Having a sense of purpose in life offers lots of positive benefits, but "purpose" sometimes seems to be a concept that applies only to one's youth. When we're younger, for example, developing a sense of purpose is often associated with job satisfaction, career success, or starting a family.
Shouldn't Boomers have a sense of purpose too? Yes, of course. In fact, recent research suggests purpose is just as important for Boomers, according to a fascinating article, "How to Find Your Purpose in Midlife." Eric Kim of Harvard's School of Health, for example, found that "people who report higher levels of purpose at one point in time have objectively better physical agility four years later than those who report less purpose." Patrick Hill of Washington University "found important advantages for more purposeful adults, including better cognitive functioning and greater longevity."
Another interesting aspect of research into finding purpose in midlife suggests that a particular kind of purpose is of greater significance to Boomers. According to Anne Colby of Stanford University, research showed "Those who were purposeful beyond the self said their lives were filled with joy and happiness.”
The article, which appears in Greater Good magazine, published by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, also offers some tips on developing a sense of purpose. Not surprisingly, one avenue that relates directly to purpose is volunteering. Jim Emerman, vice president of Encore.org, advises, “The key things to think about are: What are you good at? What have you done that gave you a skill that can be used for a cause? What do you care about in your community? Those questions really help one focus.”