Taking up a new interest or returning to an old one. For many people working full time, bringing up a family and running a home leaves little or no time for hobbies. But once you reach that “special” age there will be so much more time on your hands. Time for you to enjoy your retirement. The children will have (hopefully) left the nest. You may have downsized to a more manageable home. And retirement will leave you with an extra 35(ish) hours a week to play with.
So what will you do with all that time? In my case I plan to sleep a lot. But the novelty will almost certainly wear off in time. So what’s then?
Rather than waiting, now is the perfect time to seek out new life, new civi… ah, sorry, brief segue into Star Trek territory! Anyway … as I was saying … retirement is the perfect time to do the things you always wanted to. Reconnect with your old passions or find new ones to revitalise you after all those years of putting yourself last.
There are countless option available to you. depending on your circumstances. Here are a few examples of things you might want to try out to help you enjoy your retirement.
Staying physically active
Rambling. And, no, I don’t mean the verbal kind! If you’ve always been a keen hiker or climber then only your state of health will limit you. But if you’ve not spent much time in the outdoors and need to acclimatise yourself, then rambling is the way to go. Aside from keeping yourself fit there are a couple of other benefits: it gets you out into nature and it’s sociable. And it’s perfectly acceptable to be a fair weather walker.
Swimming. Everyone knows the benefits here. It is, or can be, a gentle form of exercise that doesn’t put any strain on the joints, making it perfect for the less fit or more arthritic amongst us. A more energetic form is water aerobics – something I hope to try once I retire as I can’t find any evening classes in my area.
Tai Chi. Again it’s a gentle exercise although, done properly, can give an intense workout. It’s not really aerobic exercise but is good for strength and flexibility as well as being just complex enough to give your brain a good work out too. Above all, it’s an ancient martial art. Who wouldn’t want to kick a … ah, take up martial arts as they age?
The University of the 3rd Age (U3A) is a great option. There are branches nationwide offering a huge range of learning opportunities for retired people. The “classes” are run by members and can offer an opportunity both to learn and to teach if you so wish. I have three within easy commuting distance offering all sorts of things including Conversational Italian, Gardening, History Walks, Outings, Scrabble and Sunday Lunch.
If you want to take a more formal approach, the Open University offers the chance to get a degree or just take modules of just about any subject you fancy!
Or simply go to your local library and use it. With public libraries losing funding across the country – if you want to save it them show your local authority that it’s needed! Many libraries offer free internet access, large print and talking books, DVD rental and e-books. Join today and download some books, free of charge, for your holidays. Whether you love to crack open a new book at Christmas or download hundreds (like these or these), now’s the time to start.
Your local college will offer leisure courses on everything from making Xmas cards to welding. Really there’s no time like the present to try something new!
Learn to play a musical instrument – guitar or piano classes are everywhere whether one to one or in a small group. Or, for that matter, singing lessons – why not learn to manage the most complex instrument on the planet – your own voice?
Amateur dramatics are an option you may not have considered. But age isn’t an impediment. I’ve enjoyed being on stage for years and sung beside a dear older man who was hitting 90 the last time he performed! This could be the time to stretch that comfort zone and give it a go. But even if you can’t see yourself on stage there are always groups looking for scenery painters, prompts and programme sellers. It’s great fun and a great way to expand your circle of friends.
And you can always start a blog. Whether it’s just for fun or to earn some pin money, blogging can give you a means of expressing yourself and share your hard earned skills and knowledge. Why not give it a go?
I hope that I’ve given you some ideas on ways to enjoy your new found leisure time. And if you’re not retired yet, then now is the time to do the research and maybe give it a go!
Do you have any other suggestions on how to enjoy your retirement?