Conscious Aging: How Will You Spend the Rest of Your Life?


Column by Ann Shafer

Those of you who have retired recently or those who anticipate a retirement are faced with the same question — how will you spend the rest of your life? 

When you retire, you will probably find yourself even busier than you were at work. But there is one major question — is all that activity you now have actually meaningful to you?

If not, perhaps you need to do some serious thinking about what the activities are that mean a lot to you, or what are your passions.  

To find your passions, first think about what really motivates you. 

If your life were a book, what would the title be. What did you especially enjoy when you were younger. 

What did you dream of doing? What activity do you do where time flies by without your even knowing it?

As you answer these questions, you will come up with your passions. Remember that it is important to have a group of interests so that you can vary your activities. 

For example, golf may be one of your passions, but you can’t play golf very well in the dark or in a foot of snow. 

Thus you want several passions, or as some people call it a portfolio or a bucket of passions.

Think of a variety of interests. Being physically active is a very important area to keep yourself healthy as you age.

Being of service to others can add meaning to your life. 

Expressing yourself creatively can be a very important way to make your life special.

Do you have intellectual interests that you want to pursue?

 Author Forest Church suggested that you live your life so that it’s worth dying for.  Or think about the way you would like to be remembered. 

It’s not too early to think about your legacy. 

Providing service to others not only helps others, but also benefits you tremendously. You can work through your church or other community or national organizations.

If you enjoy children, volunteer at the schools.  The Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) has many possible volunteer activities.

Too many people in retirement become “parked cars” in front of the television. The media in its discussion of Alzheimer’s disease usually mentions the importance of activity, both physical and mental, to prevent or delay significantly the onset of dementia.

When you pursue your passions, you not only make your life more satisfying but also positively benefit your mental and physical well-being. 

Those reasons are worth following your passions.

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