If you’ve retired and you feel you have nothing to do, you’re not alone. The real question is what would you like to do? Maybe you don’t know? Would you like to expand your possibilities? Would you like to live with passion and purpose? Would you like to jump out of bed every morning and burst into the day with vitality and enthusiasm for life?
Question: What’s stopping you?
A. “Nothing! I know exactly what to do and how to best spend my retirement time and energy" - Fantastic, enjoy!
B. “I don’t know what to do” or “there’s nothing to do”.
Do you have a bucket list? Would you like to have a bucket list? What would you put on it? Bronnie Ware, a former nurse of the terminally ill, wrote her book about the top 5 regrets that people said they had in their lives:
- I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
- I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
So hopefully by knowing them, we don’t need to make the same mistakes - we can make other mistakes!!! We are living in the here and now and therefore we have the power to change our future, but only if we want to.
You need two things: Purpose and Passion.
Purpose. This will be your mission, your cause, the mark you’re going to leave on the world that people will remember you for. What would you like that to be? For some it could be creating a masterpiece, but for others it could be something like aligning themselves with a charity that they care about. Here are a list different types of volunteer work that you could get involved in - which one appeals to you the most?Would you consider volunteering to:
- Coach the local football team?
- Organise a coffee morning to raise money for children in need?
- Teach English to foreigners who can't afford classes?
- Answer calls for a mental health charity helpline?
- Dedicate your next half marathon to a charity for spinal cord injuries?
- Fundraise for the local community centre?
- Build houses for homeless people in developing countries?
- Become an assistant at your local food bank?
- Sign up as a tidy towns member and enhance your local area?
- Raise money for charity by working in a charity shop?
- Deliver meals on wheels to immobile people in your community?
- Help coordinate and organise a big event like the Special Olympics?
- Befriend lonely people in hospital by chatting and playing cards with them?
- Use your professional skills in a charity to help them reduce costs?
- Teach and support people with Downs Syndrome?
Volunteer work can be tricky - not everyone who comes to you will appreciate your input. But that is the nature of the game. The key to remember is that, when the people that really need your help, come to you - you’ll be there. And it will mean the world to them, to know that someone like you cares about someone like them. Speaking to current volunteers about their work can be a useful exercise to do before you commit yourself to the training process. Many volunteers will tell you that their work is extremely rewarding and fulfilling. Here is a great website to help you find the best ways to put your skills to use.
Passion. Purpose is essential, but so is passion. Otherwise you’ll have no excitement in your life. So, what are you passionate about? What do you love doing? What would you love to do that you’ve never tried before? What have you always dreamed of doing? Check out the ideas that I have put down in the document below. I hope you change and update them to make them suitable for yourself - mine are only suggestions.
"OK, now I know what I want to do but I’ve nobody to do all these things with.”
Naturally, as you grow older and wiser, your circle of friends tends to decrease, but do you think that you’re the only one with this challenge? Probably not. You can be sure that whatever you’re feeling, that there are lots of other people who are in a similar position. How about finding them? There are a couple of websites that you can use to find and connect with people who have similar interests. My favourite is meetup.com because there is such a wide variety of groups, attended by people of all ages and it’s often absolutely free to participate. But it’s also a nice idea to look up eventbrite.com for interesting events in your area that are free or paid. Let’s not forget bargain sites like groupon.com which are a really nice way to find some entertaining activities, experiences and events there.
"Where do I start or what do I do now?”
How about getting nice cup of coffee, sitting down for an hour and making a plan for your week. You may be surprised with how much you can actually get done in that short space of time.
How would you feel if you had an exciting week ahead of you, where you would meet lots of new people with similar interests, go to stimulating events and make a difference in the lives of people who need your unique set of abilities and experience? A when would you like to start?
Hope you enjoyed reading this, if you have any questions or comments, please post them below - thanks! Ronan
Going to events, finding exciting hobbies/interests and meeting new people:
Meetup.com - Events, activities and interest groups.
Eventbrite.com - Events, exhibitions, festivals, gatherings.
Groupon.com - Activities, experiences, courses and lots of other special offers.
Volunteering database of all and any type of opportunities: