Message from the executive director: Finding Purpose in Retirement

June 04, 2024
Professional headshot of Porter Wilson

3-minute read

Part of our mission at ERS is to enhance the lives of our members. Whether that means a rewarding career or a fulfilling retirement, we like to think we’re helping you live the life you want. Relaxation is important, and you’ve certainly earned it, but retirement shouldn’t feel directionless. It’s important to continue to grow in new ways. Finding or maintaining purpose in retirement can help you lead a happy and healthy life.

The Texas Employees Group Benefits Program (GBP) offers many resources to help you maintain a healthy mental and physical well-being. Take a glance at the ERS Wellness Resources. The site offers a variety of tools for all retirees to help you keep healthy in your retirement.

Beyond wellness activities, having a reason to get out of bed is important. Some retirees throw themselves into family life, looking after grandkids or planning festive gatherings. Others might find new hobbies or more fully immerse themselves in lifelong passions. Still others return to work for the state or begin a second career. These are all great ways to grow and enjoy your retired years.

Volunteering is another option that can not only enhance your life, but also improve the world around you. According to the Health and Retirement Study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, volunteerism has proven to give people a stronger sense of purpose in life. Study participants over age 50 who volunteered as little as two hours a week over four years had a more positive outlook on life and became healthier than people didn’t volunteer at all. The great thing about the State of Texas is there are many opportunities to give back in a variety of ways.

Retiree leading children's outdoor group

If you’ve never volunteered before, you can always start this summer as part of United Way’s Day of Action. On June 21, the nonprofit organization is encouraging people all around the world to give back to their communities in a variety of ways. You can look for specific activities in your community, like food drives, tutoring and much more. 

State agencies also offer a wealth of volunteer opportunities, whether you want to spend more time outdoors (with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department), brighten the life of a foster child (with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission or Department of Family and Protective Services) or create “talking books” for people with reading disabilities (with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission).

Organizations like AARP and the Red Cross need and encourage volunteers in everything from reading to children to helping people file their taxes. The Veterans Administration also offers programs like The Compassionate Contact Corps, in which volunteers provide “socialization and companionship” over the phone to socially isolated veterans. Many people find volunteer opportunities in their churches and faith communities.

All these initiatives are a wonderful way to continue your serve to your fellow Texans and find deeper meaning in your own life.

Volunteerism. Family. Hobbies. Physical activity. Paid work. No matter how you choose to spend your retirement, I encourage you to do things that give you purpose and help keep you healthy in body, mind and spirit. You performed important work for the state and earned your retirement. You now have every reason—and many opportunities—to make the most of your life after work.


Porter Wilson.