Life is in a constant motion. It flows up, down and every once in a while it throws in a sharp unexpected curve, just to keep things excited.
I retired from the Canadian Armed Forces with 27 years of service. I have had many amazing experiences in my career. Now I’m in a new chapter of my life, I have placed my dog-tags in a drawer and pick up a paint brush. I am now an Artist. I knew that it was important to find something that you are passionate about after retiring. But for me, I didn’t have to think too long about it. I wanted to be a landscape Artist. Creating beautiful paintings that would make someone smile, or let them escape to a peaceful sunset even if it is just for a few minutes.
We as humans require a purpose. As children we attended school to learn the essentials, as young adults we worked to support our families, as older adults we focus on building a comfortable life for our loved ones and ourselves. Then in retirement, everything stops. We think, we made it, and now we don’t need to do anything anymore. And that is fine, for a while. If you worked hard all those years and want to take a breather, (even if it is for few years) that is perfectly OK, you’ve earned it. And when the day comes that you find yourself searching for something, remember that humans require purpose. So what can that purpose be?
You reach back into your memory and think of your old career, your old life, your old purpose. But that chapter is done. It is not to say that you should never talk about that chapter or remember it. No those years were part of your life and you should share those adventures and stories with people. After all, those experiences made you into who you are today. What you should do is start opening up doors. See what is on the other side.
Everyone has doors in front of them. (And I’m using doors as a metaphor for choices). Here is what you need to do…Walk to a door, any door, and read the sign hanging on it. What does it say? artist, yoga, language, school, woodworking, running, volunteer? Then if you find yourself curious about what you’ve read on the sign, turn the doorknob and pull open that door, step inside and see what’s on the other side. Later on if you find that you are in a room that isn’t for you, great! Step out, and move on to the next door. If you find yourself enjoying it, stay there for a while.
The whole thing is to find a purpose. And if that purpose changes in the future, that’s OK… just walk to another door.