Finding A Passion In Retirement
Passion is important in life. People often develop a passion for their work because they work hard at it, get good at it, make progress and get positive feedback. It’s rare that they start out with this passion, they just take the first step ‘work hard’ and the rest follows naturally. I’m no longer able to work as hard at my work as I’d like to, so I’m gradually losing the passion I had for it; this is compounded by a growing unease about the effect the technologies we are promoting have on peoples lives.
I’m keen to regain the passion in my life and to some extent I’m succeeding by focusing on regaining my health, but that’s a ‘two steps forward, one step back’ kind of endeavour; sometimes one step forward two steps back. As a sustainable source of passion it’s not a good choice, so I need to find something else, ideally something that I can do to my own schedule, and that doesn’t involve a lot of sitting. Critically it needs to be focused on helping people.
As I’ve already mentioned I’m concerned that the march of technology is having significant negative effects on the average person. I’m not keen to be involved in promoting that, although helping people find the right balance might be an option.
These are the areas I know I want to avoid; anything that involves:
- large bureaucratic organisations of any type, which rules out for example the health service
- writing about, creating or promoting technology for it’s own sake
- a desk, a suit, significant travel, a schedule, a traditional boss
These are the things I’m looking for, something that:
- unambiguously helps people
- makes the world a better place
- involves working with ‘real’ people or an online community
- I will feel proud of
I have a few options in mind:
- helping with the evolution of my small town, for example the transition town movement
- helping organisations that I really respect like New Economics Foundation, or The Cradle To Cradle movement
- taking on an allotment, joining it’s community and growing a lot of my own food
- volunteering to help improve the quality of life of those less fortunate than myself
- looking after grandchildren
- writing guides to walks and cycle rides that I conquer
- simply taking delight in the places where I spend my time, writing, photographing, mindful exploring, getting to know the people, gardening, DIY, taking care of the place (beach cleans, volunteer gardening …)
Finding such a passion needs to complement the balanced life that I’m planning though, one with plenty of relaxation, reading, learning, creating, socialising and movement. What’s clear to me is the need to find a passion, and keep that passion fresh over time (which probably means finding new ones every decade).
The inspiration for this post came from a chat with a friend of mine who’s recently retired and feeling bored and depressed. It reminded me of the need to plan for retirement carefully and not rush into it blind. I took the photo at the top of the post this morning while out walking on the beach before my usual couple of hours in Caffe Nero.