“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” ~Dr. Albert Schweitzer
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were a signpost that clearly defines what direction to take to find our purpose? Of all the philosophical questions about life, “what’s my purpose?” is one that is continually relevant and often revisited throughout life.
For younger adults, their purpose seems very clear. It often involves becoming educated, choosing a career, working, and raising children. But for older adults who have retired from work and whose kids are grown, finding their purpose for this next stage of life can be both daunting as well as liberating! Intimidating because of being faced with “what now?” and liberating because now the world is open to them. No longer faced with what “should” be done (according to culture and society), they now have the opportunity to explore what “could” be done – and the sky is the limit.
While no one can tell you what your purpose “should” be, for most people, what brings meaning to their lives often includes other living things: people, children, animals, nature, etc. One way to begin honing in on what is meaningful to you is to take a little time exploring what you already like to do. To help get the thought process going, think about what makes you happy. Perhaps your interests lie in giving back to the community. To help identify which is best for you, imagine that you have $10,000 to give to any charity. To which one would you donate? Perhaps whichever charity comes to mind would be a good place to pursue volunteering opportunities.
Going back to your past interests is also a good starting point. What did you always want to be as a teenager? Or, when you were working full-time, what activities did you always wish you had more time to pursue? What were your favorite hobbies?
Wherever your journey takes you when finding what gives you purpose, you will find people with similar interests. Spending time with people and making connections is becoming more critical than ever in this digital age of social media and email. Get out there and find what gives you purpose.