How to Spice Up Your Retirement

In retirement, each new day offers an opportunity to do what we want to be doing as opposed to what we have to do or should be doing. This freedom of choice is our hard-earned and well-deserved reward after decades of working.

However, for some people it can be challenging to find interesting and exciting activities to fill the hours and days. Sure we can keep busy for periods of time pursuing hobbies, projects, and to-do lists, but retirement is a long-term proposal. Many retirees will have 20 to 30 years in which they must entertain and occupy themselves. Without something significant and worthwhile to do, that can be a daunting period of time to fill. If you don’t have a willingness to try something new or step outside of your comfort zone, you risk missing a lot.

A reader recently described her frustration now that her kids are grown and have lives of their own that she is not a very big part of. Her days have become a routine of getting up, heading to work, coming home to walk the dogs, and then repeating the next day. Without challenges or something new to look forward to, she is bored, alone, and fears continuing down this all-too-familiar path until old age creeps in and her health begins to fail.

To successfully embrace retirement you cannot just sit on the sidelines and wait for life to happen. You don’t want to just exist or accept what comes your way. Instead, reach out and grab for all you can. Each day offers a once in a lifetime chance to make the most of your time:

Is there something that intrigues you but also slightly scares you? Stepping out of your comfort zone can open you up to a world of new experiences. I personally will never be a bungee jumper, but I am working on dealing with a lifelong fear of heights. Rather than cower at the back of a cable car on its way up the Swiss mountains, I force myself to the edge to look down and the resulting panoramic view is spectacular. My son has a similar affliction, but on a recent trip to Belize he climbed to the top of a steep pyramid. Although he was scared, he knew he would never have this opportunity again and went for it. I am not talking about endangering your life. Just try to not limit your options. A little adrenaline can make you feel alive. And if you don’t like it, just don’t do it again.

See each day as a gift. We will only live this day one time. We cannot backtrack or rewind a single moment. It is up to each of us to take advantage of this special gift and make the most of it. Open your eyes to look at the sky, and appreciate how it changes from moment to moment. Look at the faces of people you meet, knowing that each has its own special story. If we face each day as if it could be the last day of our life, chances are better that we will spend our time well.

Do something spur of the moment. Do you remember a time in your past when you did something without careful preparation up front? Perhaps it was an unplanned trip down the coast for a picnic, or maybe a friend called with concert tickets for later that same night. Many of us find comfort in the ability to plan what is going to happen and to control our lives a bit. But sometimes opportunity knocks and we have to act immediately. Rather than over think it, why not try something new? Spontaneous can be fun.

Be passionate about something. I am a big believer in discovering what inspires and excites you in life and then doing your best to pursue it. It doesn’t matter what others think about your pursuit. Why should you heed concerns expressed by others who are not confident enough to pursue their own passions? Doing something you are passionate about will help you live a fuller and more fulfilling life. After all, doing what you want to when you want to do it is what retirement is all about.

From my US News & World Blog. Dave Bernard is the author of “I Want To Retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be“. Although not yet retired, he focuses on identifying and understanding the essential components of a fulfilling and meaningful retirement. 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.

4 thoughts on “How to Spice Up Your Retirement

  1. When I retired, my whole life gradually changed as I put something new into every day. Sometimes big and sometimes small, all of it is leading to a place that I did not even know was out there!

  2. Did we think about or plan for our retirement? Financially yes, emotionally, socially, and all the other “ally’s” err NO. Our years of expat living had created serial nomads, belonging nowhere. What to do to make this retirement life less ordinary, staying put wasn’t the most thrilling prospect then by complete accident we discovered pet and house sitting. For the last five years we’ve traveled the world, saving huge amounts of $’s but still enjoying our nomadic existence, nomadic with a purpose. We bring peace of mind to pet/home owners, FREE of charge in return we have a new career and enjoy some of the very best FREE self catering accommodation that house sitting can provide ….. a win win for everyone concerned.http://www.trustedhousesitters.com/ is where we find our opportunities for keeping our lives less ordinary!

    • Thanks Angela – great website. With all the travel most retirees plan on, leaving the house and pets in good hands can put us all at ease to best enjoy our adventures. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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