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Life After Retirement: Finding Your Joyful Purpose

office workers in a meeting

Elated, excited, positively giddy? These might be your initial reactions as you pack up your desk, wave farewell to colleagues and skip through those office doors one last time. But after the honeymoon period, retirement can feel a little unsettling. You’re missing being around people all day. You’re wondering what’s happened to your identity. You wonder who you are. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

Finding a new and joyful purpose after retirement can be a challenge. But it’s a challenge that can bring thrilling new opportunities.

Lifelong Learning
Have you always dreamed of studying for an advanced degree? Maybe after decades in one industry you’d like to explore a different field. Or maybe you would like to simply take classes for the sake of learning new things. Education keeps your mind sharp and helps you engage with a wide variety of people. If you prefer to study from the comfort of your home, online courses are booming, with nearly 3 million American college students (15%) learning primarily online.

The added bonus? Tuition can be free. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, allows state residents over the age of 62  to audit courses depending on availability. You won’t receive college credits (nor will you need to sit any exams!), but you are welcome to participate in classes.

Embrace Travel
You no longer have a fixed number of vacation days, so make the most of it! The trend for gray gap years is growing, as older adults trade staid bus tours and cruises for adventurous  van life and round-the-world backpacking trips.

Being retired means benefiting from great savings, too. If you’re over 60, you can receive a 10% discount on Eurail passes, making it easy to zip around 33 European countries by train. Another great deal is the National Park Service’s Lifetime Senior Pass, available to US residents aged 62 and up. Whether you want to spot manatees in the Everglades or hike through temperate rainforest in Olympic National Park, this $80 pass [2023 cost] can be used for 2,000 sites from coast to coast.

Share Your Expertise
Just because you’ve hung up your office hat doesn’t mean you put your experience to work elsewhere. For example, you could:

  • Become a consultant. Work as much or as little as you like on your terms. Identify your skills and target market before hanging up your shingle.
  • Serve on a nonprofit board. Your expertise could prove invaluable to local organizations. Accounting, fundraising and networking skills are among the skills in high demand. Choose a board that aligns with your passions, and let them know you would like to help.
  • Become an executive coach. This can be a rewarding way to help others. You might decide to specialize in leadership development, career transitions or team building. Reach out to the local Chamber of Commerce to connect with local start-ups and new entrepreneurs.

Reinvent Yourself
Retirement, schmirement! You may have reached the pinnacle of a successful career but are itching to try something different. As an older adult, you’re attractive to employers, who appreciate your reliability, adaptability and work ethic.

The options are endless. You could become a private tutor or apply for a job as an educational assistant at a neighborhood school. Do you enjoy working with the public? Look for a part-time retail position or become a hospital volunteer greeter. If you’ve lived in the same area for years, you could put your knowledge to good use working as a tour guide.

Join a Joyful Community
Making the move to independent living is a wonderful way to experience a joyful life after retirement. At The House of the Good Shepherd, you can meet like-minded people and enjoy a wide range of engaging activities. You’ll also enjoy terrific amenities such as walking trails, a fitness center and fabulous dining. Reach out to us today to arrange a personal tour of your future home.