It’s Never Too Late to Live With Passion and Purpose in Your Profession | Active Aging Week


One of the most important decisions we make for our wellness is how we spend our days. Whether it involves paid work, volunteering, caregiving, or creative expression, our choices and activities that comprise how we spend our days become how we spend our lives. While one chapter of our professional activities may be complete, it’s never too late to begin something new, even in our 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond. And the good news is today there are more choices and opportunities than ever before. 

Ways to Add Passion & Purpose to Your Life 

  1. Learn Something New  – What is a skill or subject matter you’ve always wanted to learn more about? Many state college systems offer the opportunity to audit classes for free. You can also look online for dance, art, or other classes near you, find a book club, or join a meetup group.  
  1. Volunteer – Are you passionate about dogs? Children? Helping others in less fortunate circumstances? Nonprofit organizations welcome volunteers who can help a few hours a week or a month. In addition to hands-on work, they can use professional skills as well, like accounting, publicity, and fundraising. 
  1. Become a Mentor – Many youth would benefit from someone who can share their time and experience to help them as they grow. Many worthwhile organizations exist to make those intergenerational connections, such as  
  1. Provide Expertise – Take an inventory of your accomplishments. What are you really good at? Who could benefit from that? Explore what possible opportunities exist for that, either in a full or part-time position, paid or unpaid.  

Living with purpose is not a luxury. There are tangible medical benefits. Research from the National Library of Medicine shows having a purpose lowers the risk of stroke, and according to the Association for Psychological Science can add years to your life.

Ordinary People Living Extraordinary Lives

Whether you’re devoting time to hobbies, giving back, or working professionally, we all want to derive enjoyment from the hours we spend. The Japanese call it ikigai, which is defined as “something to live for, the joy and goal of living.” Here are some examples of individuals who have found just that. 

John Rivers

John Rivers – During the pandemic, the 4Rivers Smokehouse restaurant CEO was able to combine his passions for barbeque and helping people. With his restaurant empire shut down because of Covid-19, Rivers’ nonprofit 4Roots Foundation went to work, “rescuing” produce the restaurant industry no longer needed from farmers’ fields and providing it to families in food insecurity due to lost jobs. The model created over 300 jobs, taking the produce from the fields, creating meals, and delivering them to 46 sites in Florida. The operation, called “Feed the Need,” served nearly 2 million meals in just over one year. 

Charmaine Gilbreath

Charmaine Gilbreath reinvented herself. When she retired at 63 from a career in physics and engineering, she decided she wanted to go back to school to learn 3D animation. She and her husband moved to Florida so she could attend the DAVE school, Digital Animation and Visual Effects. Despite a bout with cancer and caregiving for her husband, she graduated at 65. Today Charmaine is in her 70s, working as an adjunct college professor and consults in 3D visualization and depth recovery. 

There are 1440 minutes in every day. What will you do to create more opportunities for passion and purpose in yours? 

Humana and the International Council on Active Aging are dedicated to helping you on your journey to whole-person health. Click here to download our complimentary Playbook for Active Aging: 7 Keys for Whole Person Health. Inside you’ll find three easy ways to move forward while giving back. 

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