The standard path in life that many people envision has them working through most of their prime years to enjoy their retirement. Yet everyone’s journey can often take unexpected turns, not only in how we reach our golden years but also what we do with the time left to us. It might seem that after a lifetime of hard work and busy schedules, the ultimate way to derive satisfaction would be to kick back and relax.
However, with more free time than you’re accustomed to, proper financial planning, and more than enough resources to cover your needs, it can be easy to lose your sense of purpose. That can deprive you of happiness and leave you feeling unfulfilled. Here’s what you can do to continue living out a meaningful retirement.
Continue to learn and exercise.
As we grow older, our cognitive and physical faculties invariably tend to decline. Studies have shown that one effective way to counteract these effects is through a combination of continued learning and exercise. Go beyond crossword puzzles and try an online course or learn a new skill such as painting. Embrace the slower pace of life as a senior by walking more frequently around the neighborhood, local parks and gardens, or even the great outdoors if you’re up for a challenge. This way, you’ll continue to be exposed to new stimuli that will keep the mind and body active and avoid rapid deterioration.
Find work you love
It may sound a little counter-intuitive that looking for work after you retire could be great for you. But a lot of people can spend their entire lives grinding out the daily nine-to-five in an office or exerting their best efforts in endeavors that aren’t necessarily close to their hearts. Retirement presents us with a chance to be free from the burden of pressure and taking on work to make ends meet. As a bonus, you’ll probably find that most employers who are interested would be willing to give you a part-time job or a flexible schedule.
Be socially engaged
Human beings naturally thrive on social interactions. Even in an age of increased social isolation, we still cooperate and collaborate to succeed. We do little things like saying hello to our neighbors or being courteous to strangers on the street. Unfortunately, seniors tend to withdraw from society, as more of their peers may have passed away or are no longer free to travel around. The loss of social activity can be a risk factor for depression and mental decline; staying socially engaged will help resist this effect. To this end, you can volunteer, become more active in a local church or club, or seek out new work as above.
Help younger generations
In The World until Yesterday, author and scientist Jared Diamond cites some of the practices of traditional societies when it comes to the role of the elderly as being particularly useful at giving a sense of purpose. Elders possess a wealth of knowledge, not just the stuff you can search for instantly on the Internet but information that’s nuanced and distilled through a lifelong application. Remind younger people and yourself, perhaps of the value of older people in this way. Provide guidance and mentorship for the next generation, drawing on your life’s experiences.
By applying these methods in your retirement, you can go beyond covering the basic needs and remain happy and purposeful each day.