This morning, I watched Pope Benedict XVI as he made his official transition from “work” to “retirement.” Over the past several weeks since he announced his decision to abdicate the papacy, there has been much speculation as to the reasons why. But what struck me most as I watched him say goodbye to his colleagues and take that scenic helicopter ride to his new, temporary home (pictured above), was not his rationale for retirement–it was his plans for retirement.
As it turns out, Pope Benedict will be devoting this next chapter in his life to the pursuit of his passions: books, study, and prayer. I can only imagine how liberating it must feel to know that when he wakes up tomorrow, he will have the freedom to live his life on his own terms–no alarm clocks to set, no places to be, no speeches to write, no audiences to receive.
All I can think of is, “Ahhhhh . . .”
Granted, not many of us will have the opportunity to retire in that manner. Even in retirement we will have bills to pay, obligations to meet, people to take care of, and other responsibilities. Nor will we retire in homes as lavish as Castel Gandolfo. And some of us may not have the luxury of retiring at all.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t devote at least some of our time to pursuing our real passions in our 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond. When was the last time you thought about what you’re really passionate about? If you won the lottery tomorrow and could retire on your own terms, what would those terms be? And how would you spend your time?
It’s never too early–or too late–to start thinking about it. And even if you have no plans to officially “retire,” carving out time to pursue your passions will only enrich every other aspect of your life. It will keep your mind active and engaged, it will improve your physical health, and it will add meaning to your life, regardless of how old you may be.
What are you passionate about? Figuring that out–and pursuing that passion with gusto–can be both life-changing and world-changing. So make the choice–and the time–to pursue your passions. The world you change may just be your own.
Here’s to following our passions–now and always!