So after last week’s post on faith in your plan, I thought I would branch out a bit and ask: is religion or spirituality required for retirement? Do you need something in your life to provide meaning to be happy in retirement? Or is it just another activity or hobby?
To be absolutely honest here I’m not sure if it is required or not. I have noticed a fair number of people that have retired do take a more active interest in their religion or spirituality. I suspect is is driven partly by the loss of identity that follows leaving your job. In a world that doesn’t make sense people often reach out to faith to help fill the void. Also I suspect that having that extra time to think about your place in the world does provides an opportunity to explore your faith that typically doesn’t occur as much during a busy working life. Religion or spirituality can often provide feelings of belonging, understanding and reflection. These feelings are critical to having a overall sense of happiness. So on that hand religion or spirituality does help a number of people find happiness in retirement.
Yet on the other hand I’m not sure if people need it. Could that void of meaning be filled with other activities or goals that make you feel valued and provide meaning in your life? It is possible. Working with kids, or the disadvantaged often provide feelings of meaning and accomplishment. Exploring philosophy in general is a stimulating mental exercise that does not require God to be meaningful. Also your identity doesn’t have to flow from your faith. It is possible to define yourself without it.
In the end I believe that the requirement of religion or spirituality in retirement depends wholly dependent on you. Some people would find faith a integral part of their life prior and after retirement, while others don’t need it at all. Then there is a large grey area between the two extremes, where there is room for people to change and perhaps find some happiness doing it. I personally think I have room to grow as person so I’m leaving some room for myself to explore. Perhaps I’ve even find some happiness.
So do you need religion or spirituality in your retirement plan? Or are you not sure?
[By the way, I’m basically done on faith tangent for now. Blame a brainstorming session where I had a few post ideas related to it. So if you’ve been feeling uncomfortable you can relax, I’m not turning this into a religious/money blog.]