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How Do You Find Your Life’s Purpose Post-Retirement?

Different people associate retirement with different things. For some, it is free time, leisure, hobbies and bonding with family and friends; for others, it is life as usual.

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Versha Jain
December 30, 2023
Life's Purpose Post- Retirement

Life's Purpose Post- Retirement

Ninetieth-century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “He who has a ‘why’ to live for can bear almost any ‘how’.” Interestingly, after more than a century, the idea still holds. We often look for a purpose in life and, if not always, need some sense of fulfilment at periodic intervals to feel rejuvenated to carry on, but it seldom goes the way we want. Post-retirement, life can be monotonous and boring. Some senior citizens travel, socialize or get into hobbies to avoid monotony, but others may experience loneliness or find themselves alone without a purpose. Finding a Life’s Purpose Post-Retirement is very crucial for seniors.

During their active years, they had a purpose—to provide for the family and excel in their careers. After retirement, they may struggle to find a purpose again in life. This phase can be the most vulnerable period, as they may grapple with health or repurposing life. It could be because many people tie their life’s purpose to their jobs and family responsibilities.

As they find more free time on their hands post-retirement, the initial fun of no work quickly withers away, which could plunge them into restlessness and despair. That is why finding a purpose in retirement is critical for their mental and physical health and longevity. 

Also Read: 5 Ways To Stay Active After Retirement

Why Is A Purpose Important?   

Dr. Samir Parikh, chairperson of the Fortis National Mental Health Programme at Fortis Healthcare, explains, “We all need to do something to feel productive and meaningful. The bottom line is what you do should make you feel good and give you joy. That is the key.”

Adds Bhavna Chadha, a psychologist with more than two decades of experience, “Everything we do from the morning till evening is related to some purpose. A positive thought process becomes a catalyst for purpose. I want to refer to this concept in Japan, called ‘Ikigai’, (where) people have a purpose, do things consciously and have a better, longer and healthier life.”  

With a clear purpose, you will have a direction in life and can take the setbacks in your stride. You are aware of where you want to reach. So, when you plan for retirement, remember it is more than simply managing your finances. Saving money for old age is one aspect of retirement planning, but the intangible and easily ignored aspect is the sense of “fulfilment” in life.

Why Do People Become ‘Uninterested’ With Age? 

Dr Parikh says, “It is because of how they have realigned themselves to the change, their social engagement, their physical engagement, their sense of self productivity, their sense of comfort, there are so many parameters, which need perspective.” Changing the attitude can change life. The life’s purpose post-retirement could be as simple as caring for yourself or your loved ones and finding joy. It will bring clarity and make life more fulfilling.

How Do You Find Your Purpose Post-Retirement? 

Dr Parikh says, “It depends on each person’s personality, liking, disliking, etc. You have to find it for yourself”, as life’s purpose is personal for each person. He adds that one cannot generalise people’s purpose in life post-retirement. For some, it could be a spiritual activity or talking to young people and sharing your knowledge. For others, it could be travelling, learning a new language or skill, fitness, and even developing culinary skills.

To find a purpose, Dr Chadha says, step one is to think about what you want to do and figure out what can be done with your financial assets, health, and time. She says people should work on changing their “psyche” rather than what to do. 

One cannot generalise purpose in life. Dr Parikh adds that people should understand what brings them joy and find their life’s purpose.

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