Retirement: explore your path to new passions

January 31, 2015

Retirement as a time of decreased activity and watching the world go by is long gone. Don't resign yourself to the same old—plenty of other options are available.

Retirement: explore your path to new passions

Today's seniors have a 40 to 53 per cent chance of living to age 85, which is at least 20 years past the age of retirement; plenty long enough to plan a whole new career. Many have had to sacrifice hobbies and interests for their careers, but after retirement, you have freedom to explore the passions that were elusive earlier.

Perhaps you have a passion for anthropology or art, for zoology or Zen. Now is the time to fulfil those dreams—read on for tips on how to embrace life after retirement.

Vocation rather than a job

Start by writing down your dream and making a journal dedicated to your vision. As universities are great resources for people of any age trying new things, look into options like pursuing a new certificate or scan postings at your local college to find ways to get involved with a budding interest.

Use the skills you developed over your career to expand your interests into new areas, and try networking with people who have similar interests to yours to develop a sense of community around your new vocation.

New life

There are numerous inspiring stories of retirees making a new life and career for themselves. Consider Pete Young, an Illinois retiree whose lifelong love of photography has now become his vocation. Pete started out studying nuclear physics, pursued a career in business, and is now an award-winning photographer. Pete feels his background in science helps him to bring out technical aspects of his photos.

Take a leaf from his book and remember that your interests may seem disparate but often can connect in unforeseen ways. The trick is to have faith in pursuing the vocation that makes you truly happy.

What's your mission?

The difference between a job and a vocation is the heart that you put into the work. Joyce Li, author of "Re-imagine Your Retirement," suggests writing a personal mission statement to help identify what is meaningful to you about life. From there, you'll discover your vocation by linking work or avocation to what gives life purpose. The sky's the limit.

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