It’s been fifteen months, and things are opening up, and we are feeling our life get back to normal. Some want to call it the “new normal.” I’m not sure what that means, but I am guessing it has to do with what is going on in our government, masks, vaccines, uncertainty. If after 2020 you retired or you feel retired because you haven’t gone back to work full swing, you have to learn a new normal. Retirement is a big step, even if you have planned for it.
Did you feel a loss of purpose in 2020? Have you gained it back? Retirement can do that! Lack of meaning is probably one of the leading killers of happiness because we all want purpose in life. We want to know our life counts. We often derive meaning in our life from our job or career, and when that ends, we either dry up or look for different ways to be involved or add meaning.
I had several hobbies, and I loved gardening. I thought having more time for those would be fantastic after I retired. The purpose of my hobbies and gardening was to relax me after a hard day at work or other confusion. I didn’t need those distractions once I retired. My hobbies became money pits, and my gardening remained a source of food and exercise, but the pleasure I used to get was gone. So, if you combine the isolation, fear, and confusion of 2020 with the new normal of retirement, you may be feeling a new lostness.
So, now what? Let’s start at the beginning! Who are you now? How would you identify yourself? How do you want to be defined? Only you know or can know the answers. Once you have defined yourself and that definition may be “lost,” you can launch yourself to a new level. Look for the possibilities of needs in your community or neighborhood. I turned my hobby of needlework into making blankets for the ever-increasing needy. I took helping people at a heart level seriously and took training in my church as a Stephen Minister. A friend volunteers three mornings a week in our local coffee bar to stay busy, and among people, another volunteers at a museum.
Identify, define, launch, research! A new meaning may be a step away!