How To Find Passion In Retirement

 Special contribution by Françoise Duranleau

Nearly seven years ago I retired at age 60. I always enjoyed teaching. However dealing with the administrators had become unbearable because of recent changes in the school board and an all-female administration. I stopped teaching in the middle of the school year and I had been counting the days until my 60th birthday and retirement.

Ten years before retirement I developed a new hobby and passion – mineralogy. It involved going out on weekly excursions in mines and quarries to collect crystallized minerals. These minerals then needed to be cleaned, trimmed, sorted and identified with the naked eye or under the microscope. In order to gain access to collecting sites and information about all the activities involved in mineralogy, I joined a mineral club. A few years later I became a member of two other clubs. This allowed me to meet hundreds of people from all walks of life. I became good friends with mine workers and experts in mineralogy who wrote scientific articles on the subject. 

To pursue my passion I travelled to Nova Scotia where I became a guide to other Quebecers who wanted to look for minerals on the beaches of the Bay of Fundy. I camped there for periods extending up to three months. I also travelled to Ontario, New York, California, Texas, Maine, New Hampshire, Florida and Arizona, always with the purpose of finding minerals. I contacted various mineral clubs in those places and collected in mines and quarries with members of the local mineral clubs. I also visited several museums with extensive mineral collections. 

My age has not yet become a problem in pursuing this activity I walk for long distances and carry considerable weight in backpacks. Now I use a walking stick on the rocky beaches of the Bay of Fundy. Before retiring, I felt that my new hobby had completely taken over my life and that my work was getting in the way. Therefore I had two reasons to look forward to retirement:  getting away from a disagreeable work environment and devoting my new free time to mineralogy.

I have always been very adventurous. This hobby of mine has opened new avenues and brought new friends that share my passion. It has opened doors to a whole new field of knowledge which was foreign to me. I subscribe to two magazines on the subject and I trade information and specimens with friends as far away as Australia. It is a universal hobby that can provide opportunities for establishing enduring relationships with people all over the world especially if one is willing to make the new contacts. It also creates bridges between age groups where children can be enticed by old collectors to embrace this hobby which will keep them ‘physically active’ and ‘intellectually stimulated’. These two points are also very important as you reach the age of retirement. Mineralogy has kept me away from the couch and rocking chair. It has also helped to keep my mind active by forcing me to remember minerals and localities.

In spite of the uncertain economy and the financial challenges of surviving on a reduced income I plan to pursue this hobby as long as my legs will carry me. I can control the difficulties and will tackle only what I am able to do. I remember seeing in the Mont Saint-Hilaire quarry very old collectors using canes to get around, but they still carried the fire in them for mineralogy. Only a very serious illness stops us. In any case, once you have reached the age of retirement, you begin to lose family and friends usually to illnesses. It makes you realize that every day is precious and should be enjoyed as if there was no tomorrow. Mineralogy has allowed me to do just that.

Passions are the motor of one’s life at any age and if you have none, you are in trouble even before retirement. Your passion gives shape and colour to your life. Before retirement, take stock of your passions and have the courage and audacity to pursue one or more with more vigour than before. It can guarantee your physical and mental health.

For those of you who are retired or are contemplating retirement I will leave you with this inspiring quote:

“Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times” – Anon

Françoise is on a roadcut looking for tourmaline in San Diego County, California east of Escondido.

À bientôt…..
Françoise Duranleau, Québec

About Golden Wave Movement Canada

The Golden Wave Movement is a made up of engaged individuals who have serious concerns about the increasing challenges retirees surviving on modest pension incomes face nowadays. While our main purpose is to raise awareness of the financial difficulties faced by this vulnerable group of citizens, we also intend to raise awareness regarding challenges related to their physical, emotional and psychological well-being and how to enjoy their golden years.
This entry was posted in Baby boomers, Elder population, Glauberite, Hobbies, Mineralogy, Mont Saint-Hilaire, Pensioners, Retirement, Retirement hobbies, Retirement planning, Seniors demographic, Seniors' health, Tourmaline and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to How To Find Passion In Retirement

  1. Cecile says:

    I very much enjoyed reading how this lady is spending her ‘golden years’. This account of how she approached her retirement was a delight to read. I can relate to the difficult work environment and am so looking forward to leaving the workforce and having a satisfying retirement. I hope to grow a similar passion I have been involved in for a couple of years … writing short stories based on a travelog I keep of my travels. Hope they will become bestsellers… yes, I can hope. 🙂 She obviously is a good planner and has such spirit. This period of her life must be a delightful journey for her. Enjoy this passion of yours, keep good health and carry on with this exciting passion for a long time to come. GOOD LUCK TO YOU!


  2. Marina Souranis says:

    Nov. 29, 2010

    Wow what a lucky lady. Actually I realize it’s not luck but effort on her part. I think she is lucky because she has developed a passion for a hobby that keeps her busy and stimulated. I am not quite ready for retirement being at the in between stages but it’s inspiring to read about what could be. It was good to read Francoise’ story because I just know I will find my groove soon too. To the Francoises and Doloreses (another passionate lady I know) of this world may they keep inspiring us.


  3. Don says:

    Imagine having mineralogy as a retirement hobby! BRAVO for this plucky lady!!! Solid planning of how to spend your retirement years is a must nowadays. People are living longer and longer. If you don’t have a plan for your financial and emotional wellbeing you could become a recluse, develop all kinds of ailments or heaven forbid, end up having to depend on a soup kitchen. Include one or two interesting hobbies is an important part of retirement planning. Keeping active and cherishing family and good friends will also nourish you and keep you going at this time.


  4. Vanessa says:

    Wow! What a delightful and inspiring story for us retirees. Her ‘passion’ for mineralogy is clearly the motor of her life, as she puts itl! Sometimes family relationships or friendships don’t enhance your life during retirement and that can leave a big void in your life particularly if have no hobbies or interesting activities. We retirees can have fulfillment at this stage of life if we engage in activities that make us feel it is good to be alive. Ongoing volunteering or charity work can also bring us fulfillment. Having taught for over 36 years I decided to continue wth that activity. So I have been volunteering at the local library for couple of years helping kids who are struggling with English and Math. My reward is when I see the smiles on kids’ faces as they proudly show me good marks from their tests and exams. I get so much satisfaction from this volunteer work and feel good that I can still make a contribution to society.


  5. AnnaS says:

    Mineralogy is a fascinating discipline and a great hobby whether you are retired or not. After reading this article I did more research to find out why anyone would become immersed in this as a hobby and not a career. This area of science has great value in that various minerals benefit us in areas of developing various materials for the manufacturing and building industries, fertilizers for agriculture, not to mention the attraction we humans have for precious metals as gold and silver etc. As far as I can tell this hobby has to do with the satisfaction of acquiring and sharing knowledge with those who are also into mineralogy. Definitely is a good hobby for retirees who want to enhance their brain power.


  6. V.Lukasik says:

    This was such an inspiration for me. It is evidence that a strong sense of purpose and commitment can contribute to a life of your choice whether or not you are preparing to retire. Oftentimes we can’t control everything in our lives but there are things we can control. So many younger people are living a bubble and barely think about the future. Alas, how many of us realize the importance hobbies can play until late in life. We can have control of retirement years if we put plans in place well before leaving the workforce. That can be done even if you have financial challenges – just lower your expectations and embrace a simpler lifestyle. While it helps to be financially secure you also need to be in a good place emotionally. We are living longer and need to commit to a long-term hobby we truly enjoy and keep focussed on that. We retirees have to find something useful and creative to do with our time. If not, you can become a nuisance to family, friends and anyone you encounter. Retirees who don’t prepare for this transition have all kinds of health problems.


  7. C.Martineau says:

    I am retired now and my husband and I are managing on modest pensions. We have no debts as my husband and I were realistic in expectations as we prepared well in advance for retirement. I had this dream of finally completing my unfinished Bachelors degree and that is now my passion. I am enjoying interacting with younger students and expanding my knowledge. I am looking forward to eventually doing my Masters by the time I get to the grand age of 70 years. I do have friends who are in difficulties because they have debts and they are not in a good place in their head in their golden years. Some never had a real hobby in their life and are at a loss how to spend their time. There are other friends engaged in lots of activities but get involved in everything that comes their way but are still at a loss how to spend their time. Those preparing for retirement should learn a lesson from your terrific article and get involved in a hobby or activity that awakens a passion at this time of life. We also need to look at something beyond the material to something more spiritual. I will definitely share this article with my friends.


  8. Evelyn says:

    Françoise has been a friend of mine for over fifty years. She was always a perfectionist and undertook to seek many adventures of all types without ever turning back. It has been delightful to see her evolve in the world of mineralogy. When she first started to speak of her rocks, one could not help but just smile. Over the years, this hobby of hers has become a true passion and now when she speaks of her rocks cum minerals it gives you goose bumps. Make it a point to visit her display at the next Montreal Mineral Show. You will not be disappointed.


  9. Dolores Ianthe says:

    “None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm” ~Henry David Thoreau

    There are numerous opportunities for creative growth in the lives of senior citizens. Francoise is a fantastic example of how to live passionately in the autumn of our lives. She is the epitome of enthusiasm. I have been fortunate enough to see her at work for many years. With extraordinary intensity, she single-mindedly pursues what she loves – her “rocks”. She has widened her creative channels in a positive way and is a great inspiration for those who are approaching their twlight years. Her life is an embodiment of the belief that it is never too late to follow your passion.

    She does not focus on physicality. Nothing keeps her back, she is extremely enthusiastic about minerals and rocks and travels far and wide for them. This gives her life an excitement and deep joy that will carry her through her later years.


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