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I am 61 and have lost a passion for life. How do I find it at this stage of life?

Passion is missing in most areas of life. My career has been mediocre at best. I am interested in how to start the journey to find more self-fulfillment in all areas of life. I feel that my age is a huge hinderance at trying to start this journey.

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    Oct 6 2013: Ah, yes, I remember when I was in my eary sixties struggling with the mid-life angst of goals not met and ever elusive dreams. That was years ago. That self-conscious woe weighed heavily on me and really produced no benefit. I knew it was not the best choice just as you seem to have realized. Enjoy your treasured memories but let that be the extent of looking back in time, don't dwell in the past. Age is no hindrance. The only hindrance is pessimism and negativity. You have stimulated the hearts and minds of many people with the simple act of posting on TED. Seek to know God and do not be detoured. Smile at folks. Greet people. Care about others. Help where you can with your time, money, and life experience. New days and first steps Clifford. You can do it.
  • Oct 6 2013: 'It may be that when we no longer know which way to go that we have come to our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.'
    -Wendell Berry

    Seek yourself earnestly.
  • Oct 5 2013: I am 88 years old. So,if you are looking for the passion for life, you still should have 27 or more years to find it according to my standard. The important question here is what is your view of the passion for life. Let me tell you what is mine. I have always been happy and content in what I have, and also on what I have done for my life. I have never lost THIS PASSION FOR LIFE before or anticipated to lose it in the future.
    Let's look at the condition of happiness and content. A person can be happy even if he is a poor beggar. On the other hand, a person like Michael Jackson could be unhappy or even miserable though he enjoys high fame and lot of money. Sometimes, a person has never had money and no accomplishment to speak of has been happily lived to their very old age. In contrast, many who committed suicide, after they lose their high life style, only because they lost their wealth and fame and just lost their "passion for life" because of it. Such examples are not rare, but happened quite frequently.
    The "passion for life" is always derived from one's will power and his perseverance., not from some fantasy dreams. There you have it! Either you should modify your style of passion, or hang onto it dearly and try to avoid to be drowned in it.
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      Oct 6 2013: Dear Bart....I LOVE your standard!!! I have also always had a passion for life, and I do not intend to ever give it up. I will have passion in my heart while taking my last breath. For me, passion, which I believe we choose to have.....or not..... has always been stimulated with curiosity and intent to learn, grow and evolve in this life adventure:>)
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    Oct 6 2013: Clifford, I am in my 70s ... and that is just a number. Great quote ... A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. We, at TED, know nothing about you ... what works for us may not be for you. Your statement sound like a line from Its A Wonderful Life ... well I'm gonna act like Clarence the angle. Everyday someone has evaluated you, sought advice, looked up to you in some manner ... you may not have seen it ... but it happens.

    I coach three sports ... I love it. We are always looking for volunteers. Read to kids at school or the library, join big brothers ... be a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) ... sky dive ... scuba dive ... go to your local college and get a list of what they offer and start taking classes ... join a church ....

    One thing that helps me is exercise ... I sit on my butt I feel tired and get grumpy ... join a gym ... buy a bike .... get rid of the old "poor me Clifford and become the "I want to be like that guy" Clifford.

    Look into the mirror ... that is who you are. Get to know HIM. Begin to like HIM. When you start liking yourself a whole new world will open up to you.

    Put a sign over your door that says .. RETURN WITH HONOR. Let honor .. dignity .. and respect be your guides.

    You want to share or ask questions e-mail me through TED ...

    There is no "Old" Clarance .. today is the first day of the rest of your life ... get out there ...


    I wish you well Bob.
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    Simon K

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    Oct 6 2013: I would like to advise you to find new hobbies or anything you can do in your daily routine. It may vitalize you and you can be passionate not only in your new work, but also in your career and anything you have done before. Although I have much shorter experience of life than you, I think what I mentioned above is the key. I hope you find passion in your life again!
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    Oct 6 2013: FWIW I think the key is interest and goals.

    If you don't have any interests try changing your mind and deciding to be interested. Purpose towards goals are the fuel.
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      Oct 6 2013: Dear Pat.....I agree, and also add curiosity and intent to learn, which for me, is all intertwined with interests and goals.

      Interested= interesting=interested=interesting......it's a wonderful cycle:>)

      "Changing your mind" reminds me of a lovely friend, who died a couple years ago at age 92. She always used to say, if you don't like what you are doing, or it's not working out well for you, "alter your mind"!
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    Oct 12 2013: Clifford... all my life I followed something that was dear to my heart... path of pure spirituality that directly led to God Almighty! No matter what the hardships... my goal of life always was fixed. When we had a goal in life... journey was half covered! No matter what I did or indulged in daily life... behind every action lay my search for God.

    Following my passion... I most of time lost track of time! In the earlier years when I asked my mother for dinner... she said, it was already morning and the breakfast was ready! In my spiritual journey, I remember searching for God Almighty for as long as 72 hours, without having any sleep! Within the core of my heart, I totally believed in God Almighty and myself!

    Age was never a bar for pursuing a passion. However, it was path of absolute truthfulness that always came to my rescue! Ever since six years of age... I have always been truthful in my life. So much so that if God Almighty came disguised and asked me to change my path... I would have not! By remaining truthful all the time... I could hear the sweet small inner voice of my soul atman, the spirit within that always guided me on the right path.

    It is prompted by the voice of my soul atman... I finally cleared all hurdles of spiritual journey to reach God in the wee hours of third of August 1993 at 37 years of age. Remaining wherever we are... we must form a definite goal in life based on our passion! Putting all eggs in one basket... we must pursue this passion of life wholeheartedly. Nothing in world could stop us from being successful in something that was truly dear to our heart. One essay which made a difference in lives of many “Truce with my Inner Self" - http://www.godrealized.org/truce_with_my_inner_self.html
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    Oct 8 2013: When I've lost something it often happens that my wife knows where it's at.
  • Oct 7 2013: Looks like the good group from TED conversations has motivation well under control from what i read below. Perhaps I can offer some ideas:

    1) Get the course offering list from a local community college, university, high school adult education program, recreation center, and any similar local institution of learning. Look through them all. Find several classes that interest you not because of a degree, but because they seem like fun. Give them a try!

    2) Find ways to volunteer in ways that you interest you. perhaps it is Habitat for Humanity, perhaps some aspect of the United Way, perhaps Scouting, perhaps some fraternal organization. Connect with people by giving back some of what you have learned in your 61 years. Make your pursuit of excellence the quality in which you help other people.

    3) Pick up a new hobby. Learn to golf, bowl, ballroom dance, or similar athletic endeavor. Getting out and moving around such that you feel better about your health. Swim, jog, bike, do thinks that allow your body to stay toned and in shape for the rest of your pursuit of passion.

    4) Make a list of places you would like to visit, local, national and worldwide. Prioritize them, then look for opportunities to visit these places. Perhaps a church, family member, fraternal organization, or travel club of some kind can provide you some company.

    5) Check into your genealogy. Connect with the older members of your family and get their stories and record them. See if you can quilt together your family to make new connections.

    There are a few ideas, perhaps they may inspire others to provide a few more.

    Good luck!
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    Oct 7 2013: Find many targets and shoot at them all. Don't limit yourself to only one of them as your favorite. Sometimes after the learning curve enjoyment excels rapidly and this can be repeated in some activities you may choose to do. Know your virtues (strong points) and try putting them to use in more than one way. I don't know, that's just me :)
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    Oct 7 2013: it's always hard to give for a man has more experiences than you had in your life if only it's worthy ;if we look by eyes of truth will surely brings to us the wondering about the face of the death and will surely change some ideas about the strong creature we were into weak mistaken creature we're ,it's become a question of saving the honor of our lives now ,only the goodness,pardon and love we're can give the satisfaction ,because the riches and the power we have can not honoring our lives at end.
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    Oct 6 2013: Clifford, I hope you don't mind me asking a few questions.

    How do you measure success in other people? What are the 'markers' of their success?

    You say that passion is missing in MOST areas of your life. Does that mean that there are other areas where you DO find passion? What are those areas?

    You state that your age is a huge hinderance to self-fulfillment. Does that hinderance originate internally or externally for you?
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    Oct 6 2013: I am just a few years behind you and struggle with similar issues. I don't have the answer you're looking for but here are some thoughts :
    - Are you sure we are still supposed to have passion at this stage in life? Could it be that we have unrealistic expectations from life and from our selfs? Maybe our search for passion and fulfillment at this age it's just a sign of how us humans are trying to adapt to the increase in longevity... triying to find out what to do with this last chapter of our lives. Isn't it normal to go trough life stages? Isn't passion usually associated with being young, having dreams, having your life ahead of you?
    -Do you have in your life the things that give people the feeling of fulfillment and reasons to be passionate about? I mean someone to care for and to care for you, social support, a fulfilling job, a creative side that gives you the 'flow'(see:Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness). I know all the positive psychology theories tell you to find happiness within, but honestly if you are missing the essential ingredients for feeling fulfilled in life you are just beating around the bushes. You have to identify the real issue.
    - If you search hard enough you might find something special in your life that can give you that sens of fulfillment and flow, at least temporary...good moments: looking at your kids or grand kids, feeding and watching the birds, finding something or someone that YOU can help and make a difference for, dance, run, take pictures of sunsets.... But for me the big question is: why do we need to make an effort, to make a point of working towards this feeling of well being and self fulfillment? Doesn't it mean we are fooling ourselfs? Shouldn't this come to us naturally if it was real? Seems to me that most of the people I met that say they are happy, they make a point of being happy and they say it is a choice... and I have really hard time seeing things the same way
  • Oct 6 2013: Imagine you are a child. Tell yourself you know nothing (it's closer to the truth than most of us care to imagine). What are your first experiences of nature? Go out, find them again and wonder anew.
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    Oct 6 2013: Hello Clifford,
    I am just a few years younger than you, and I can assure you that age is absolutely no hindrance whatsoever in starting the journey towards a more fulfilling experience of life.
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    Oct 6 2013: Dear Clifford,
    Passion is missing in most areas of your life? Career mediocre at best? How about looking in yourself for passion, rather than expecting external elements to give you passion? I do not experience age as a hindrance for passion.

    What makes your heart sing? What gives you joy? What are your talents and skills that might be shared with others? Every journey starts with a single step, and that single step for you, may mean to let go of the ideas that age is a hindrance, and passion is missing. It may be right there....in your "self".....waiting to be recognized and stimulated. For me, passion springs from curiosity and intent to learn:>)

    BTW Clifford.....welcome to TED conversations! There are lots of passionate people here, and perhaps you will experience the wonderful energy of passion while participating:>)
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    Oct 6 2013: .

    Quit invalid (harmful) happiness,
    and you will regain the passion to live for keeping our DNA alive.
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    R H 30+

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    Oct 6 2013: Everything seems futile. The world seems for the young. It's difficult to meet new people because they've all got lives already, and/or they're so miserable you don't want anything to do with them anyway. I once drew a time-line. It's still up in my office. Birth - 0, Growth - 15, Adulthood - 100. In between G and A I put what age I began working, how many years I've worked so far, how old I am now, and how many years I think I've got left (I put 85 with a ? to 100). I figured I'm a little more than half way. Then I read stories of famous people that became famous (and/or rich) after 50. There's hundreds. Because of our modern living standard we're given another life after our 'first' one. Get out. Try and fail. Don't care what others think. It's your life. Only you have to live it. What moved you in the past? Helping people? Go and volunteer. Making money? Do something profitable. One of my mantra's is: If you want to be interesting, be interested. Hope that helps in some way, and all the best.
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    Oct 6 2013: Hello,Clifford Grover
    I'd like to advise you to think you're always 25 and try more social activities with other people.
    If you have time and money, traveling around the world may bring you some passion, I think.:)
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    Oct 5 2013: Hello Clifford,
    I started a conversation on a similar theme, which ended only a few days' ago. It was a debate under the title:
    "Is everyone meant to have a “singular passion-in-life”, or is it also O.K to live life doing a bit of this and a bit of that?".
    There were some really interesting and helpful comments made. You might like to read it. It's on page 3 as a "closed conversation".
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    Oct 5 2013: Clifford, 61 is not old if you are in good health. You haven't said anything about what that you have done gives you great joy. You might consider that question and then organize your use of time to do more of those things.