“What’s my purpose?” It’s a question we ask ourselves throughout our lives – as teens, then as college graduates, as new parents and as empty nesters. But there’s perhaps no more important time to ask that question than as we prepare to retire. After all, work, perhaps parenting, perhaps marriage or a combination of all three has defined the majority of our lives. Now in the absence of full-time responsibility, we have the opportunity to find a new or renewed purpose. The next question is how do you discover your passion when you’re over 55?
The Importance of Purpose
It’s common knowledge that having a sense of purpose gives us direction, fulfillment and happiness, but research has shown it also has a tangible benefit on your health.
- A study at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri found that rating a person’s sense of purpose even one point higher on a seven-point scale decreased risk of death by 12 percent over 14 years. Plus, the benefits were seen across people in their 20s to 70s, suggesting it’s never too late to find your passion.
- A study by Rush University Medical Center found that people who have a lower sense of purpose in their lives could be more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease compared to people who have a greater sense of purpose.
- Researchers for the American Heart Association analyzed a number of studies and found that over an average follow-up of 8.5 years, having a high sense of purpose in life was associated with a 23 percent reduction in death from all causes and a 19 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes.
- A study by the University of Michigan found that those who reported having greater life purpose were more likely to make better use of preventative healthcare and spent less time in the hospital compared to those with a lower sense of purpose.
5 Ways to Discover Your Passion Over Age 55
- Adjust your attitude – It all starts with getting yourself in the right frame of mind. Look at this as an opportunity to grow but don’t let pressure to find your purpose right away or fear of failing derail you. It’s a learning process so give yourself some grace, have fun and experiment along the way.
- Find your go-to – Most people, whether they realize it or not, are drawn to particular subjects, foods, books, movies, TV shows, hobbies, even types of people. Think about those themes and explore what attracts you to them, as well as how you might expand on them going forward.
- Start fresh – If you’re tired of the same ole same ole, perhaps it’s time to switch things up. It can be invigorating to try new things like joining a club, learning a new skill or language or even approaching a familiar task in a different way. You never know what opportunities may come when you put yourself out there.
- Make a difference – There’s nothing that warms your heart more than helping someone else. It can certainly give you purpose and for many quickly becomes a passion. To find your cause check with friends and family, local charitable organizations you’re already aware of or connect with online volunteer matching services live VolunteerMatch and SeniorCorps.
- Call on your inner child – There’s rarely a time when you’re more true to yourself than in childhood. Think back to what brought you the most joy; also ask your childhood friends or family members what they remember you being passionate about. You may be surprised to find that your purpose has been waiting for you all these years!
Bonus Tip – Change Your Scenery in Over 55 Communities
People are moving to over 55 communities earlier than ever these days and they’re an ideal place to find your passion. They offer a more active, convenient and carefree lifestyle than you may find at home, giving you more time and opportunity to fulfill your purpose. With various clubs, daily activities and enrichment opportunities, over 55 communities are plugged in locally in ways hard to achieve on your own.
For more information on the benefits of our over 55 communities, contact us today to schedule a visit →