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Old 01-01-2016, 03:44 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,785,397 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrkliny View Post
Some people have little or no interest in learning. Some of us are curious and want to learn everything we can.


Some people have little interest in their accomplishments. When they retire, they have even less interest in accomplishing anything. Some of us are glad retire and have more time to pursue different interest and we often have lists of things we want to do see and accomplish.


Some people struggle to find things to occupy their time. Television is often a major help. Some of us just cannot find the time to do all but a fraction of the things we want to do.


These characteristics rarely change just because someone retires.
The answer to the OP's question will vary with the individual, as Jrklilny wisely points out above. Some people apparently didn't have much of a sense of purpose while they were working, if we can judge by many of the posts here over the years in which people hated their jobs, deriving little if any satisfaction or sense of accomplishment from them. Now some in that category may have had a significant sense of purpose in pursuits outside of the job, of course, and I do not wish to minimize that. But that still leaves some people who were just drifting aimlessly while working and continue to do so after retirement.

Personally I don't see how such drifting could be satisfying and fulfilling at any time, but that comes back to the individual take on this, does it not? Yes, I do need to keep a sense of purpose and I feel fortunate that I have been able to do so via my volunteer work among other things.

If people are truly satisfied and content without any particular sense of purpose, more power to them - I mean no attack. I suppose it's sort of like people who like beets versus people who don't - it can't really be explained.
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Old 01-02-2016, 12:00 AM
 
13,357 posts, read 25,630,065 times
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I don't know that my employment gives me a sense of purpose, even though it is pro-social and I supposedly help people (at least am in the right ballpark to try). It does give me a sense of community (my shift co-workers) and I am mostly concerned about no longer belonging to that community (which is always changing anyway) and I have no family or spouse, so... I worry about the loss of community, not a loss of purpose. Maybe this is easier on women than men, this identifying with working as purpose, regardless of the work involved.
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Old 01-02-2016, 06:17 AM
 
Location: Backwoods of Maine
7,125 posts, read 8,182,591 times
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A funny thing happened on my way to the chicken tractor and the turkey rafter...

I spent 35 years running my own trucking business. Mostly I loved it, but there were times when it was just murder. I prospered by an embarassing amount. Still, when the time came, I was happy to retire.

Since my retirement, I have had my head spun 'round with all the opportunities out there. A couple years ago, I thought it would be nice to raise our own chickens for eggs and meat. This past year, I had 325 birds - chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese - and was selling free-range heirloom breeds to metro restaurants, and the turkey, goose and duck eggs to Asian markets. It's been crazy. This next year I'll be increasing that to 800 birds, and may soon top what I was taking in with the trucking company. But it's not about the money, and never was.

I have a 14 yo grandson (3rd youngest of 6), who after being given a broken lawn mower 2 years ago, repaired it and mowed neighborhood lawns all summer. Last summer, he out-earned his dad, and has gotten into small engine repair. He owns more gas mowers, trimmers, blowers, clippers and even a brush saw...got most of it for free and repaired it to working status. He'll turn 15 this summer and still can't drive yet (not legally, anyway), but already owns a lawn-care trailer and is making payments on a used pickup. His siblings can't even work for him; too slow.

It's not about the money for him, either. It's his purpose in life (for now), just as it always was for me.
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Old 01-02-2016, 07:53 AM
 
6,351 posts, read 4,779,861 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
...... Some people apparently didn't have much of a sense of purpose while they were working, if we can judge by many of the posts here over the years in which people hated their jobs, deriving little if any satisfaction or sense of accomplishment from them. Now some in that category may have had a significant sense of purpose in pursuits outside of the job, of course, and I do not wish to minimize that. But that still leaves some people who were just drifting aimlessly while working and continue to do so after retirement........
It has been my observation over years that those who take pride in their work and accomplishments at work are likely to be engaged in activities and also making accomplishments outside of work. Those who drift through work are also likely to drift through their personal lives.


I have also noticed that different places I have worked differed greatly in the percentage of "motivated" individuals. In a few places I worked the norm was apathy, aimless drifting and laziness. In other workplaces the percentage of motivated and accomplished individuals was extremely high. As a manager I wanted to build that later type of workplace with motivated individuals. Leading by example and getting out of the way seemed to work best. Occasionally we made hiring mistakes and ended up with a lazy employee. I rarely need to council or fire such individuals. Pressure from coworkers either motivated those individuals or more commonly helped them to realize they did not fit.
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Old 01-02-2016, 05:50 PM
 
Location: Henderson, NV
3,468 posts, read 2,262,366 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vanessaanderson View Post
My partner and I are semi-retired as part of a process of simplifying our lives so that we can enjoy the quality of life we've always wanted. But as we work less and less (we teach online now), I'm becoming aware of a worry that without any work I will have no real sense of purpose in my life. I have an amazing lifestyle - nothing to complain about at all. We are in our mid 50's. We have no kids and so are able to live wherever we want. Right now we are house sitting in a beautiful property in Australia. But... I have started wondering about more and more about "purpose". Interested really to hear other peoples views on this. Have you over time replaced work with other meaningful activities. Is it just past programming - something that passes, or do we all need to keep a sense of purpose to stay motivated and fulfilled in our lives?

I think what is different for you than it was for me, is that you're still in your mid-50s. I actually took my last job at 55, a challenging one, knowing that it would be the one I retired from. I know I wasn't ready to retire at 55, but that was just me. There were mountains yet to climb!


However, by the time I hit 65 (the retirement goal I'd set myself) I was truly ready to enter the next phase of my life. I loved my job but I was physically and mentally exhausted at the end of my career. I took about 6 months to do little else but handle the sale of my home and move to a new state. I had some idea about what I might like to do once I'd "recovered" from work, but made no definite plans until I hit that six month mark. I did however, like you, feel that I'd need to find something (or some things) to keep me engaged, to teach me new things, to use my talents. I'm happy to say that 5 years after that post-retirement sabbatical from anything purposeful, I've found much to do, to learn and to enjoy.


I would think you're either not ready to be fully retired or you just need time to ease into this new phase of your life. Best of luck.
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Old 01-02-2016, 08:25 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,740 posts, read 17,696,480 times
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I think people, retired or not, need to have some sort of grounding or focus.

Even if I retired today, I'd try to keep some structure in my life, whether that's getting up to go work out in the morning, volunteering, a part time job, etc.
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