The question most frequently and consistently asked by retirees and people planning for retirement is something like this: "I have no inspiration about what I want to do next, and I don't know how to find my inspiration. How does one begin?"
There are three primary - and usually connected - ways to find inspiration for activities that will lead to happiness and fulfillment in retirement.
First, think about your dreams and your passions. Retirement is your prime time to live out your dreams and follow your passions. If there is something you care about passionately, you have your inspiration. Think also about the dreams you held at various times in your life. You might have pushed aside important dreams because they were impractical at the time. Ask yourself if those dreams still matter to you? Do they spark excitement when you think about them? If they do, you have found your inspiration. You might have had a dream of being a jazz pianist when you were a child. Maybe there was no time or extra money for lessons at the time. Maybe now is the time to take piano lessons.
A second way to find inspiration is to think about your personal strengths and how they could transfer into other arenas of activity. What are your strengths - whether you developed and used them at work or at home? If your strengths include patience and compassion, think of new ways to use those strengths. If you are a crafts person and you have the ability to teach others, think about who might want to learn your craft and how you could make your skills available. Thinking about what our strengths are and how and where they might be used differently often helps us discover a sense of purpose.
A third way to find inspiration is to think about giving back to society in some way. Many of us come to retirement after a busy life of raising children and earning a living. For many people, there was just no time to give back. Retirement can be that time for you, especially if you are financially secure enough to be able to work only part-time or not work at all. Finding a way to give back will give you a new sense of purpose and value in retirement.
One of the most effective approaches to discovering inspiration for retirement living is to use some combination of these three approaches. Think about your dreams and your passions. You might want to write them on a sheet of paper divided into three columns. In the next column match your strengths and abilities to the dreams and passions. Finally, in the third column, list ways you could fulfill the dreams, use your strengths and abilities, and give back to society in some way. This approach - I promise - will give you the most exuberant sense of purpose and fulfillment you could ask for in your retirement.
For example, if you have strengths in patience, reading aloud, and a love for children, you might want to volunteer to read books to children at the local public library. If you have a "gift of gab" and you enjoy building new relationships, consider making deliveries for Meals on Wheels. The possibilities are endless.
Just take some time to think of all of the possibilities. Don't get blocked thinking about the reasons you can't do something. Just think about what you really care about and follow your dreams.
Dr. Cynthia Barnett is an author, teacher, life coach and a leading authority on how to "re-fire" and reinvent by making the rest of your life the best of your life. For more articles and tips on how to rejuvenate yourself in retirement visit http://www.doctorcynthiaBarnett.com
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