For many of us, we find a sense of purpose in our careers. It's a motivator to show up and be great.
So what happens when you retire? What's the motivation when your career is removed? I love this question because it forces you to stop and take inventory of your life. As women, it seems we rarely count ourselves in that inventory. More on that later..
The definition of having a purpose: Creating meaning, offers a sense of direction and helps guide our paths, behavior, and our goals when applied to our lives. ..Wow.
Read that again! What's the first thing that comes to mind? What do you feel your purpose is? (There's no wrong answer.) You may be reading this and thinking "Laura.. this seems a little out there.." & maybe it is if you haven't really taken the time to think about it. But having and knowing what your purpose is is so essential. In fact, a Psychologist Carol Ryff, has studied happiness for over 30 years and has identified having a purpose as one of the 6 critical elements that contribute to our psychological wellbeing!
But if you're not sold yet, there's also PHYSICAL benefits to having a purpose! Based on data from the Midlife in the United States study, researches found that people who reported a greater sense of purpose and direction in life were more likely to outlive those who don't. It also doesn't matter when you find your purpose, you could know when you're 25 and that sticks with you, or you could just be finding it at 65- it's never too late.
So what does this kind of life look like? Peaceful & exciting! When you move through life knowing you are on the right path, you stop questioning if you are enough. Or if what you're doing is enough. There's a sense of certainty that makes everything enough & ok.
A common theme we've seen from retired women we've talked to is that they feel disconnected once they retire. But it's important to remember, you're retiring from your job, you're not retiring from life. This is the best opportunity to take time to rediscover yourself. Did you lose yourself in your career a bit? Or lose yourself in your family? It's time to discover yourself, again. ANOTHER common theme is that people retire to kick back and relax, then a few weeks in... they're bored! We need a reason to get out of bed everyday- your purpose serves that.
Now, purpose doesn't have to mean you now have to change the world. I like to call my purpose my "why." Simply, why do you get up everyday? What's your motivator? Back to what I mentioned earlier. Women have this innate sense to take care and take inventory of everything else around them. It's heroic, but the problem with it is, taking care of THEM gets put on the back burner.
Use your retirement to find your "why." Factor yourself into your inventory of your life. You are a strong, beautiful woman who earned a strong, beautiful retirement.
Ask yourself these questions:
Who am I today?
Where do I shine?
What do I love to do?
Get clear, get specific, and reinvent yourself. It's your time now.