Helping you to better navigate life's changes. #LoveChange

On a farm on the edge of the Karoo, I’ve found life’s meaning

On a farm on the edge of the Karoo, I’ve found life’s meaning

The purpose of retirement is to retire with purpose.

"At 60, I was heading into a permanent holiday. I longed for something to break it up and give it meaning."

The purpose of retirement is to retire with purpose

I took a year off when I sold my business at 50, but it was not the same as when I left work into so-called retirement at 60.

Back then, I knew I would go back to work. It was simply a year to recover from burn-out. I just did the things I enjoyed.

When I left work at 60, and finally accepted that I wasn’t going back to work in the traditional sense, there was this big gaping hole in front of me, stretching for the rest of my life. It was calling out to be filled.

But as I searched the internet looking for a job to fill it, the adverts left me feeling exhausted, or realising they were looking for somebody much younger.

Yes, at 60, I had the wisdom and experience, but perhaps I was not as quick off the mark and definitely not as tech-savvy as someone straight out of varsity. And of course, I didn’t come as cheap as a youngster who was eager to gain experience.

That was seven years ago, and I struggled to find the right balance to fill my life. Now that I have found it, it’s wonderful.

It’s not just about keeping busy. The activity needs to be meaningful and relevant, what many people refer to as having a purpose.

Now that I have found a balanced life with some work, some income and plenty of time to do what I love, such as growing my own veggies, hiking, and simply enjoying life, I am able to look back and see what I was missing in those early days.

Purpose and meaning is after all what full-time work gave my life for 40 years.

I never questioned the early rising. I might have resented it on the cold, dark mornings in winter, but I never questioned it. There was the routine followed by the build-up to a well-earned holiday.

I was challenged and had a sense of belonging, and of course, I had a professional identity, initially as an occupational therapist, and then as a business owner.

But at 60, I was heading into a permanent holiday, and I longed for something to break it up and give it meaning.

More frightening was, that holiday had the potential for extending to 30 or more years.

As I said earlier, I have now restored the balance and meaning in my life. I live on a large property on the edge of the Karoo where I am establishing a vegetable garden and have chickens to help me build the soil.

Having grown up on a farm, I always yearned to grow my own fresh produce as my mother did.

I have found a happy medium between some work bringing in a small income, and work in the garden, which is not income driven, but has many other rewards.

I love the fact that I am able to organise my work around my exercise routine, rather than squashing my exercise schedule before or after my work routine.

Much of the work I do is online, so I am home most of the day, which the dogs just love.

Most mornings in winter, I still get up in the cold and dark, but it is because I want to, as I have a packed day ahead.

I certainly never anticipated finding it tough to build a life with purpose, as I have more creative pursuits and hobbies than the average person. But I discovered that deep in my heart I was looking for something more.

This I have found in a couple of small jobs, for which I earn money. Besides the mental stimulation which keeps my brain fit and healthy, the contribution, for which I am rewarded, is the spine in the structure that gives my life purpose and meaning.

Hilary Henderson

Change expert, Hilary Henderson, believes that the big change equals big opportunity.

Related stories

The Change Programme

Are you thinking about making a change? Or trying to make a change? Or dealing with some change that’s happened? Whether you’re getting married or having a baby, moving house or jobs, starting a diet or stopping smoking… the Change Programme is for you.

Start the programme now!

black and white pattern