Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Section 5


Our purpose and the meaning we give to our lives make a significant difference to our health, how we feel, how we perform and how we bounce back from the challenges that life throws at us. This is potentially even more important as we reach retirement and the latter period of our lives.

Our purpose may be large. We may want to bring peace to the world, or it may be much smaller. We may want to make the lives of our pets happier or ensure our houseplant is cared for. It’s not size that matters, it’s about how much what we choose relates to what’s really important to us as individuals.

Discovering what’s really important to us may be a life-time challenge. It often requires work, and many people don’t get round to it until they reach a certain age. When we approach retirement, we may have a final chance to clarify what we’re really about. Even as far as to create a story about our lives that we’re genuinely proud to tell our children and grandchildren. 

We’ve included some exercises to help you to connect to what’s really important to you. It’s one of those things that you have to do yourself. No one can do it for you!

(This is one of those exercises that looks easy; however, when done properly, it encourages us to think deeply. Often it’s useful to ask a coach to take us through it, so we can concentrate on the content rather than the process.)

1.   What’s important to you about the people you know?

To each answer ask yourself, ‘what does that get me?’, and to that answer ask again, ‘what does that get me?’

2.   What’s important to you about yourself?

To each answer ask yourself, ‘what does that get me?’, and to that answer ask again, ‘what does that get me?’

3.   What’s important to you about your environment? Feel free to add anything that been missed out from questions 1 and 2

To each answer ask yourself, ‘what does that get me?’, and to that answer ask again, ‘what does that get me?’

4.   Write all your answers from 1, 2, and 3. Prioritise them.

Pick the first 1, 2 or 3. Imagine that you were achieving them to the very best of your abilities at a specific time in the future. Do you feel good? If so why not make them a priority?


Case Study: Joan 

Coming from a rich family Joan never had to work, and was instead able pursue her various hobbies: music, swimming, and even mountaineering and hunting, although Joan found that she didn’t enjoy killing of animals. Joan began smoking in her twenties when her husband introduced her to having a cigarette after meals. She continued the habit for most of her life, but it never seemed an addiction as it did with others - one or two a day seemed enough for her.

She would wake at eight each morning and would have sometimes only a coffee or hot chocolate for breakfast.

In time, she had a daughter, and at 36 this daughter died - Joan was heartbroken, but persevered. 

She continued drinking coffee for breakfast, and eating beef for lunch, frequently with pudding - she loved chocolate throughout her life. She moved into a nursing home, where it was noticed that she moved faster than the others, despite her blindness. She fixed some of her own meals. - each morning, asking God in a prayer, spoken aloud, why she was chosen to continue living so long.
At 85, she took up fencing.

(Spoiler Alert: The details above actually come from the life of Jeanne Calment, the longest living human being, at 122 years.)

The Question:

What facets of Joan/Jeanne’s attitude and lifestyle do you think contributed to her longevity? Do you think sometimes indulging can be healthier than restricting?

This is the continuation of a weekly serialization of this new ebook on active retirement, by Wamala and Cooper, which book is available through amazon.com for $0.99: 

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