What is Personal Growth in Retirement?

As I looked back at my 7 Life Domains Model on which I based my retirement life vision, I realized that I had not fully investigated the area of Self-Development/Volunteering. Serendipity has raised her head on this topic as well:

  • A friend recently sent me the quote “You are either green and growing or ripe and dying.”
  • I read an article that talked about personal development as growth and giving back. Growth is finding ways to make you a better person. Giving back is finding ways to make other people better.
  • Another recent article talked about psychological growth and spiritual growth in your retirement years. Psychological growth was defined as being the freedom to pursue your own interests, develop new capabilities and experience new things with those activities, actions and behaviors linked to your personal values. Spiritual growth was about expanding your consciousness, mindfulness and being of service to others.

One of the reasons I have avoided delving into this Life Doman was that I felt it was all about volunteering.   And while I admire folks who selflessly volunteer their time, talents and treasures for others, active volunteering has never been my vision. Not that I don’t like helping folks and I have always donated monetarily to those organizations I believe in – many of them in my local community. I just feel queasy when I think about committing regular time to volunteering. (Yes, I’ve blogged about my fear of commitment.)

So how could I explore this Life Domain with some reframing of the idea?  How could I reframe helping others in a way that is more “me” at this point of my life:

— Self-development as personal growth – growing as an individual.

— Volunteering as giving back in ways that feel authentic – helping others

For me personal growth is about pushing past my comfort zone and experimenting in different things.    And I have definitely been doing this – from doing Zumba, to starting a blog, to taking cooking class at the local Culinary Institute, to learning how to choose happiness. All of these things required me to grow in different ways.

What other things on my possibilities list have me saying “I really can’t do that, I’m too old to do that, I’m scared to fail at that?” For example, how can I push past my comfort zone and create a safety-net support system for my writing? I’ve thought about joining a Writing group… when is the right time to activate that?

I think I am helping others in my own way. For me blogging has become a way to reach out to others and offer support on this retirement transition.  Especially being open about the highs and the lows so others don’t feel alone if they are hitting some lows themselves.   Small, but definitely fits me.

I also created a mid-week foodie club as part of my intentional connections, which not only benefits me, but a group of others as well. Again, small, but fits me.   I also continue to reach out to a number of women I used to mentor and still meet with them to encourage and guide. Again small, but fits me.   Maybe I’m not going to save the world (right now), but I can continue to look for ways to help others in ways that feel authentic to me. I believe that someday I will join in for regular volunteering commitments, but not now.

So, after exploring this Life Domain with a reframing, I’m feeling like my current life plan is actually addressing both self-development and volunteering in a way that is authentic to me.

What elements of your life could use a re-framing review so you feel better about them?

Picture Credit: Pixabay

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3 thoughts on “What is Personal Growth in Retirement?

  1. When I retired a few years ago, I thought that volunteering would be a part of my post-work world. So far, though, I haven’t signed up for anything. Like you, I don’t want to start scheduling myself and feel obligated to show up at a specific day and time. I may look into becoming an usher at a theater – I can see plays for free and I think the schedules are pretty flexible. I love that you organized your foodie group; it’s important to have someone like you to take the initiative. It sounds like you are doing great.

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  2. Hi, Pat – I truly believe the ‘small’ things that you have listed above make a big difference. Reaching out, mentoring, blogging/sharing/storytelling, club creation/organization/leading…can all have incredibly HUGE, positive impact. Thanks for sharing this!
    Donna
    http://www.retirementreflections.com

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