Retirement is filled with possibility. If you’re in good health, have at least some retirement income, and have a positive outlook, you can lead an entirely new life after you quit working; you’re limited only by your imagination. However, strangely, many new retirees find themselves at a loss. Suddenly losing the comfort a daily and weekly routine, they wonder what to do in retirement.
Everybody’s tastes and interests are different, but here are a few ideas:
And if your budget is tight, you don’t have to travel first-class; change your thinking, and travel like a college student. South America, India, Southeast Asia are crisscrossed by backpacking retirees, traveling comfortably alongside adventurers half their age. Pick up a few guidebooks published by Lonely Planet or Rough Guides, both of which cater to budget travelers, or visit Lonely Planet’s website. You’ll quickly get inspiration. With a few thousand dollars, you can spend a month or longer in India, or Indonesia. And if you’re squeamish about conditions in guesthouses that cost $10 a night — relax, you’ll get used to it!
Visit your local community college and see what programs they have in continuing education. You can take individual courses in topics that may be of particular interest — studying Spanish, for instance, or beekeeping — or you can follow a course regime and get a degree. If you’re serious about an advanced degree, there are plenty of online options too, whether at for-profit institutions such as the University of Phoenix, which are predominantly online institutions, or at traditional universities that also offer online programs. But if you have the option of studying online or attending real classes in a classroom environment, choose the latter — it gets you away from the computer and out of the house, and allows you to interact with real people, real-time.
It may sound strange to go back to work in retirement, but more and more people are doing it, sometimes of course from necessity but often from desire. Perhaps you can convert a lifelong hobby into a small business — some form of gardening or handicraft, for instance. If you’ve collected model railroad trains all your life, perhaps you can deal in them, or start up a website devoted to them. If you just want to get out of the house ten hours each week, volunteer at your local library. But ensure that your work doesn’t become drudgery. If making a business out of a hobby takes all the fun out of it, then refrain.
4. Take up a new hobby.
Perhaps you’ve always been fascinated by making pastries, but have never had the time to pursue it seriously. Making dessert items is, reputedly, the most difficult of the culinary arts; it’s not something that you pick up casually over the weekend. Now you can spend a few hours every day at it, or more. Your new hobby may involve study, and it may lead to work; if your pastries are truly delicious, you can sell them at local restaurants or farmers’ markets.
You don’t need to find yourself at loose ends in retirement; don’t aim to plan out every minute of every day, but try to establish some kind of routine around activities that are pleasurable and rewarding to you. You’ll find that you’re as busy as ever.