling, trivia nights, networking, nature spotting, dance lessons, cooking classes, or craft groups, there’s something for everyone. If you’re unsure of where to find out about the different hobby groups available, try Gumtree, Facebook, or your local Community Centre.

With your new found sense of freedom and time available to pursue activities, learning a language is one of the best things you can do, as it not only provides a challenge but has also been proven to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. There are many reasons why people learn a new language in retirement, including plans to travel to a foreign country, connecting with their ancestry, strengthening their brain and building new friendships.

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