Situation: John retired two years ago. He did the job he loved for his whole life and his job gave meaning to his life. Without his job now, he is feeling empty. He feels he lost his life purpose. This feeling is making him think that he wants to go back to work. Now, he is trying to find ways to do that. John lives with his wife. His two children have their own jobs and families in other cities.
Questions: Should John try to go back to work? If not, how can he give meaning to his life? Given that he did not create an alternative meaning before, how can he create a new one? What are some examples of meaningful things he can do to replace his job?
28 thoughts on “Brain-Storming 7”
I would recommend he moult. It’s a human’s god-ordained right to reinvent herself/himself
He should get excited about this new possibility now …. easier said than done
1. Join a club – any club (movie, book, nature walk etc)
3. Start a hobby
4. Go on a retreat with his wife
5. Start therapy
6. Learn a new language and then have a goal of travelling to that country after 2 years and being able to speak to the natives
7. Join a gym and have a fitness goal (a marathon, a triathlon, a contest)
8. Declutter (the KonMarie method) and garden/landscape
9. Become an actor or do a theatre workshop
10. Organise regular family BBQs and reconnect with family and friends and …. who knows, an opportunity can come up
These are all really good options? What if he wants to devote his life to one thing? In other words, he doesn’t want to try this and that but just devote himself. One thing I can think of: Maybe then he can take these one step further. For example, he can have a fitness goal and then maybe inspire people for fitness. What do you think?
Absolutely! The goal is to shed the past and embrace a new identity. What is frightening for most of us is the image we have of something “retired” “married” “celebration” all these words come with a distinct emotional and psychological impression.
The Universe is constantly prompting us to expand and we resist it because humans don’t like letting go of anything that works …. This is now a fertile ground for him to explore new possibilities, to redefine “retired” in a way that suits him, that will now define him 😬
Well-said! He can now define himself in any way he likes. He can pick and choose from options. Thanks for sharing!
He loved his job and got t opportunity to spend years doing what he loved.but now he should focus on other things he loves and pursue them.Being busy with his job he must have spent less time with people he loves..so this is a good time to do that.And if he is financially stable then he can utilise the free time to do something constructive to pay back to the society that gave him so much..
So now his devotion is not to his job but should shift to his family and friends. How can he achieve this transition? I think he needs to find a good meaning in this switch.
He should explore and discover what his real interests are…we spend our whole lives trying to make two ends meet and do our responsibilities efficiently for people we love.now is tr time to devote to oneself.. be selfish and do what we like irrespective of what people may think about us..he can do anything whatever makes him happy..even if that means doing the same thing he has been doing all his life..
Good points! Thanks for sharing!
I agree that at some point, we need to give ourselves the attention we need.
Yes we do..for our mental health
If John really loves his job, then why did he leave? John need to remind himself the reason why he quit, and all the plan he thought about but he couldn’t archieve back then. Sometime you miss it just because you’re feeling empty inside. Accept this as a part of life, and allow yourself to feel and to think about it – the reason you chose.
I am assuming he had to retire due to old age. Would what you say apply then as well?
It’s hard when you live for your job. It’s hard when you live for anything that’s external like that, when your worth and meaning are drawn from what you do, not who you are. Plus, you miss the thing you love to do and maybe the environment that you loved to do it in.
Choosing to work is an option. Depending on his profession, so is volunteering in the same place. Replacing the social circle that work provided is important. Investigating programs for seniors might be an option as well, educational ones, learning ones, exercise ones, travel ones.
It’s a time of great transition and those can be hard. I would think that working on himself would also be important, learning who he is when he’s not doing the thing he used to add meaning to his life.
It’s funny. We celebrate and pay attention to a lot of important milestones throughout life but one of the really big ones, retirement, doesn’t get as much attention from the rank and file.
Very good points there! I agree that retirement should be celebrated. I think the points you are making ties to the idea that he might use his experience in the workplace and life to help out other people. I think this is a good reason to live for. Maybe he can try to convince himself that this is his new meaning.
I think we find a lot of self worth and increased gratitude for what we have, when we volunteer. I would suggest trying an organization he could really get into. It’s work, but with meaning.
An organization where he can help people navigate at work? Or something unrelated to work? Or either?
Either. If you are a technician, a nonprofit could use your expertise. Or, like me, I would do something completely unrelated like working for the wildlife raptor program.
What matters is that he shares his experience and knowledge to benefit others in some way. Thanks for sharing!
This is why I write and adopt dogs. I retired and my last child moved away. The void can quickly become a vacuum without new purpose.
How did you discover your new purpose?
A LOT of trial and error. Going back to work wasn’t an option for me and I was only 40 years old. I tried things I’d never thought about or had much interest in (like gardening). I did things I never had time for previously (crocheting baby blankets for grandkids that don’t exist yet). I used my writing and art abilities in my volunteer work. I painted and wrote for fun (not for profit or volunteering). I also made myself do things I wouldn’t have – like take an agility class with my dogs, learn pottery, even stuff as simple as taking a walk every day.
Discovering what you like can be very time-demanding if you don’t know it already. It is especially hard after having a stable life for a long time. John needs to be patient and try things out. Eventually, he will find what attracts him the most. Is that right?
Thank you. That is exactly right! It is not easy to go through this process. I think it’s normal to feel lost as you rediscover what makes you happy in this next stage of life. You have to grieve a little then change your perspective from “damn, I have to change and start over” to “I am fortunate to have the chance to discover who I am now and reinvent myself.”
Good point! Perspective change will give a good incentive!
Also, I admire your persistence!
I understand how it could feel for retiree even to retire from the work he loves even though I’ve not been there.
The best thing is to become an entrepreneur – establish his own business similar to his work – employ few workers to make it easier and that’s it. I’ve seen a retiree start a restaurant business, hotel business, mechanic workshop and so on – whatever he loves. Even though he has passed the age of working in his position, doesn’t mean he should now go without work. Work makes life much more bearable. So he should open up a business close to his previous job if he has the money. This is my humble opinion.
I like this idea! I think one concern would be to avoid tiring oneself. He should have a business that is not too demanding. Otherwise, he will not find the rest he deserves. A restaurant can get busy, for example. How can he avoid this potential caveat?
First he should accept that there is a time for everything. Other things he can do is spending more time with family or if he liked his job too much. he can find some similar work related to field in which he worked in..
He needs to do something that will give his life a meaning and the options you offered seem to be good ones. Maybe, now it is time to pass his experience and knowledge to other people.