0 Replies Latest reply on Jul 10, 2010 7:58 PM by JackHansen

    Personal Growth, Intellectual and Spirit

      Personal Growth (Intellectual and Spiritual)

      The retired professional men and women interviewed for our book “Shaping a Life of Significance for Retirement” (R. Jack Hansen and Jerry P. Haas, Upper Room Books, 2010) identified spiritual growth and intellectual growth and contribution among the unique opportunities afforded them in this phase of life, and these will be our focus this week.

      The most frequently made observation made about spiritual development in retirement was that it is facilitated by schedule flexibility. This permits the regular practice of such spiritual disciplines as reading sacred texts, prayer, and contemplation. Several people noted that their hurried pace of life when they worked full time got in the way of such practices. A less frequently mentioned factor behind spiritual growth in this phase of life was the need to confront such realities as declining physical or mental abilities and death, matters that can have an inherently spiritual dimension. We tend to ignore such topics earlier in life, but advancing age (ours and our friends or relatives) brings them to our attention as we approach and enter our retirement years.

      In a similar way, additional discretionary time in semi-retirement or retirement has been used by many of those interviewed to take courses or grow intellectually in other ways. For example, several people noted their participation in learning in retirement programs at a nearby university. Others, who live in more remote locations, described how they have used books, CDs, or such on line resources as I Tunes University to master new topics of interest. And a few mentioned such activities as developing and teaching courses at a local university, either for regular students or for retiree participants in learning in retirement programs.

      And a subset of the men and women interviewed are deriving real satisfaction from the intellectual and creative contributions they are making in this phase of life. Four of the individuals we have interacted with have published books since leaving the full-time work world. A larger number are engaged in other creative pursuits such as painting, music, and photography. Some are finding enjoyment in these activities for the first time, whereas others are picking up again an interest or hobby was left aside at an earlier stage of life because of work pressures.

      In this context of personal (intellectual and spiritual growth), the following questions may be worth considering.

      1. Were there hobbies or areas of interest to you earlier in life that you discontinued because of time pressures? Might one or more of these be of interest to pick up again in retirement? Or have you already had this experience in retirement?
      2. Does the idea of writing a book, story, poem, or family history, doing significant photography, painting, playing an instrument in a musical group, or engaging in some other creative activity appeal to you at this stage of life.
      3. Does the idea of returning to a university to learn more about topics of interest to you sound appealing? If so, is there a university near you that has learning in retirement program or provision for retirees to audit regular courses? If not, does access to a range of topics on line, such as available through I Tunes University, appeal to you?
      4. What does the term “spirituality” mean to you in this phase of life? Do you resonate with the observations about additional discretionary time or needing to face declining capabilities and mortality contributing to spiritual development?