Living with meaning and purpose

When you leave full-time work you suddenly have more time. Time to spend with people, and doing things, which matter to you. The big question is though, how should you spend that time?

Of course, the right answer is - however you want! It’s your life after all. Many people however, find that having a sense of purpose or meaning in their life keeps them more energised and fulfilled. This is backed up by an increasing body of research which shows that having a sense of purpose helps you be healthier and happier, and live longer.

When we talk about purpose, we don’t mean trying to find THE reason you’re here on this earth. We mean much smaller, more achievable things. One person we talked to started a new business combining her experience and her passions; another studied history and then started leading tours overseas; yet another volunteers as a coach for his grandchildren's football team. The stories and the ideas are endless. There were, however, common themes which kept coming up again and again, the more people we talked to. Things like:

  • Helping others

  • Spending time with people who matter to you

  • Travel/new experiences

  • Working on a cause you care about

  • Using, and feeling valued for, your skills and experience

  • Spirituality

  • Creative pursuits

Once you are clearer about what gives you this sense of purpose, it helps you to build a life that makes you feel fulfilled, engaged and happier more often. It also makes it easier for you to realise things you’re doing because you think you should do them, but they’re not adding anything to your life. The more of these should things that you can cut out of your life, the better.

Further reading

Living a purposeful life helps you live longer. Recent research shows that people who live with a sense of purpose live longer and healthier lives.