Today, I scared myself.
I thought about how I’d be when I turned 80 years old. Jobless. Bored. Lonely. Rocking myself in my chair as I wonder which one of my friends would be next.
It’s a pretty scary thought, because it’s SO realistic.
It made me think back to an email my fan recently wrote. He had asked me after reading, When you don’t know what to do with your life, read this,
What can I do with my life? I’m 75, retired and no longer have anything to do except spend my days online at home.
Like him, many retired people lose their main purpose in life — to work for a living. They have too much time. If they want to get in touch with a loved one, they can’t, because everyone is either too busy dealing with their own lives (work, school, passion) or already dead. The only thing they could do is find ways to pass the time.
However, I didn’t advise him on what to do, but instead told him about a recent encounter I had with a grandmother in her late 70s. She had came up to me while I was working at a coffeeshop and asked me what I thought of lemons and limes and my preferences for pies.
Apparently, she wanted to know what the younger crowd liked in terms of flavor, because she was planning to grow her own garden and sell homemade pies of the preferred flavor.
Her attitude, her willingness to do more even in retirement struck me by surprise and even made me admire her. This was someone who decided to do something for herself, to follow her passions, to contribute back to the world the way she saw fit and felt good about herself. She had a purpose. Most people her age are lost, not knowing what to do like the gentleman who had sent the email.
It made me realize that ambition isn’t restricted by age. There’re so many people in this world who’ve done extraordinary things past their 50s, 60s, 70s, even their 80s — including Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC. He was nobody until he sold his entire business for $2 million at the age of 73. He didn’t retire at 65. At that age, he traveled across the country, cooking batches of chicken from restaurant to restaurant, striking up deals that paid him for every chicken sold. He didn’t let age discourage him and tell him what he couldn’t do.
You’re only truly retired when you believe yourself to be.
If you want to live with a purpose after retiring, you need to realize that there are more things to life than just online entertainment and TV. You have the whole world in front of you, to learn from and experience. You have more time, more opportunities to do the things you were never able to do before, except now with a lifetime’s worth of experience.
Don’t waste it.
Find something you’re interested in, find something you haven’t done and just do it. Work towards a purpose, because if Colonel Sanders and the grandma could do it, so could you.