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Finding Meaning in Retirement

How Will the Boomer Generation Find Meaning in Retirement?

I recently read Sara Davidson's LEAP!: What Will We Do with the Rest of Our Lives?. The genesis of the book was an exploration of the author's own quest for meaning and substance in her work life as an aging Baby Boomer approaching retirement. The focus expanded to interviews with celebrity Boomers Carly Simon, Tom Hayden, supermodel Iman, Jane Fonda, Tracy Kidder and others. Davidson also interviewed teachers, business people and spiritual leaders.

I was prepared to find this book over-indulgent and self-involved as are so many books about Baby Boomers (and it's my demographic!). But this book was a worthwhile read. Davidson very effectively balances her own journey with the experiences of her interviewees. She explores relationships with aging parents and adult children, serious illness, death and dying, ageism, sexuality, mental health and many important issues facing this generation. I was especially struck by the level of intimacy shared in both her and her subjects' personal revelations.

At times while reading, however, it was hard to relate to people who are so well-off that they have no concept of the realities of serious financial concerns. These are not people who fear outliving their money. The easy access to comfort and security most of these subjects have is also not available to many people of the Boomer generation.

The spiritual aspects of Davidson's quest reminded me of a favorite book, Po Bronson's What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question. I highly recommend this book to people of any age who are exploring their work lives.

In both books, the creative process is an important theme. This spoke to me as a writer and artist. As a therapist, I find it helps patients heal when they begin to explore their creative selves.


  1. Just glanced at this Emotional Well-Being blog - wow! Good stuff. Shame I have no time to read it all in depth. Will do later - But my emotional well being is being severely stressed at the moment so gotta go!
    Watch this space - I will be back!
    Comment from Claire!

  2. Great to hear from you Claire. I'm planning to improve my wellbeing with food and a walk with the dogs.

    Catch you soon

  3. Hi Claire:

    Thanks for your comments. When your life slows down a bit, come back and read us!

    Take care,
    Nancy L.

  4. This subject is very interesting to me. I'll have time to sit down and read all of these books, when I retire.

  5. Hi Rhea:

    Although I categorized this post under "retirement," there is good stuff in both books that is useful now. But I know what you mean about time......

    Nancy L.

  6. Hi
    Interesting post. retirement may be a couple of dozens of years.. ahead of me, however your post gave me something to think about.

    Thank you
    Enhance Life


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