Julie had been a middle school teacher for 35 years and, while she loved her work, she was happily anticipating retirement. A few months into it, she found herself at loose ends, with no real motivation or focus. Something was missing. And that something, she realized, was a sense of purpose. She enjoyed the freedom of retirement, but needed a reason to eagerly get out of bed in the morning . She needed something that felt meaningful and fulfilling in her life.

Retirement is something many people look forward to, only to find it isn’t what they thought it would be. It’s great to no longer be driven by the alarm clock and schedules. It’s wonderful to pursue fun activities you didn’t have time for before. But most people aren’t truly happy in retirement without a purpose. Life expectancies are much longer than they used to be and a fulfilled life involves more than just filling up time.

Purpose implies making a contribution to the larger whole in some way. It involves using your talents, skills and passions to create an impact in a way you find enjoyable. Not having a sense of purpose can erode self-esteem and affect your own well-being and health.

Whether you found your true calling in your work, put it on hold, or simply never connected with it, retirement actually offers new possibilities to explore.

You may want to give back to the community by volunteering or teaching part time to share the knowledge you have with regard to your former business, hobbies or life lessons. You can also be a mentor or writer to accomplish those goals.

This is also a time when the pace of life has slowed to allow time to ponder the larger, deeper questions of life. Some people connect back with their spiritual beliefs through their church community while others may explore new ideas and restructure their spiritual path. Self growth is an important part of your purpose and can lead to many new avenues in your life.

The idea is to continue to fully engage with life. Now you are free to do it on your own terms.

Here are some questions to ponder to help you get in touch with your purpose:

1. What did I enjoy in my younger years that I’ve put on the back burner?

2. What talents and skills do I enjoy using?

3. What am I passionate about? (What lights me up, makes time disappear?)

4. What causes or social issues do I care about?

5. When do I feel most creative and alive?

6. What motivates me?

7. What are my five top values?

8. What would I regret never having done when I get to the end of my life?

Take your time to contemplate these questions. Write down your thoughts. Then leave them and come back to them later. You may have more to add and new insights may reveal themselves over time.

Then, when you have a direction, what actions will you need to take to manifest this purpose in your life? Do you need help to get started? Do you need to contact an organization in order to join forces? How will you engage with this purpose?

What is one step you can take to get started on your new path of purpose?

Author's Bio: 

Estra Roell is a certified Law of Attraction Life Coach, certified Life Purpose Coach, Advanced PSYCH-K® facilitator and Happiness Generator Facilitator. Estra helps clients get in touch with their passions and purpose and assists them to uncover and remove any blockages or old patterns that may be holding them back from living a life of joy, purpose and abundance. Estra is also a co-author of the books "101 Great Ways to Enhance Your Career" and "How to Create a Rich, Successful and Fulfilling Life." She's the author of the e-book, "4 Keys to Living Your Life Purpose." Visit her website at http://www.americaslifepurposecoach.com/ to receive her free report on "Visioning Your Purpose and Heading Toward it Today.” Join her Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/discoveryourlifepurpose/