Re-Imagining Retirement: Purpose

Sharon Rolph

Praise for Ken Dychtwald’s book What Retirees Want includes comments like “a compelling call to purpose and action, Boomers are poised to accomplish their most enduring work,” “it will fire up your imagination,” “the modern elder can offer the world both curiosity and wisdom,” “a time of unprecedented opportunity to fulfill dreams deferred and meet new challenges with confidence and joy.”

According to Dr. Dychtwald, Boomers are the most charitable generation in history and mobilizing more retiree volunteers holds enormous potential for social good.

Potential has always intrigued me since I was a teenager. So, his statement lights my fire! It’s my “why” for doing the work I do! Dr Ken says having a strong sense of purpose keeps you more active, healthier and happier. Yet many struggle to find their new purpose – roughly 30%.

Allow me today to “make tangible” some possible outcomes you could have from living your purpose in retirement.

Imagine getting home tired but tickled pink from the heartfelt gratitude you receive from your volunteer efforts.

Imagine driving to join Care-A-Vanners in Canada on a Habitat project, making new friends and a ton of memories.

Imagine riding elephants in an African reserve with your kids and grandkids after helping to restore damaged buildings.

Imagine your contribution in a collaborative meeting helping to create new knowledge and possibilities for your favorite nonprofit.

Imagine the fun you have helping at a pet adoption event that connected three dogs to new families.

Imagine the community garden produce grown from the mentor/teaching you did as a master gardener that feeds neighborhood kids.

Imagine the renovated park you helped plan is filled with kids having fun and exercise.

Imagine seeing a teenager wearing on a cold winter day the hat and scarf that you knitted.

Imagine seeing three kids graduate from high school because you tutored them in math and reading.

Imagine never getting tired of the smiles and sparkle in the eyes of people enjoying the art you shared in a street show.

Imagine being the catalyst to bring together friends in your network to solve a community safety hazard.

Imagine helping couples resolve their relationship issues as a mediator and neutral third party.

Imagine using your speaking skills to advocate for policy issue changes.

Imagine using your experience and network to distribute surplus harvest in a meaningful and effective way.

Imagine the fun you get from leading and participating in the song-and-dance session at the community center, as it does so much for your mood and outlook.

— By Sharon Rolph

Sharon Rolph is an Essence & Retirement coach who lives in Edmonds and aspires to be an international speaker. Her new book, Fresh Courage in Retirement: finding purpose, Essence and fulfillment, is now available through herself and Amazon. Learn more at  where she offers a free ebook: a Call to Courage: 3 Tips to Awaken & Ignite Your Inner Spark.

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