Golden Years: Live with Purpose and Passion

by Lynn Stumberg

How do we, as seniors, continue to live with purpose and passion, even in our golden years? In fact, for most of us, are our golden years really golden?

Obviously, we all face new challenges as we age. Declining strength, eyesight, bone mass and hearing are just a few of these changes we experience.

As a fitness instructor, I often remind my participants that exercise helps to slow down many of these processes and creates a better quality of life. Even still, our bodies will grow old; there’s no way around that. So rather than focusing on the negative, why not make a shift in our thinking, and focus on the
positive aspects we have available to us at this time in our lives?

In order to enjoy our later years to the fullest, each of us needs to have a sense of purpose. Purpose is defined as having specific goals we have decided are important and that we want to achieve. These goals
determine how we spend our time and resources.

guitar-lessonPurpose is the driving force that propels us towards our goals. It not only energizes and motivates us, but helps keep us focused.  A famous World War II concentration camp survivor, Victor Frankl, believes those who fared best in the horrific conditions of the concentration camps were those who believed they had a mission or purpose that required their survival. It was this sense of purpose that kept Victor alive.

Do you have a sense of purpose for your life, one which helps you live with meaning and fulfillment?Sadly, many of us spend our lives living for retirement and when it comes, we stop living.

A friend of mine who recently retired reminds me on a regular basis that retirement isn’t for sissies.
Whether you believe this or not, you do have a choice as to how you will live these years, and having purpose and passion will make the difference.

To help you discover your life purpose, try the following.

Start with a blank sheet of paper or computer screen. At the top, write My Purpose in Life is…Start writing whatever comes to your mind. When you write something that evokes great emotion, perhaps even tears of joy, you’ve touched on a life purpose that is meaningful and important to you.

Recall times of great satisfaction and happiness in your life. What were you doing? What were the
circumstances? What is the underlying theme, if any? Recall times when you were occupied with an activity and lost track of time. What were you doing? What talents were you using?

You have just discovered and listed lots of things that you are passionate about. These are the things
you love to do. The things that make your heart beat faster and energize you. Put simply, passion is the
what and purpose is the why. Passion can be selfish, but purpose is not. It’s the desire to make a difference in the lives of others and in the world.

Now that you have your list of passions, take these thoughts, feelings and emotions a step further and
determine what matters most to you. You may need to focus on two or three, and determine what the
underlying reason is for doing the things that you are passionate about.

This will be your purpose.

Create your own purpose statement, write it down, and read it often. Set goals related to this purpose and begin to live them out on a daily basis.

If you are dedicated to living with purpose, you will not only have a more meaningful life, you will make a difference!

Lynn Stumberg is a Life Coach and Fitness Instructor in Helena.