I Can’t Retire! I Have No Hobbies!

It’s a common refrain… and it’s misguided. Retirement is not about filling our time with hobbies that we never had time for when we were working. Though you might take some time to invest in your hobbies in retirement, the real opportunity for a healthy and productive retirement is assessing who you are now, and what will be motivating for you over the next 5 – 10 years of your life. Hobbies are ‘nice to do’s’, and you should certainly make time for them, but this stage of life offers an opportunity to invest deeply, maybe for the first time, in purpose. In meaning. In profound contribution. Not because it pays the bills, though it might. Not because you have the time, though you might. But because you feel a compelling need or desire to do these things before life passes you by.

So how do you discover or rediscover this ‘purpose’?  For most, it is a process of searching and discovery. It’s not easy, and you may benefit from the help of a coach with expertise in this area, but are a few thoughts to help you get started:  

Deep within each of us are a set of powerful strengths, a set of core values and a wide range of life and career experiences. Some of those are fundamental to who we are. They define the essence of what makes us feel empowered. Indicators of yours may show up when you totally lose track of time. When you are in flow. Now some of you are thinking that the only time you remember being in flow is when you were working and that’s why you can’t retire, for goodness sakes!  Some of you are thinking the only time you remember being in flow is when you were on vacation, so that’s what you plan to do in retirement, for goodness sakes!

Well, while your flow times may be associated with work or vacation today, if you dig a little deeper into those experiences, you’ll find a set of underlying factors that contribute to flow – for example, if flow happens at work and you are a physician, you might find that you are inspired by getting to root cause diagnosis of a patient’s perplexing medical issue, or you are inspired coaching your younger physician colleagues through a difficult conversation with a patient. Somewhere in those underlying factors is the grain of your reinvention and purpose. Does that mean you need to keep being a physician? Maybe – on a reduced schedule. OR maybe you would find other intriguing opportunities where you can use your favorite root cause analysis or coaching/calming in challenging situation skills to contribute in a meaningful way. Or maybe you would enjoy using your health care knowledge and experience to bring resources together to build a platform upon which perplexing problems can be solved.

If your flow occurs only when you are at the beach sipping a martini or bourbon, maybe you do need a little more of that in your life right now…OR maybe you are seeking more peace and spiritual direction and the beach is the place where you feel most connected. Or maybe the flow is in your ability to appreciate and discern every aspect of the flavor of your drink and your purpose might build upon those talents.

Wherever you find flow, you may also find nuggets of purpose. So it’s not about hobbies it’s all about purpose. What nuggets of purpose can you pull out of your current work or life?