It might seem reasonable that, after we hit 50, our quest for finding meaning in our life would wane.
We’ve been so busy. We’ve had a family, a career, perhaps one (or more) marriages, an education. We’ve been around the block, as they say; felt joy, experienced loss, dodged a quiver of life-threatening arrows over the past 50-something years. Quite frankly, we’re exhausted.
Our 50s, and the years beyond, should be a time to slow things down, to coast on the remaining momentum we’ve created.
Why would we need a quest of any kind, past that wherein we seek out our slippers?
And yet: It’s there. Underneath everything, we may all feel the nudging, nagging, undeniable pull to find new meaning in this new chapter of life.
For many of us, the deepest and most profound quest for meaning in our life has just begun.
We are perched somewhere near the peak of life’s long tall mountain trail where we can pause to catch our breath, have a look back down to where we’ve climbed from, and also peek forward at what might be to come.
And there is, indeed, plenty more to come.
The more for which we’re searching — that quest for meaning — is rooted in the fundamental need we all have, from birth through death, to feel connected. This desire to feel connected — to give and to receive love, kindness, compassion, and empathy – is at the very core of living a life of meaning.
In our younger years, the connection was effortless and abundant. Most of us were more likely to consider a few moments of solitude a gift rather than a punishment. But, as we get older, the opportunities to feel connected with others can grow infrequent. For many, nearly non-existent.
And yet, we have so much to share.
It is through our connections with others that we can continue (or maybe even start) to make a difference, to experience new meaning and purpose in our life.
So how do we increase our connections and, therefore, experience living a more full, meaningful, and purpose-filled life in our 50s and beyond?
Getting involved could look like joining a walking group, actively participating in a faith organization you feel close to, fundraising, or volunteering for a non-profit with a mission you believe in.
There are so many groups and organizations that could genuinely use your help, your wisdom, your experience, your energy. Think places of worship, hospitals, humane societies, historical societies, public libraries, political committees, beautification clubs… the list is endless!
Find something that speaks to your heart. Get involved, and the connections and meaning will follow naturally!
Challenge yourself to learn something new.
It’s never too late to expand your mind, interests, and talents – even after we hit midlife.
Take a computer class, or a cooking class. Learn to bake. Practice yoga. Go birdwatching. Try your hand at ceramics or painting. Learning in a group setting provides engagement and connection. And discovering a new passion, a new way to share your journey with others of any age, can provide the basis for finding meaning and purpose.
Regardless of how we go about it, we do feel compelled to quest for meaning in our lives after 50. Follow your heart, get involved, and challenge yourself.
Where your quest leads is up to you. What are you waiting for?! Get going! Seek, my friends, and ye shall find!