Active Adult Communities

3/16/2021 | By Terri L. Jones

COVID-19 has made the past year scary, agonizing, and even boring with all the restrictions we’ve had on our lives. But the upside of these restrictions is we’ve had plenty of time on our hands to unearth some hobbies that we’d long ago buried in the back of the closet. Some of us have honed our baking skills, others have mastered a musical instrument or a foreign language, and many of us have walked, run, cycled, and done yoga with an unprecedented fervor.

No doubt about it, it’s been fun to have the opportunity to dive into our passions like never before. However, this involuntary exploration of what gets our juices flowing may have actually set the stage for a more rewarding and meaningful retirement for us.

Like a Boat Without a Rudder

When many people stop working, they’re at loose ends. They miss the structure of a job. They have no direction. Without this sense of purpose, they may feel as though they’re spending their days just killing time.

That’s where your passions can come into play. Discovering those activities that energize and motivate you will not only fill your time, but it can also give you goals to strive for. And having a reason to get up in the morning is critical in allowing you to maintain quality of  life – and in turn, a much more meaningful retirement.

Paid or Volunteer

Some people can turn their avocations into vocations, like the woman who retired early and now hosts dream analysis groups; or the fit 60-something who teaches at a sailing school every summer. While you’re doing what you love, these ventures can help fund those expensive dreams – like taking the trip of a lifetime, or buying a home at the beach.

But you don’t have to get paid for your passions to feel rewarded and fulfilled. Other retirees have committed to volunteering weekly for their favorite nonprofit, knitting infant hats for preemies, providing daycare for their grandkids, learning coding, or playing in a band. Regularly participating in their interests have kept these seniors active, happy and physically and mentally healthy.

No Passion, No Problem

If asked, many people would say they don’t have a passion. But trust us, it’s there. You just haven’t discovered or acknowledged it yet.

If you haven’t found your joy yet, here are some strategies that might help to make a meaningful retirement:

  1. Think back to what you enjoyed in your youth – before you had to spend most of your time making money. Maybe it was drawing cartoons, riding horses or collecting shells. Find a way to recapture that same joy now as an adult.
  2. Ask your friends and family, who know you best, where you are most in your element. Whether it be cooking a gourmet meal or counseling a family member, search for ways to put that passion to good use.
  3. Review your bucket list. What have you always wanted to do? Maybe it’s taking a cross-country trip in an RV, reading all of Hemingway’s books or ziplining. Now’s the time to start marking things off and as you do, you may discover activities that you want to continue to pursue for a meaningful retirement.
  4. Read through a college catalog. Now that you don’t have to get a good grade or earn credits, you might find a class that sparks a new interest or challenges you to keep learning.
  5. Consult a life coach, who helps people realize their potential and create the life they envision. This professional can guide you toward discovering your interests and developing a plan to act on them.

Terri L. Jones

Terri L. Jones has been writing educational and informative topics for the senior industry for over ten years, and is a frequent and longtime contributor to Seniors Guide. She also writes for many other local magazines and publications.

Terri L. Jones