During your working years, you probably fantasized from time to time about the great things you would be able to do when you retire. But now that you actually have retired, you may find yourself wondering just how you will fill the extra time on your hands. Here are some suggestions:
- Do nothing … for a little while anyway. You’ve spent most of your life having to be somewhere most days of the week and keeping to a set schedule. In many ways, retirement is a permanent vacation in which you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. So before you push yourself to jump right in to new activities, give yourself a chance to take a breath and just be. Sleep in. Wear your pajamas all day if you want to. The early days of retirement are a perfect opportunity to reflect on all that you’ve accomplished and take a much-needed rest from the rigors of the working world. Eventually, you will probably want to incorporate some structure and activity into your life, so take this initial time to start thinking about what you’d like to do in the coming months and years.
- Start a hobby, or cultivate an existing one. Hobbies, by definition, are activities that we pursue outside of our working life – things we are passionate about and enjoy. When holding down a full-time job, most of us wish we had more time for our hobbies. Well now that you’re retired, you have unlimited time to spend on your favorite pastimes. Never had time for a hobby? This is the perfect time to take one up!
- Travel. How many times have you said, “Someday I want to go to ______.”? If you’re an accomplished traveler, now you have the time to visit places you still want to see, or to rediscover the places you’ve enjoyed in the past. If you haven’t traveled much, there’s an endless list of places you can go. And don’t let finances get in your way. Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can take day trips and explore places you’ve never seen that are just a car or bus ride away.
- Learn. You’re never too old to learn something new. Whether it be going to formal classes or workshops or just teaching yourself a new skill based on your own reading and research, this is the perfect opportunity to find out about the things you’ve always been interested in. And thanks to the internet, there is a limitless supply of information that you can find without even leaving your home. Keeping your mind stimulated with new information is key to preserving your memory function and the general health of your brain in the years to come.
- Spend time with your grandkids. Time flies, and your grandchildren will only be little for a short time. Take advantage of this time with them before they become busy with school and extracurricular activities. By cultivating your relationship with them now, you can build lasting memories that they will cherish far into adulthood.
- Get a job. Wait a minute – isn’t the whole point of retiring that you stop working? While that’s true, there are several reasons that you may want to spend at least part of your retirement years “working.” First of all, you have most certainly acquired a number of skills during your working years, and these are skills that you can share with others. There are many websites that let you design and teach online courses on subjects you are skilled in or build a profile of your skills and then compete for paid freelance assignments (see this article). As a “freelancer,” you wouldn’t have to commit to a long-term working schedule – you can work when you feel like it – on your own schedule. Or if you prefer to have somewhat of a set schedule, you can always apply for a part-time job. In addition to keeping your mind stimulated, working in your retirement years is an ideal way to supplement your retirement income.
This blog post has only scratched the surface on the endless array of possibilities for you now that you’re retired. For some more ideas, check out this great article from U.S. News & World Report.