What gives you joy and satisfaction

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Avocations (play, learning, hobbies, sports, travel, entertainment, etc.) enrich your life, connect you with others, help keep you physically and mentally healthy, and soothe the soul. And as we age and, for the most part, loosen our ties to money-making responsibilities, avocations move closer to center stage for us. So rather than just continuing with the pastimes to which we have long accustomed ourselves, we can now expand our repertoire, and multiply the benefits that avocations bring to us.

At the same time, aging eventually threatens our ability to engage in our favorite avocations. Health problems, decline in mental acuity, and a lowering of overall vigor can make some of our favorite activities difficult to pursue. Relocation, death, illness, or incapacity in others we are close to can remove our favorite partners for travel, socializing, competition, or whatever we like to do. Eventually, some of us become shut-ins ourselves, and further lose opportunities for fun.

This is why we endorse gerontologist Gene Cohen’s idea of developing a “social portfolio” – that is, a range of interests, some of which involve others and some of which we can pursue alone, and then within each category, avocations that involve reasonably high mobility and energy, and those that do not.

This way, even if we lose some of our ability to connect with others or to engage in certain activities ourselves, we still have other interests that can keep us alert and interested and ready to get up when each new day comes. So as you expand your interests, consider striving for balance among these four main categories. Or if you are already limited, perhaps you can find ways to expand within the spheres where you are still able.

Avocation relates to:

Topics and sub-topics under Avocation

If you are still able to engage in these activities, don’t let the opportunity pass. You might not be able to do them – or at least to enjoy them with your favorite companions – forever.

Having ways of getting physical exercise by yourself is important, because our friends are not always with us, or bad weather or transportation problems may interrupt our schedules. And there may be some things you just prefer to do alone.

Inspiration for when you’re not in the mood for perspiration.

This may be the most important area to develop interests, because if you live long enough, there is a good chance you will end up spending more time alone, and perhaps not have the strength for high-energy or high-mobility activities. If you are prepared, these can still be good times for you.