It may seem strange to talk about ways in which to find purpose in your later years. After all, you’ve undoubtedly always lived a purposeful life, at least throughout your adult life. Whether that purpose was growing your business, “growing” your children, contributing to society, your life was a busy and purposeful one. But what happens when you retire, and your children become adults and leave home to begin their own lives?
We’re so busy with our daily lives, activities, and commitments that our being gets lost in the shuffle. Happily, our later years allow us to find new purposes for living by focusing on ourselves and what makes us happy instead of constantly focusing on making others happy.
Lest you think that focusing on yourself is selfish, think again. It’s not. In fact, studies of older adults have shown that those who discover and then actualize their life’s purpose live longer — and more happily — than those who don’t. In addition, they maintain a higher degree of physical and mental health.
Finding a new purpose for your life is not necessarily as easy as it sounds. It takes some quiet contemplation on your part. You can achieve a state of inner quietness and reflection in several ways, including the following:
- Tai Chi
- Simply sitting quietly and clearing your mind of distractions.
The whole idea is to go from a state of doing to a state of being wherein you discover what works for you.
As you think about what makes you happy, one good idea is to keep a notebook of what occurs to you. This helps you organize your thoughts and likely will give you ideas on ways to express who you really are.
Many older adults find purpose in one or more of the following ways:
- Maintaining health and wellness
- Learning something new
- Volunteering at a local library, school, hospital, animal shelter, or other organization
- Making new friends
- Engaging in enjoyable creative projects and play
- Enhancing your spiritual life
- Taking up a social cause
- Visiting museums and other local attractions you never had time to enjoy before
- Being a good role model to children and grandchildren
- Consciously enjoying small joys and pleasures
- Leaving a legacy, not only through writing a will but also by writing or recording your memories for the benefit of your children and grandchildren
- Focusing on gratitude for all the things you have, rather than lamenting the things you may no longer have
Remember, it doesn’t matter what your purpose is. The benefits come from simply having one. Here at Elder Care Alliance, we have five different communities devoted to making the lives of older adults healthy, meaningful, and fulfilling. Contact us today. We’d love to help you discover the purpose of your later years.