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Rediscover your passions

(ran TP, HT editions)

In a society where everyone is supposed to be busy all the time, many people in their 60s and 70s, newly retired or suffering from acute empty-nest syndrome don't know what to do with themselves.

Those bold enough to seek advice are told to "Do what you love!" and they really don't know what that is. How do you find out?

First, remember that for your entire adult life you were never asked to consider the question of what you wanted to do with your life. You had a job, or a family to raise, or maybe both, and you did what you had to do. If you were lucky, you liked it, but you did it because it was your job.

Now, all of a sudden, you can do anything you want. Is it any wonder you're finding all this freedom a little daunting?

If you genuinely don't know what you feel passionate about, and most people don't, rewind your life until you find your passion. You may well have to go back to when you were a child or a young adult. Suspend judgment for the moment and pay attention to what the 10- or 20-year-old you really, really wanted. Did you want to run away and join the circus? Maybe you can't do that, but you could go to clown school and volunteer as a clown at children's hospitals. Did you want to be a movie star? Find a community theater and work with it, in front of or behind the footlights.

Did you hanker to write the Great American Novel? It's not too late to start, and a writing course at the local college may be just the impetus you need.

The hardest part about doing this may be answering the "You're doing what?" questions you will certainly get from your nearest and dearest. Remember two things _ you're old enough to be eccentric, and they are just jealous.

Enjoy your passion!

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