To get the most out of the golden years, we need to find what brings us joy. This may change from time to time. For example, in the child-rearing years, a sweet-smelling baby right after bath time may bring joy. Certainly a peacefully sleeping baby after a stint with colic brings its own form of joy. After the kids are grown, when careers are being furthered, a job promotion brings joy. So, too, does a job about which one is passionate.
To find true joy in the golden years, we must look at what gives us joy right now. We may think, “I have no joy right now.” This may be in part true, but more than likely there is something that gets you excited, that makes you want to do it again. It may be a movie you went to see, or a book you just read. Maybe it is spending time with a particular person. Whatever it is, decide what about that event brought you joy. Then, try to convert that into a new focus for your life.
As an example, I am currently working as an Americorps VISTA volunteer. It is 40 hours a week in an office. Every morning, I get up excited to go to work. Why is this? Because I get to research and write all day long. I get to write about subjects that interest me – helping others make the most of their talents and opportunities. This tells me that writing is what brings me joy. I already knew that, but this just brings home the idea that I can do it 40 hours a week and still get joy from it.
Something else I have learned about myself is that I love volunteer work. Of course, I am a volunteer full time, but get a living allowance for that. Plus, the program I am involved with doesn’t allow for a lot of 1:1 contact. As part of our program, we are to volunteer in our community for up to 4 hours weekly. I have begun to do that, and have found out I love it. I feel especially validated in doing it.
What does this tell me about myself? I need to focus on writing and helping others, and I need to find volunteer opportunities. My plans for Nuggets for the Golden Years involves not only this blog, but ebooks to benefit other Golden Agers, and eventually a life coaching program for Golden Agers. I am extremely excited to begin this journey in my life, and hope to build that same excitement in my readers.