Since I began writing this blog almost seven years ago, I've promoted the idea of rewiring instead of retiring. To me, "rewiring" means approaching our second act in life as an opportunity to refresh our perspective. It means recognizing how to pursue another path while leveraging the talents we have and the experience we've gained in our first act.
The typical Boomer has spent his or her adult life working. The most fortunate of us found jobs which turned into careers or professions. Perhaps we have been rewarded financially. Hopefully, we've gained satisfaction for a job well done. Even better, we've achieved a sense of purpose.
So how do we meet the fundamental challenge of rewiring with purpose? I'm certainly not the first to address this question.
Books have been written on this very subject, such as Who Do You Want to Be When You Grow Old?: The Path of Purposeful Aging by Richard J. Leider and David A. Shapiro, published last year. In an interview with Nancy Collamer for NextAvenue, Leider said purpose "is the answer to the question, 'Why do you get up in the morning?' ... Everyone has a purpose, but it rarely just reveals itself. You have to make a choice to discover your purpose, be curious and make connections with others. It's an iterative process that unfolds over time and changes with age, so it's important to reassess your purpose on a regular basis."
Leider adds, "If you are going to continue to grow as you age, you need to reexamine your gifts. Ask yourself: What do I really love to do? What do I want my legacy to be? Then, think about how you can best use those gifts to solve a pressing problem, help someone out or make a contribution to others. When you do that, you'll place yourself along the path to purposeful aging."
Investment adviser Brian Skrobonja, writing for Kiplinger, shares similar advice about purpose in the form of three specific action steps:
Action #1: Reinvent Yourself
"The transition of retirement is not the destination; it is the transition to what is next. It is your opportunity to reinvent yourself and live out the second half of your life with purpose."
Action #2: Reframe Your Mindset About Money
"The measurement for your success should be on how much income you can generate from your assets that is consistent and predictable. It’s income from your assets that grants you freedom of money and time so you can dedicate your talents to pursue your purpose."
Action #3: Reframe Your Mindset of Time
"You have a choice: You can live as if you have been set out to pasture to retire or you can live as if you are just entering your second half of your life. Your future reality is created in your mind, and whatever you focus on expands."
Of course, there is no magic formula for discovering your post-career purpose. It is highly personal and individualized. For some, it could be new found activism inspired by past activism; this is what Third Act founder Bill McKibben exhorts us to do.
Discovering your purpose may take some time -- and it is likely to be an ongoing process. That isn't a bad thing: It's just the nature of rewiring, instead of retiring.