Finding Purpose After Retirement and Before

Have you ever felt misplaced on this earth? I’m not talking about out of place, but like maybe you were born in the wrong area of this world?

I started feeling this way 13 years ago when I first visited the ocean and after I left my job when I tried finding purpose after retirement.

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I am currently married to one of the best men on earth. I married him 13 years ago. When I said yes to him, he promised to take me to Mexico every year for our anniversary. He has held true to his word for the past 13 years.Finding Purpose After Retirement and Before

The ocean

Every year we went to the white sands on the Gulf of Mexico. We would stay for seven days. After that glorious seven days, we would return to the midwest winters and go back to work. During those 13 years, I never considered that finding purpose after retirement was something that would concern me in the future.

I worked in the medical profession for 43 years. When the day of retirement began to approach we made plans to move closer to the ocean.

I waited and worked and dreamed of the ocean. I packed and tried to be patient with the time I had left at my job.

I was in awe of the magical sound of the waves that rolled onto the shore. It mesmerized me to think that each time the waves rolled in they brought life with them and took life back to the depths with their return.

When we visited the ocean, and I walked on the beach at night, the silence that hovered over the water held hope for any person that would go in search of it.

Finding purpose after retirement

My day of retirement has arrived and is two weeks past. All of the plans we have made are in motion. We are moving. But what does this mean to me?

I am afraid. Not afraid to move or do new things. I am fearful because I have identified myself with my work all of my life. I left the only experience I have ever known. It was comfortable, and I was respected. Who am I now? What will I do with my time?

Have you ever asked yourself this question? Do you know who you are? Or is it what you do for a living that defines who you are?

Who are we?

These questions hover over me just as the silence of the ocean hangs over the water at night. As I tried finding purpose after retirement I now see that I identified myself with my job all of my life. I thought my work life represented who I am.

My thoughts may sound a bit silly to those of you who have not yet retired. I assure you that I never considered I would feel this way. I remember asking a friend who is a couple of years older than I if he was having feelings like these. He looked at me perplexed and said “no.” But he was still working at the time.

He did retire but went back to work very shortly after that day. I wonder if he is feeling lost and feels his work is his character?

I leaned on my career for the best of myself. I help others and have loved all of my nursing. My desire to help made me feel good about who I am.

How many people in this world do what I have done for 43 years? Probably a very high percentage of people don’t know who they are. They think they are their work or their children or their friends.

You may still be young or midlife, and retirement is far away. It doesn’t have to take retirement for you to see that you don’t know who you are.

What if tomorrow you became disabled for some unforeseen reason? Would you be able to sit in a room with you and know what you like, what your heart feels and what your passions are? Would you be able to see what you are capable of doing without your work and friends around you?

Does your job define you or your character

Or do you believe that what you do and who you are with make your character? This statement is partially is true. We can become who we hang with, but they are not who we are inside.

It took the fear of change for me to see that I am the person who helped others all of my life. I am the person with a kind heart that chose to make a career in nursing. It is not the nursing and desire to help others that made my heart good. I was finally finding purpose after retirement.

This new knowledge has given me the peace to move forward into a new dimension of my life with my husband. I am not a person who is kind and noble because I am a nurse. I am a person who is kind and loving and chose to be a nurse.

My hope is for you to see that you are the person behind your heart and your career does not define who you are. Your family does not set your identity for you nor do your friends. You classify yourself through the goodness of your heart.

With a new peace and the reality of finding purpose after retirement, I will be moving to the ocean that has called my name for 13 years. I will be going like myself and not as the nurse who made me. Why? Because the nurse did not make me, I made the nurse.

Reality and peace

You are not a good person because of a career you chose or your ability to perform your job well. You are incredible because of who you were before you started your career. You made the choices in life based on your amazing heart. You are on your way to finding purpose after retirement and before.

Before you work 43 years and retire, I urge you to see that you define who you are. You set your character. You are incredible and whole without anything outside of you to depict who you are. You are what is in your heart. You are the person who can do anything you set your mind to do.

The place you work and the friends you have are wealthy indeed to have you in their life.

You may have some questions or concerns about how to accomplish a self-awareness and love for yourself. It will be different for each person. Please take a look at a post on how to learn to love yourself.    7 – Steps To Love Yourself

Please leave a comment. I will be happy to help in any way I can.

10 thoughts on “Finding Purpose After Retirement and Before”

  1. Laura your article in so relevant no matter what a person is right now because it is true. A career does not define a person it is who you are on the inside that matters. Your goals outside of career and family. It is that thing that makes you most joyful. I thoroughly enjoyed this .Thank you

  2. Thank you for this post. This is a wonderful thing to think about BEFORE retirement. To see clearly the person you want to be and the adventures you choose to embrace. Work is a wonderful thing, or can be, but it is certainly not the only thing and never the most important thing. Thank you for helping to keep our priorities straight and help people think about what’s important

  3. Finding my real purpose has been a great struggle for me personally. I am in the early 30s but I have already done so much damage in my life because I over-relied on other people to tell what I could do to dig what was the real me. I end up selling my properties and the likes, I really regret it up to this day.
    It’s really important to find out, who is the real you and work towards developing yourself. Don’t ever allow someone to stand in your way except if she/he is cheering you up.
    Thank you so much for such a great article.


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