I’ll be 60 in under a month. Thanks partly to coronavirus that big milestone I was so focused on will pass by with more of a whimper than a bang. No party, no holiday, not even a meal out.
Maybe a small family gathering in the garden. Nothing wrong with that, of course. I shall enjoy whatever happens and look forward to perhaps a bigger bash when I’m 61.
The milestone and the months of coronavirus lockdown has given me ample – maybe too much – time to think about my life and how I want to spend what could be anything from one day to another 60 years!
I know I want to spend as much of it fit and healthy, be a good husband, dad and son, have fun, see the world, stay solvent, enjoy where I live and maybe learn something new.
In recent months work has slowed and it’s looking like my earnings will soon start to drop below my income target. With perfect timing the first payment from a small pension pot should begin hitting my bank account on my 60th birthday so that along with my savings should mean I’ll be ok financially.
The diminution of work to just a few hours a week and the fact it is no longer paying its way does though take away something important – my purpose, the meaning of my life.
It’s not as if my work – what I actually do means that much really – it’s never changed the world and rarely, to be frank, has had it much of an impact on anyone’s life but my own. It’s given me purpose and some status, I guess, as clients needed me for the services I offered and staff for the wages I paid them.
Even though I can think of plenty of ways to fill my time I’m beginning to feel that I need to replace what work used to give me. I need to find new purpose, new meaning in my life.
I’m not talking about getting a job – oh god no! – but I need to find something to do that makes a difference. There’s so much in the world that needs fixing, not sure where to start!
It could be something political, though what I’ve seen of how a political party operates doesn’t fill with me a great deal of hope. It could be charitable, maybe I could become a trustee or board member but I hate committees.
It could be something practical, creative or artistic. It could make use of my skills around writing, marketing, digital or business-related perhaps supporting a young person with a start-up business. Maybe something very local, helping to make the village I live in even more beautiful.
Whatever I do needs to fit around the travel I’m planning to do for large parts of each year and I certainly don’t want any stress or aggro though deadlines and some pressure would be motivating.
Over the next few weeks as I approach this big milestone I’m going to start thinking about how to find meaning in retirement. I’m going to review what I’m sure will be numerous online resources and see where this journey takes me.
By the time I turn 60 and with a whole new world opening up post-Covid, maybe now is a good time to explore the meaning of meaning.