Finding Meaning as an Idle Warrior:
7 Ways to Embrace Change

An idle warrior is a retired professional or subject matter expert who has not yet found his or her niche. College professors, lawyers, doctors, small business owners, healthcare workers, even journeyman electricians. They have devoted lifetimes of care and practice to their skills to such an extent they become expert warriors in their field. But a retirement or job loss prompted a change. For some that’s a dream come true. But for many more, they feel like they are not quite done. The idle warrior is that person not yet done with life. Golf, gardening, and grandchildren may welcome diversions, but the idle warrior feels he or she still has more to give.

For many idle warriors, retirement can feel like there's still unfinished business or untapped potential. If you find yourself in this position, yearning for purpose and meaning, here are seven ways to move from an idle warrior to an ideal one.

1. Kick Your Success Addiction: Shift your focus from chasing professional achievements to finding fulfillment outside of traditional notions of success. Explore activities that bring you joy. Allow yourself to contribute to the community in meaningful ways.

2. Turn Your Work into a Passion: Identify aspects of your previous profession or expertise that truly sparked your enthusiasm. Find ways to transform your knowledge and skills into a passionate pursuit. Consider mentoring, consulting, or teaching others in a non-professional setting.

3. Make Your Weakness into a Passion: Challenge yourself by delving into areas that you may have considered weaknesses or areas for growth during your career. Embrace the opportunity to learn and develop new skills, whether it's through taking up a hobby, pursuing artistic endeavors, or exploring subjects of personal interest.

4. Find Your Second Curve: Recognize that retirement is not the end of the road. It's a chance for a new beginning. Embrace the concept of the "second curve" by exploring alternative paths or reinventing yourself in a different field or area of interest. Embrace lifelong learning and seize opportunities to grow and evolve.

5. Use Things. Love People. Worship the Divine: Shift your focus from material possessions to meaningful relationships and experiences. Invest your time and energy in nurturing connections with loved ones. Engaging in community activities. Explore your spirituality. Seek fulfillment in deeper connections rather than material accumulation.

6. Embrace Volunteering and Philanthropy: Channel your expertise and skills towards giving back to society. Consider volunteering your time and knowledge to organizations or causes that align with your values. Engage in philanthropic endeavors. Make a positive impact. Leave a lasting legacy.

7. Embrace Self-Discovery and Wellness: Retirement offers an opportunity for self-reflection and self-care. Take time to explore your passions, hobbies, and personal interests you put on hold during your professional career. Prioritize self-care activities that promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

An idle warrior need not be finished with life. Embrace this new chapter as an opportunity for personal growth, self-discovery, and making a positive impact. By pursuing your passions, connecting with others, and embracing new experiences, you can find renewed meaning and fulfillment in retirement. Embrace the journey and discover the endless possibilities that await you.

Brooks, A. C. (2022). From Strength to Strength (1st ed.). New York. Portfolio/Penguin.