Spend time with family and friends. Fill your calendar with opportunities to hang out with people you care about and enjoy. Reconnect with those you haven’t seen in recent years. Cultivate the relationships that matter to you. Perhaps you would enjoy getting together for a movie, a walk, a drive, a game night, a favorite television show, a shopping spree, a round of golf, a card game, or simply a chat over a cup of coffee.
You’ve been looking forward to retirement over the decades that you have dedicated to working for a living. Now it is here… your retirement. Your time will now be your own. Your days will be filled with whatever you want to do. The question is… what do you want to do with your free time? The answer isn’t always as simple as you might think.
Retirement isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor. For a happy, satisfying retirement, it helps to know yourself well and to understand your own personal makeup. Think about your personality, your likes and dislikes, your dreams and desires, your talents and abilities, your temperament and general outlook, as well as your typical behaviors and pursuits.
If you're the type of person who enjoys spending time alone time, you may want to fill your time very differently than someone who likes to be surrounded by people. If you have some physical limitations, you may not be able to do some of the activities that might be included in someone else’s typical retirement day. So the goal is to put together the right ingredients to create a happy, healthy retirement that is right is right for you. Here are some ideas from a few people who are currently enjoying their own uniquely crafted retirements.
Hit the road. See some new scenery and experience new environments by heading out on the open road. You may want to begin with local routes and landmarks closer to home and then branch out and visit destinations in other areas of the country. Maybe you’ll want to rent or buy an RV or trailer so you can still feel a piece of home wherever you go.
Learn to cook or become a better cook. Even if you have been cooking all your life, there are always new styles of cuisine to learn how to prepare and new recipes to try. If you have never been a whiz in the kitchen, now may be a great time to step up your game. You can probably find a local adult education cooking class that is perfect for whatever goal you might have when it comes to cooking.
Complete tasks you’ve put off. Put together a list of all the things you have not complete that need doing or that you have wanted to do but never had the time. Then tackle them. It might be a few odd jobs around the house. It may be finally finishing the complicated blanket you started crocheting way back when. Or what about that broken piece of pottery you’ve been meaning to glue back together?
Adopt a pet. If you are an animal lover, there are countless ownerless, homeless pets just waiting for someone to give them a loving home. The unconditional love of a pet can add a spark that may be missing from your retirement experience. Caring for a pet provides companionship. It gives you a routine to follow. It fills up your time and your heart. To find a pet that's the right match for you, contact your local animal shelter or veterinarians in the area. You can also do some research online.
Go to school. There’s always more to learn scholastically. Why not take a college class or even set your sights on completing a degree? It is never too late. Many colleges offer programs that allow retirees to attend classes for free. And being a student is NOT the only way to get back in the classroom. Plenty of public schools need volunteers, substitute teachers, or paid teacher’s aides. Contact your local school system to find out what is available.
See the world or at least some of it. Now that you are retired you don’t have to worry about time limitations when it comes to taking a vacation. Visit a distant place you have always wondered about or go for a long cruise and visit many different spots in one trip. Of course, travel can be expensive, but there are a lot of deals available for seniors. If you have physical limitations, always make sure your vacation destinations are well suited to your abilities. And, remember, a long weekend getaway offers a great change of pace too.
Mentor others. If you enjoy sharing your knowledge and skills, becoming a mentor might be something you would enjoy and find rewarding. There are many mentoring programs that match young people just starting their careers with older people with the experience and expertise to help them learn, grow, and advance in their professions. Ask your local librarian about mentoring programs in your area.
Learn something new. Now is the time to expand your interests, knowledge, and talents. Start a new hobby. Master a new language. Get in touch with your inner artist, and start painting, crafting, or woodworking. Get in touch with your inner thespian by taking an acting or singing class and then try out for a local theater production or participate in an "open mike" (mic) night.
Write. Collecting and writing your thoughts can be entertaining and absorbing. Once you start writing, you may find it difficult to stop. Journal writing is very popular with people of all ages. When it comes to a private journal, you get to decide who reads what you have written. If you want to share your writing with other people, you may want to start a blog. Blogs in like an online journal and can be about just about anything, because there will always an audience for just about anything. Who knows… if you really get into the writing experience, you might like the idea of writing a book, perhaps a novel with characters and places you make up, a non-fiction book on a subject that interests you, or a how-to-book that shares a hobby or skill you honed over the years.
Meet new people. Get to know some of the other retirees in your area. There are lots of ways to find people with interests similar to your own. Head down to the local senior center. Join some golfers on a favorite course. Find a nearby book club. Get a membership at a gym that has programs for people in your age group. Join a walking club, gardening club, or any other club that you might enjoy.
Do nothing… that’s right nothing. You have worked long and hard to earn the right to spend some time doing absolutely nothing. You might not want to make a habit of it, but putting your feet up and relaxing once in a while is perfectly okay. In fact, it should be mandatory. Kick back and enjoy a few minutes of not having to accomplish anything. Because, the truth is, you will actually be accomplishing something… you will be rejuvenating your body, mind, and spirit.
Find yourself the perfect part-time job. Some retirees like the idea of still having a foothold in the workplace. It can be nice to have some place you have to be that keeps you busy, helps you feel productive, and gives you an opportunity to socialize with others. It also can be nice to have a little extra money coming in on a regular basis. There are some really great part-time jobs out there that are tailor made for retirees. A position as an usher at a theater or concert hall offers some great perks, like free admission. A museum or zoo can be another fun place to work.