A pretty basic question with a not so simple answer. Most people when contemplating retirement more often than not list the following as the things they look most forward to:
- Spend more time with family and friends
- Spend more time traveling
- Spend more time on leisure activities such as golf.
I have heard this list or something similar many times and my response is always, “Let’s assume that you spend a full month on each of these activities, what are you going to do for the other nine months?” Keep in mind that if you are retiring from a full-time job you are freeing up 2,000 or more hours each year. With retirements now lasting 20 to 30 years or longer it is more important then ever to plan ahead.
Now that work will no longer dominate your time it is up to you to fill your days with creative endeavours. The good news is that your list of activities is only limited by your imagination. View retirement as a time to explore endless opportunities…a time to try on new activities for size. If they are a good fit make room for them in your life and if not have another activity at the ready to try.
Here is a list of 20 post-retirement activities to get you started:
- Learn a new language – and then visit a country where you can put your newly acquired language skills to use.
- Travel near or far – consider taking the time to research the history and culture of your planned destination. Traveling internationally is definitely appealing, but also consider all the amazing places to explore in your own city and country.
- Become a life long learner – Go back to school and take classes purely for interest sake or be like my mother and father who both received under graduate degrees after retirement.
- Learn or rediscover a musical instrument – consider joining or putting together a band.
- Take up a new hobby – become an accomplished photographer to further enhance your travel experience. The list of potential hobbies is nearly endless so do some research.
- Plant and tend a garden (flower or vegetable) – besides being enjoyable gardening provides many health benefits (both mental and physical).
- Volunteer – there are literally 100’s of non-profit organizations that could utilize your skills. Don’t forget to consider overseas opportunities.
- Buy or rent an RV and travel from coast to coast – what better way to truly discover America. Consider visiting every national park or attending a ball game at every major league stadium.
- Learn to become an accomplished cook – work your way through a favourite cookbook or start a dinner club.
- Learn to play bridge, chess or other social games
- Find a part-time job – see it as an opportunity to stay socially engaged and make some additional income.
- Start your own business – after spending 30+ years making a living perhaps retirement will provide you the opportunity to do work that you are truly passionate about.
- Take up a new sport or reacquaint yourself with a sport from your youth – there are plenty of master level sports leagues worth exploring.
- Learn to ballroom dance – a great way to stay in shape, spend quality time with your partner and make an impression at your next wedding reception.
- Start a blog or write a book – it has never been easier to get published or create an on-line following.
- Spend more time with friends and family – take the time to visit those that live in other areas of the country.
- Get in the best shape of your life – after all lack of time is no longer an issue.
- Catch up on your reading – work your way through a great book list.
- Remodel your home – either to make it more livable or to ultimately increase it’s market value if downsizing is in your future.
- Attend a camp for adults – do a search for camps in your area. There are literally camps for almost anything (food & wine, music, sports, writing, arts & crafts, adventure, dance and theatre,etc.).
One of the keys to a healthy and happy retirement is to stay engaged. Use the above list to jump-start your planning. What are you waiting for!