Our next big adventure is called retirement. And let’s face it,the prospect can be pretty scary. Everyone knows they should plan financially for the future. Not so many plan for the passion necessary to have a great life.
In his book The Blue Zones - Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, Dan Buettner concluded that having a driving purpose in life is the most important factor in living a long, healthy live.
Passion frequently comes from what I call our inner nature. We get our physical traits from our genes, our psychological make up from our early childhood experiences. But we come into this world with our inner nature. It’s what propelled Amelia Earhard to do what no woman had ever done – fly around the world. She wanted to fly from the time she was a small child. It’s what gave Rosa Parks the courage to ride in the front of the bus. Being in touch with our inner nature is what gives us clarity and deeply satisfying experiences.
In order to have a great life after retirement we need to find our passion. Much of our earlier life was filled to the brim with making a living, raising kids, caring for elderly parents. Now is our time. We need to dig into our inner nature and find a driving passion to fill our days and bring soul satisfying years.
How do we find that inner nature? By making peace with the past. Does that sound like a contradiction? It’s not because we all have well stocked memories of past decades. Many good memories, but some not so good. And it’s those bad memories that leave buried anger, bitterness, feelings of victimization. Those negative emotions block our access to the inner nature.
Keeping a journal has helped me stay on track for many years. Ask yourself what your most difficult experiences have been and write down in a little notebook or on the computer how you feel today about those times. Are you still sad, mad, fearful, bitter? If so you need to defuse some of these feelings so you can have easy access to your inner nature.
Deep hurts don’t go easily and may need professional help to take the sting out of their debilitating effects on your life today. (The cost of that therapy is a first rate investment because you’re investing in the most important person in your life - you.) However, we can defuse negative emotions on our own by thinking back and looking for silver linings. The journal is an easy way to keep track of all your feelings as you discover them. Did those bad experiences bring out parts of your nature you didn’t know were there? Did you learn lessons that have served you well? Write down as many silver linings as you can think of.
Then look for areas of responsibility. Be honest. Did you get into a relationship with lots of potential problems? Did you go into denial about job cuts and be laid off without preparation? If you find some responsibility, forgive yourself. Tell yourself you did the best you could under difficult circumstances. That way you can go on freely. If you feel victimized have you spent any time thinking of revenge? The best revenge is living well. Never mind the blame game either. Whoever hurt you will find hard times without your help. The old saying - What goes around comes around is true.
Keep your journal work on clearing negativity from your past and you’ll find the road to your inner nature open. Now you can find your passion!