What Do You Do For Fun In Retirement?

One of the great rewards of retirement is when you get there you can do what you want. Whatever you love, whatever you are most passionate about, whatever you have always wanted to try but never had the time, all await your undivided attention when you cross the retirement threshold.

I don’t think one really appreciates the nature of free time until you retire. While on the job any free time you may squeeze out of the day offers a brief taste, a momentary respite in an otherwise turbo world. In a flash you find yourself back on the treadmill quickly bidding adieu to that relaxed pressure free escape that too soon becomes but a memory.

As a retiree you are in the driver seat. As a retiree you set the pace that suits you best. As a retiree you have time for fun – finally. And now that you have all the time in the world, what do you do?

It is not always easy to effortlessly transition to a life where no one tells you what to do. Freedom might even feel a bit scary if you find you are at a loss over how to fill the hours.

Fear not – many have gone down the same road you now navigate. A little practice, a pinch of creativity, a willingness to step outside your comfort zone and you should soon find your second act all you hoped it to be – maybe even more.

What do people do for fun once they retire?

One regular LBR reader typically ends her correspondence with “keep on dancing.” Two years into retired life she explores opportunities to volunteer and engage with her community. Each day is a chance to try something new and her perpetual optimism fuels her journey.

A friend has become very involved with the quilting community in our area. She attends regular get-togethers, man’s booths at local events, and enjoys conversing with others similarly inclined. Plus she creates some truly beautiful quilts whether to decorate her own home or donate to worthy causes.

Senior Playing at Water's Edge

My wife has a dedicated table (on wheels) set aside to build challenging jigsaw puzzles. She works on nothing less than 2000 pieces and has completed some majestic works. And once again proof it’s about the journey rather than the destination – once completed she calmly takes them apart and puts back in their box (after taking a picture of course).

One neighbor teaches a yoga class weekly out of her house. A handful of dedicated locals show up regularly to bend, stretch and meditate their way toward better lives.

Gardening is a wonderful way to feed your creativity while at the same time enjoying the outdoors. There is always something to do if you hope to keep things ship shape. And in the end efforts spent weeding, pruning, fertilizing and defending the crop from varmint’s results in beautiful flowers, tasty veggies and juicy fruit.

Along the lines of enjoying the outdoors taking a walk or hike through the neighborhood and surrounding parks is good exercise, puts you in contact with people around you and gives you a chance to ruminate as you take in nature. No planning is required – just head out the front door and start walking. You never know where you might end up.

My wife discovered the wonders of Pinterest on her iPhone. Each day she scans the site for new creative and tasty recipes to try out. Talk about a win-win situation! My favorite to date is the Pear Tart with powdered almond crust.

Another friend has become quite the bicycle rider. He is often seen wandering the back roads or slipping and sliding down mountain paths in local parks. Great exercise and he sure covers some ground.

My brother has set a goal to visit all the California Missions. His family joins him as they track down new locations near wherever they happen to be traveling. History, beautiful scenery and quality family time are rolled into one memorable outing.

The same brother feeds his passion for music by joining with a handful of similarly minded young-at-heart to play songs for friends and family. He still composes original works and I find there is nothing better than sitting in on a jam session to share his joy of music.

My dad has always loved going for an afternoon drive. The nearby Sierra Foothills offer unlimited views of gnarly old oak trees sprinkled across expansive rolling hills. And when the wild flowers are blooming there is no prettier spot on earth.

My Aunt Lydia took up oil painting later in life. With no formal training just because she enjoyed doing it she began putting on canvas colorful still life portraits as well as a multitude of scenic views. All family members have a picture or two from her gallery.

Have you ever felt the urge to write a story? Or perhaps document your family history for future generations? Retirement can offer the perfect opportunity to release the writer within you.

Our neighbors are avid bird watchers. They love spotting a new winged visitor in the trees and figuring out what the heck it is. They turned me onto a great app that helps identify unknown fliers by their size, colors, and even the song they sing. Check out Merlin from Cornell Lab.

My wife and I have incorporated a few games into our end-of-the-day agenda. Come 5:00 you can expect to see us sitting down on the patio engaged in a spirited battle of Gin Rummy, Backgammon or Dominoes. We find a little friendly competition helps get the juices flowing before dinner.

A few other options you might consider: learn a new language, learn to play a musical instrument, volunteer, become your own handyman, figure out your family tree, add a pet, travel, join a choir, try your hand at the art medium of your choice, learn to cook, start a business, buy/rent an RV and hit the road, babysit, be a mentor, and the list goes on.

Having fun in retirement is not so difficult. Of course you have to give yourself permission to do so. Occasionally you may feel slightly guilty having free time to do what you want while so many others struggle in the same old day to day grind. But remember you paid your dues. You survived the grind and this is your chance to make up for lost time. Now is your time to have fun.

LoveBeingRetired.com

Is Retirement Your Cup Of Tea?

One thing I have learned about retirement it is rarely what you expect. No matter how diligent your efforts to prepare for your second act there’s no way to account for all the possible outcomes. It’s scary not knowing what to expect. If you are a person who only feels comfortable while in control even more so. I guess a positive side to the situation may be it is hard to be bored with such an unpredictable future.

No matter what uncertainty I remain a proponent of the joys of retired life. There is nothing better than getting up each day knowing what you choose to do is up to you. The pace at which you partake is yours to set. Deadlines are dead! Flexibility is the new go word – do what you want when you want for as long as you want. There is time for a nap. There is time to dig into those interests you may not have even known you had. You can get better at things that matter to you. Each New Year can truly be a new year.

Are you ready to make the most of your retirement?

Are you able to find meaning outside of your job?

After decades playing a particular role within a defined career some find it difficult to separate the working-you from the retired-you. They come to identify who they are with what they do on the job. Successes in life are defined by work achievements. One’s status is based upon where they reside in the corporate hierarchy. It can be confusing to start over with an undefined and alien role to fulfill.

Those most successful at the retired game learn to move on. Rather than dwell on who you were they try looking toward who you can be. Big offices and fancy titles don’t matter to retired folk. Rather, what you are passionate about takes center stage. Shared interests kindle relationships. Spending time with people you enjoy and want to be with is your prerogative.

For me a happy retiree is one blessed with many healthy years free from restrictions imposed by a job, free to explore new activities and adventures while growing into an independent individual defined by who he is rather than what he does.

Are you sufficiently creative to fill your hours with activities you enjoy?

No one wants to be bored in retirement. Keep busy, take advantage of your free time and make the most of your second act! Not a bad mantra but not necessarily easy to realize. I think creativity is a big part. It helps if you are willing to try new things, to step outside of restrictive comfort zones and to explore. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Don’t be worried about what others say – you are doing this for you. Follow your curiosity.

Do you need others around you to be happy?

I am someone who can usually entertain himself handily without the assistance of others. My wife is much more social and enjoys interacting more frequently with neighbors and friends. Knowing which way you lean can help better direct you toward what is most satisfying to you personally. It is healthy to interact with others, to feel part of a community and share the moments – good as well as bad. Independence is good but you can’t always do it on your own. Being part of a group allows you to share common interests while supporting one another in the many adventures and challenges retirement promises.

Are you okay doing nothing?

Most recently retired people I talk with describe feeling challenged adapting to a “less productive” post-career life. Wasting time is a big no-no conditioned into their psyche from the early days. How do they slow down without feeling guilty? It can take time to accept it is okay to do nothing. As a matter of fact it can even feel good!

The beauty of retirement is you have the power to create a balance between activity and down time. Whatever works for you is right for you. It’s fine to be productive but equally okay to chill. Finding that balance just right for you will go a long way toward shaping a first-rate retirement.

Retirement is great. What is perfect for me may not work for you and visa versa. That’s why the freedom each of us enjoys to create our own personal perfect retirement is so amazing. We do not have to follow any rigid plan. We can adapt and make changes along the way. We can tweak it until we get it just right. And once we do retirement living is hard to beat. With a little luck and reasonable effort retirement can most definitely be your cup of tea.

LoveBeingRetired.com