Seeking fulfillment during retirement is a goal many people hope to achieve. It’s not uncommon to approach the end of a working career and feel that you didn’t make as big a difference in the world as you would have liked. Many times people are underestimating the value they provided. After all, working to provide for a family in this day and age is a tremendous undertaking so you shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss the many years of work and sacrifice that you may have made.
Still, the feeling that there is more for you to give or accomplish is not unusual. For many, this may be a feeling that there is still a lot to learn even about themselves. I know that applies to me. I still read self improvement books and there are still so many topics I want to know more about. Every day there are questions that occur to me that I want to explore further. That became especially true as we travelled and saw different parts of the country and the world. As we wintered in the southwest part of the United States, we were struck by the many rock formations that stretched out before us as we drove and thought back to our days in Earth Science. It would be nice, now, to delve into a few different topics that caught our interest. The ability to do it on your own terms and skip through a book or lecture and read or listen only to the parts you were interested in.
Or, learning a little bit more about the history of the specific area we were in would add more background information to make what we were seeing and experiencing even more meaningful. Learning about the different foods and cultures we were fortunate enough to sample, made us realize that there was a lot we didn’t know. What were the Salem Witchcraft Trials really like? What happened to the old whaling ships and towns when that industry disappeared? What was it like to live in the Old West?
Even listening to the news at night made us feel that there were subjects we wanted to know more about. How does the banking system really work? How did the Middle East become such a trouble spot in the world? We didn’t want to go back to school (which I hated), but we wanted just a little more information about some particular topic. I didn’t want to become an economist to understand banking or a diplomat to learn how to negotiate world peace – I just wanted a little more information and the answers to a few questions that would help me fill in the blanks and make me a more informed member of society. A performance of Midsummer Night’s Dream in Staunton, Virginia, for example, made us feel like we wanted just a bit more information about the play and Shakespeare himself. I didn’t want to become an expert – I just wanted to be a little bit more informed. We have found retirement to be a wonderful time to be able to do exactly that and the sense of fulfillment in erasing a gap in your knowledge can be very satisfying. For me, learning things in my own way and doing it on my own terms can make it a lot more fun.
Beginning a new hobby and learning everything you can as you practice a new skill can be richly rewarding. My wife has taken up a few new interests and couldn't be happier. But learning new things may not be what gets you excited or brings you happiness. We know of some fellow retirees who get that sense of fulfillment by volunteering their time for an organization they feel passionate about. For some, it’s their local church and for others it may be an animal shelter. They have linked their passion and desires to their new lifestyle that has brought them tremendous satisfaction. The self discovery process we covered in another section in this website might be something you use to find new areas of exploration, quench your thirst for knowledge or fill that spot in your heart that leads you to new experiences that can be one of the greatest benefits of this time in your life. You worked too hard to get to this point not to enjoy retirement life fully.
There’s nothing like getting lost in a pursuit and find yourself wondering where the time went. It does wonders for your mental health and there’s a sense of fulfillment that can bring a smile to your face and a new passion for living when you explore all the possibilities and Enjoy Retired Life and all it has to offer.