Busy, But Not Fulfilled

I’ve lost count of the number of times a retired client has said something along the lines of “People said to me, once you are retired, you’ll wonder how you had time to work. And they’re right, the days go by so quickly“.

In retirement, you have time to do all the things that working life prevents you from doing. Partly, this will be chores but mostly, hopefully, it will be partaking in the hobbies and interests that you didn’t have time for during working life.

The trap though, which I discovered when talking to clients recently, is being busy but not fulfilled. These clients, who I shall keep anonymous, have many varied interests but they admitted to a lack of fulfilment. They were busy, but not fulfilled.

Being unfulfilled for thirty years of retirement is a long time. Naturally, the second half of retirement is more likely to be inactive, which is all the more reason why making the most of the early years of retirement is important.

Part of the problem may also be a general lack of motivation. If you can do anything, it can be easier doing nothing. As our conversation developed, one of the couple quipped “My get-up-and-go has got up and gone.”

In other words, the drive to do anything is no longer there. I don’t know if this is cause or effect, but I can appreciate it happens. The energy that raised a family and supported a career no doubt dissipates with age. But I hope finding fulfilment can recover the get-up and go. Maybe it is a chicken-and-egg situation; what comes first the get-up-and-go or the fulfilment?

The starting point to finding fulfilment could be to write a three-columned list: ‘What I Enjoy Doing’, ‘What’s Important To Me?’, ‘What Could I Look Back On With Pride?’. Inspiration may come after taking the time to brainstorm as many ideas as possible. Or, by keeping it close to hand, you can add to it whenever inspiration strikes. A note on your phone can make this easier.

The most visited page of my website is an article listing 101 things to do in retirement, suggesting boredom in retirement is a consistent theme. Hopefully, the list inspires you to find fulfilment. But fulfilment is a very personal thing, you may do some of the activities listed and still feel an emptiness. It may be a journey of discovery until you land upon that one thing that provides you with a sense of purpose.

However you end up spending your time, I hope it is spent being fulfilled, not bored.


Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

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