Living with Purpose During Your Golden Years: Life After Retirement
by Will Powell
I am not a Baby Boomer, but I like to learn about other people’s varying perspectives, so I decided to interview my grandmother, Joyce Thomas, about what she thinks of retirement.
Here’s what I learned:
Baby Boomers Are Goal Oriented and Productive
If you dread your retirement, like my grandmother, Joyce, a 63-year-old recent retiree, you can take comfort in the fact that you are not alone in this dilemma. Baby Boomers have always been a productive generation. You and other Boomers have reached unthinkable heights and have created a society that very few before you thought was possible.
However, you may not have had time to perfect your true talents or chase your closest-held dreams because of your busy career.
What Is Important to You?
As you near retirement, you should remember that you have as much potential as ever, so you should enjoy this new phase. Your retirement could be the richest and most fulfilling chapter of your life if you approach it with curiosity and enthusiasm. So, take the time to think about what you would like to achieve next, and do not be afraid to take on new challenges. You are capable of conquering so much if you rely on your life experience and sense of adventure.
Mentoring Gen-Xers and Millennials
Some Baby Boomers view Gen-Xers and Millennials with disdain and feel that younger people have become complacent and perhaps even entitled. You and your fellow Boomers could do society a great service if you agree to mentor these younger individuals.
“I do feel like I still have something to offer.” Joyce recognizes the need for Millennials to have more positive influences in their lives, as she relates, “Lord knows young people these days need some direction. I don’t know how I could reach them, though.”
However, people like Joyce often over-think the process of how to become a mentor. Mentoring does not mean that you have to approach random strangers and offer them advice. You can be a mentor when you volunteer. Here are ideas:
- Community centers
- Job placement offices
- Your church or parish
- Assisted senior living facilities – invite younger people to visit
Gen-Xers and Millennials are in need of your wisdom and fearless view on life. If you’re like my grandmother and already spend a lot of your time at a particular place of community, like church, start a tutor program and pass down the knowledge you’ve acquired over the years. Your tutelage could provide these younger individuals with the hope and ambition that they may have been lacking in their lives.
Start a Second Career
Being retired from your first career does not bar you from starting a second. You can stay productive and engaged when you take on a new career, even if it is only at part-time hours. In fact, you could follow the path of more notable Baby Boomers, such as Bill Clinton, who embarked on a second career as an author and public speaker. While you may not have the fame and fortune to back you, you could still make your mark on the world and find a new enthusiasm for life by remaining a productive citizen.
Really think about career choices you once considered, but never got around to pursuing. My grandmother recalls, “At one point, I did think about substitute teaching just to do something more meaningful… other than tuning into my regular TV schedule.” If teaching isn’t your thing, there are other purposeful careers you can pursue.
- If you’ve always been good with your hands, become a craftsman and sell your creations online at etsy.com.
- If you’re just a natural giving person and have caretaker instincts, become a Patient Advocate and work in home healthcare.
You have the time and the talent, why not put them to good use?
Don’t Neglect Travel and Family
As you search for the ideal way to spend your retirement, you should remember to embark on passions that you may not have had time for prior to retiring. Your children and grandchildren will relish the opportunity to spend more time with you. Take those vacations you’ve always dreamed of. My grandmother has always had a desire to travel to South Africa, and it’s never too late. Paris, Barcelona, and Athens are all just a flight away.
Try New Hobbies
You have time to start new hobbies. If you’re a person like my grandmother, who enjoys shows like ABC’s Scandal, start an online blog or community forum where you can engage in stimulating conversations with people with varying perspectives. If you really think about your upcoming retirement and all of the possibilities it holds for you, you have no reason to fear this next chapter of your life. By remembering the promise and enthusiasm that hallmarks your Baby Boomer generation, you can remain a lively and engaged member of society while passing on your sense of adventure and wisdom to those around you.
My grandmother, Joyce, has become inspired to infuse more purposeful activities in her life just from having this conversation with me. She is excited about all she still has to offer. Just think about it, you still have a lot left in the tank. Continue to live each day with purpose.
Will Powell is the grandson of Joyce Thomas, and desires to see his grandmother live a fulfilling life even in the midst of her recent retirement.