Single Baby Boomers, Have You Found Your Passion?

Single Baby Boomers, What’s Your Passion?

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” Oprah Winfrey

If you Google single Baby Boomers finding their passion, it’s not too surprising that dating sites come up.  Take out the single and you get some more choices.  You can find a remarkable amount of information through AARP on topics related to this subject and many others.

According to the most recent study published in June of 2011 titled “Baby Boomers Envision What’s Next?” 1200 Boomers aged 46-65 (approximately  30% retired and 70% non-retired) had  visions for the future that varied greatly.  Retired Boomers had a more positive outlook, but advised others to save more and keep working.  Working Boomers were almost equally split between those who want to remain working and those who can’t wait to retire.  More employed people continue to work for economic reasons rather than interest and enjoyment than the older generation.  The survey found that their lifestyles were less aspirational and more pragmatic.   However, when possible, they plan to try to find a job or create a business that helps them achieve their passion.

I discovered the article “No Signs of Stopping: Single Female Baby Boomers Professionally Fulfilled and Financially Savvy” published June 19th, 2015 which showed the results of the Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey that was conducted online within the U. S. by Harris Poll on behalf of the PulteGroup.  They polled 1,020 single female U.S. adults aged 50-68 of which 330 were working full-time.   Del Webb Communities, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders and the leading builder of communities for active adults, wanted to assess home buying trends among single Baby Boomer women.  Their findings give some insight into how single females feel about finding or continuing to pursue their passions as they age.

They found that 51% of those still employed plan to stay at their current job for at least five more years and 34% plan to retire between the ages of 65-69.  Lindy Oliva, the company’s division president reported that, “We’ve seen that single female Boomers are happier, healthier and more confident than ever, and our survey results show that those who are still working aren’t rushing to retire…While the study finds 49 percent of single female Boomers have already reached their personal career goals, many are making time later in life to pursue their career passions. Among those single female Boomers working full-time, one in five (20 percent) plan to use their retirement years to begin an “encore career,” a job which can provide greater meaning and purpose, as well as a continued income.”  The poll also found that 28% sought educational opportunities in the past five years and 75% are more active in order to optimize their healthy life style.  Approximately half want to spend more time outdoors, traveling and cooking.  About 45% feel that their best years are yet to come.

“The Art of Taking Risks” by Brooke Foster at  noted that “Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City found that people who take risks experience a rush of dopamine, a chemical in the body that makes us feel good, every time we have a novel experience…Change nourishes the spirit.  When you do something new, you’re suddenly meeting new people, having new conversations, and growing and evolving as a person—or as a family.  The quality of our relationships are determined by the kinds of conversations we have in them, so if your marriage or friendships are feeling stagnant, it may be that you’re feeling stagnant.  Plus, at least one study shows that taking risks may actually boost happiness.”

My theory is that if you find your passion you’re happier.  When I went onto the Life Reimagined Institute section on the AARP website, I found that the institute is “a vision, a methodology, and a community that helps people rediscover what truly matters and focus on what they really want to do.”  The Life Reimagined Institute provides the thought leadership and program development that guides and fuels the Life Reimagined experience, a place, online and offline, where all people are empowered to define and shape their lives, and to find happiness and purpose.  They have events, mixers, and workshops in different parts of the U.S.  They also have online courses.

Through this site I found The Big Know website,  Among other things, it offers free online courses.  I’m currently taking the “Be Happy, How To Bring More Joy To Your Life” taught by Instructor Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD.   It’s an interactive course during which you watch videos, take polls, add your comments, view those of others, make a happiness journal, and create goals.  Although I haven’t finished the course I did learn that we’ve a genetically determined happiness set point of 50%.  Although life circumstances change the ways we think and act, if we focus on things that make us happy, 40% of the remaining 50% can be altered by us to make our outlook on life more positive.  Finding our passion may do this, but it’s not always that easy to do and takes a lot of investigation starting when we’re young and more adaptable.

I believe that finding your passion changes as we go through different stages of life.  When I recently suggested that my grandson find his passion and do whatever he needed to do to achieve it, I’d have preferred to tell him that he should attend college and go into a profession that’d make him financially secure.  That’s what I was told to do.   Having followed my elder’s advice I achieved that goal.  However, I also learned that even if you don’t make a lot of money, you should do something that you truly enjoy and can continue to appreciate even as you age.

Of course, you don’t have to have just one passion.  I certainly didn’t when I was younger or now.  There were many years when I loved my different jobs, but I when I got to the point when I’d so much time and money invested in my education and was near the top of the seniority list, I was afraid to resign until I’d qualified for my pension.  By this time I didn’t want another job or to start a new business.  I just wanted to relax and enjoy life.  The only problem was that I’d put off pursuing a lot of interests while I was working and had to start the search like a new high school graduate.  I’m not saying that I didn’t have some great experiences during those years like; adventures with my children, earning my pilot’s license, flying in vintage and aerobatic aircraft, being active in the community, traveling, and working throughout the world.  I just wish I’d taken more risks and found a way to make one of my passions a career.

My theory of finding your passions has no real scientific proof, but if you take the research done through surveys, interviews, and personal experience into account, you may agree.  If not, I challenge you to come up with your own theory and let us all know in the comment section.

Next time we’ll discuss changing careers to pursue our passions.  Some people have made the choice to find their dream job and some have had to recreate themselves through necessity due to lay-offs and age discrimination.  I’d appreciate it if you’d give me any thoughts you have on this subject.

Get out there and look for your passion or find something that makes you feel happy and fulfilled this week.  Even the search can bring you happiness.

Continue your adventure!

Linda Lea

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