An Active Retirement is not just Keeping Busy

From my blog on US News & World

An active retirement is not just keeping busy, but engaging in quality activities that make your life worthwhile. If we attempt to fill our newly found free time with quick distractions rather than quality activities, we may eventually become bored. Here are some of the key ingredients of quality retirement activities to help guide your planning:

[See The 10 Most Difficult Retirement Decisions.]

Find something you are passionate about. If I am going to do something for the next 30 years, I better enjoy what I am doing. I don’t want to do something merely for the sake of doing it. Since retirement is my time to do what I want to do, it is the perfect time to focus on what I am passionate about. Passions differ and can change over time, but you know when you are passionate about something. You want to tell the world all about it, you can’t wait to get back to it, and while you are doing it you could not be happier. Whatever that “it” is for each of us, we need to find it and pursue it.

Find something that challenges you. If an activity is too easy, it will get done too quickly. Rising to meet a challenge engages our capabilities and focuses our attention. Successfully dealing with a challenge gives us a feeling of accomplishment and worth. Retirement can be a time of discovery if we engage in activities that push us a bit.

[See 10 Places to Buy a Retirement Home for Under $100,000.]

Find something that helps others. There is a satisfaction that we can realize by stepping outside of our comfort zone to help someone in need. Heartfelt gratitude expressed for even little things will warm the coldest heart. Some of us are courageous trail blazers who travel to foreign countries to help those in need. Other people just take the time to talk with a homeless person waiting on the curb and listen attentively to their story, empathizing with their situation, and showing that someone cares. Whether it is a little or a lot that you can give, try it. You might like it.

Find something that is long term. If we are fortunate, retirement will be an extended proposition lasting many years. It is advantageous if retirement activities are not quickly completed and require time and diligence. Life-long learning and progression are ingredients that keep us sharp and engaged. Learning a new language is a never ending journey and taking up a musical instrument will give you something to practice indefinitely if you are patient and persistent. I think that something becomes long term when it is more about the journey than arriving at the destination.

[See One Move That Could Boost Your Retirement Security.]

I am learning that avoiding boredom in retirement cannot be accomplished by engaging in an unlimited quantity of activities. Rather, a satisfying retirement will be determined by the quality of the activities I choose.

Dave Bernard is the author of Are You Just Existing and Calling it a Life?, which offers guidelines to discover your personal passion and live a life of purpose. Not yet retired, Dave has begun his due diligence to plan for a fulfilling retirement. With a focus on the non-financial aspects of retiring, he shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement–Only the Beginning.

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About LoveBeingRetired

Dave Bernard is a California born and raised author and blogger with an extensive 30 year career in Silicon Valley. He has written more than 300 blogs for US News & World On Retirement and his personal blog Retirement – Only the Beginning. He has authored three books: "Are you just existing and calling it a life?"; "I want to retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be"; and " Navigating the Retirement Jungle". Dave was also a contributing writer for the books 65 Things to do when you Retire (“Positive Aging – Old is the New Young”) as well as 65 Things to do when you Retire – TRAVEL (“Travel to Discover your Family Heritage”). He lives in sunny California with his wife, his Boston Terrier "Frank" and a passion for the San Jose Sharks.

2 thoughts on “An Active Retirement is not just Keeping Busy

  1. Great ideas, Dave. I think you’re right that we need to constantly challenge ourselves. I know my memory isn’t what it used to be so those challenges really help mentally too. I also study tai chi, which constantly challenges me and also is great for stress and exercise.

    I work part time doing something I’m passionate about (writing) and I can’t see ever NOT doing it. As long as my fingers work, I can write and I look forward to many more years of it.

    My husband is retiring next spring and he looks forward to pursuing several of his hobbies that he has no time for now, like woodworking and gardening.

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