It’s not uncommon for people to focus on financial planning for retirement and overlook how they want to actually spend their post-working years. This can lead to boredom, feelings of sadness or loneliness, and a lost sense of fulfillment. Finding meaning and purpose is a common concern for people leaving their careers.
Meaning is the internal sense that our lives are lived for something (or someone) else. We want to know that our lives meant something, and that our impact on others will be remembered once we are gone. Often, being involved in a community is one of the most significant sources of meaning for people—a way for individuals to know that others recognize their gift of time and talent.
Purpose is what gives us a reason to get up in the morning and make a productive contribution to the world. For many people, a sense of purpose is a necessary condition for happiness and meaning. Most people won’t find much satisfaction in life if they don’t feel they are working toward something they believe in. Purpose is something inside us that provides a sense of drive and accomplishment
At the beginning of 2021, Rodgers & Associates partnered with the television station WHTM ABC27 by sponsoring “Vibrant Living,” a show that explores the ways retirees find meaning and purpose in their lives. A segment of ABC27’s morning show, “Good Day PA,” “Vibrant Living” runs on the second and fourth Friday of every month and focuses on the 55+ lifestyle. The show attests that many seniors find this period of time even more satisfying than life during their careers.
Show segments feature opportunities to volunteer, take up hobbies, pursue mentoring, and explore travel, among other meaningful ways people spend retirement. Here are just a few pursuits the show covers:
Help care for pets
Do you love animals? A March 2021 segment showcased volunteers who foster pets before they get adopted through the Pet Pantry of Lancaster County. Research shows fostering dogs and cats is a growing volunteer activity among retirees, who can give fostered animals the attention they need without making a years-long commitment.
Cultivate a green thumb
Would gardening be more appealing? “Vibrant Living” traveled to Hershey Gardens in May 2021 to capture the beauty of the grounds and hear about the botanical garden’s need for volunteers. The segment included conversations with several volunteers who discussed the additional benefits of friendship, learning opportunities, and improved health and well-being.
Work with a special needs therapy
Another focus could be helping enrich the lives of individuals with special needs. Leg Up Farm in York County is a pediatric therapy facility providing therapeutic horseback riding and other educational and recreational programs. Horses bring joy into people’s lives through their unique ability to interact and connect with humans in a simple but powerful way. “Vibrant Living” visited Leg Up Farm to learn more about its Silver Saddles Program designed for adults ages 55+ looking for ways to stay active and involved.
Commit to a hobby or museum
Do you have a passion for vintage vehicles? “Vibrant Living” toured the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum (AACA) in Hershey to talk with volunteers who donate their time and talents to supporting the museum. Auto enthusiasts of all ages help the renowned AACA Museum put on successful programs. The museum offers opportunities to help its team with various operations, from enhancing the visitor experience to carrying out special projects that celebrate classic cars.
Find community at a senior center
Maybe you’re not sure what interests you. Yet another segment was devoted to the role of senior centers—an essential resource for a vibrant aging community. These centers promote good health by giving mature people access to various resources that help them stay active and independent. This summer, “Vibrant Living” visited the Lancaster Recreation Center, which is likely to be bustling on any given day. Free exercise classes, a walking club, and discussion groups are just a sampling of the opportunities to learn, stay fit, and most importantly, laugh and connect.
You can find and watch all the “Vibrant Living” segments on the Rodgers & Associates Facebook page and on our LinkedIn page. Check back often as we post new segments regularly. Finding fulfillment in retirement is an admirable goal that pays ongoing and invaluable dividends.
- Meaning is an internal sense that your life is lived for something else.
- Purpose is what gives you a reason to get up in the morning.
- Life after retiring may turn out to be more satisfying than life during your career.