Do you bound out of bed in the morning excited about your day? Or do you move from one activity to another easily distracted by whatever catches your attention? Do you feel a sense of purpose or calling and find meaning in your activities or are you bored, aimless and uninterested? I was discussing recently with a friend how challenging it is to find a sense of purpose after our families are launched and we have left careers that were interesting, challenging and purposeful. Without a career or family to give us purpose and direction for our days, we need to figure out what has meaning and excitement for us. I ultimately found my “retirement-age” calling by collaboratively creating The 3rd Act.
The experts tell us that our health, happiness and satisfaction in life are heavily influenced by having a clear sense of purpose. We found in our research for The 3rd Act workshop that purpose and meaning is the most important factor in healthy aging. Yet, so many of us cast about, searching for something that brings us the sense of engagement in something larger than ourselves.
When we dream about “retirement” or slowing down before we leave a full-time career, we may think about doing those things we haven’t had time to do like cleaning out the closets or getting the photos in albums and spending time with our grandchildren. Or we think about some recreational pleasures we have denied ourselves while we worked 50 or 60 hours a week. But doing chores, playing golf or bridge, spending time with the grandchildren, or traveling to France may not give us the mission that engages our hearts and minds, that takes us outside ourselves.
This time of life during our 50’s or 60’s or 70’s, traditionally called retirement, gives us an opportunity to reflect, to explore and then to create a meaningful way to use the gift of our wisdom, experience and time to make our neighborhoods, our city or our country a better place.
Have you taken time to reflect and find your purpose for your 3rd Act? How did you figure it out?