Finding Happiness On The Path To Retirement
By: Michelle Bogle
Ask any retired firefighter and they will tell you that their final climb down the ladder had elements of uncertainty and loss.
For decades, you’ve had a place to go, a job to do and people relying on you. When you started your career, you took a pledge to serve and protect others, but in doing so, you excelled at a profession you love. Being a firefighter is a huge part of your identity, so understandably, you feel nervous about retirement. You might also have no idea how you’ll spend your time once you permanently hang up your helmet or how you’ll continue to live with purpose outside of the jump seat.
Retirement isn’t the end of the road, but a new beginning. It’s a time to discover your passions and identify opportunities that are meaningful to you. And if you’re able to transform a pastime or skill into a second act career that feels more like fun than work, even better. Many new retirees find having a job they enjoy – whether part-time or otherwise – or a new interest is a great way to stay occupied.
Need some help finding yourself on the path to retirement? Ask yourself these questions:
- Are there hobbies I once enjoyed that I haven’t had time or financial resources for?
- What made me happy before I became a firefighter?
- Do I have special talents that people tell me I’m good at?
- Is there an organization I feel passionate about that could use my help?
- How can I share my knowledge by mentoring, teaching or coaching?
- What skills or expertise do I possess that can save people time and money?
- What are some tasks that people dislike doing that I enjoy?
- Do I ever think, “There must be a better way,” about certain processes, products or situations that I have solutions for?
- Are there educational opportunities that I haven’t explored?
- Do I have unfulfilled dreams or desires that I will regret?
- Who inspires me? Is there a positive impact that this person makes that I wish I could do?
- What legacy do I want to leave my family, community or the fire service?
Ask any retired firefighter and they will tell you that their final climb down the ladder had elements of uncertainty and loss. It’s a monumental change with unique challenges – some of which may feel more difficult than those you endured throughout your career.
However, finding clarity in your purpose before hanging up your gear will help you enter this next chapter with confidence so that you can continue to serve others and live your purpose beyond those familiar firehouse walls.
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