Kudos to you for having toiled all your life! Being a part of one workforce or another and wearing yourself out over long decades, you certainly deserve good rest. Strangely, however, those who have just retired feel a very strong urge to be in the hunt. They do not want to slump on their couches yet.
Somehow, there is an overwhelming desire to be busy with some activity. Here then is a list of activities, 10 of them, you can engage yourself with after calling it quits. A couple of them seem obvious enough yet you may never have thought about them. Read along.
#1. Starting your Own Business (nothing over-ambitious)
Those who are an active part of the workforce are always cramped for time. It so pans out that they often need someone to take care of their chores for them. It can be something as basic as caring for their pets in their absence to repairing a machine troubling for long. So, if you have ever contemplated a small business of yours but never had time for it, now may just be the right moment.
Based on your penchant (not everyone can repair machines and neither can all have an affinity to pets) and your finance, you can open a business of your own. Start with a moderate capital and see how it goes before going full throttle.
#2. Taking part in camps for seniors
Camps for seniors are in. They cater to that part of ‘senior’ psychology which always craves for a child-like moment of fun. So, sign up for any of the scores of such camps. Ski to your heart’s content, learn driving a car on ice, learn art, crafts, building shelters from crossbows, or make a dash for the themed weekends (especially for the adventurous ones).
In some such camp, watching the Sun go down, you will feel the gap between your heart and the world closing. Surreal experience it can be!
3#. Volunteering programs
You would have amassed great many experiences during your work life. “There is a truth deeper than experience” but experience counts greatly in life. So how about sharing these pearls picked up during the course of your life with those who are much younger to you? Think of volunteering. It can be a reward in itself. You can start with helping a few inexperienced people launch a small project or assisting someone with, say, managing a library.
If you are a little more ambitious, join a ‘boomer’ group that builds basic shelter for the needy……I mean really affordable housing. You can help the military personnel enjoy a better life. If you want to enter into niche volunteering, you can help in preserving coral reefs or restoring a site with historical lineage. In short, you will be spoilt for choices.
4#. Teaching in your community centre, schools or colleges
Nothing substitutes teaching. It is a sure-fire way of passing on all that you have learnt in life. The Baby boomers are full to their neck with experience and adolescents, young adults and even those passing through the stress of mid-life need all the knowledge they can get.
Join your community centre, apply for teaching in schools or colleges. If you want to stay away from the long-followed routine life, choose flexi-hours and flexi-days. Work part-time…..a couple of hours only if you so want.
5#. Knocking on friends/family (lost for long)
In the hum and bustle of life, you may have felt stranded from close friends and family. Retirement is an opportune time to renew all those contacts thrown into the back-burner. There might be a maternal aunt waiting to give you a motherly caress or a friend 2,000 miles away who was once an integral part of your life but now lost to time/distance.
It can be a splendid beginning to your retired life if you can give them all a knock. It may entail some travelling but then who is stopping you anymore.
6#. Writing a book
What do we leave for posterity? A person dies not when his heart stops but when his name is spoken one last time somewhere far away never to be repeated again (somebody said that). So, what can keep our memory lingering? What can keep the flame of our existence burning in the hearts of those who come after us?
A Book….yes, a book.
Napoleons of this world are forgotten before long because we have no means to connect with them (have we seen the battle of Waterloo). On the other hand, we will always carry the spark of Patrick White or Clive James. They will be remembered through their books.
Each of us owe a book to life. It does not matter how well we write or if we find backers/publishers. Think of Jarod Kintz, the man whose sandwich quotes are famous across the world. He has always got himself self-published. So, work this out. Give some time to a book you had always thought of writing but never got time for.
7#. Learning a new language
Polyglots must be living in a world of their own. Day in and out they play with diverse languages, tasting them on their tongue like cheese. It is hard to be a polyglot but you can certainly give time to learning that one language you always had craving for. I, for one, always wanted to learn Spanish. May be, you will be far off from gaining mastery in the language but humans never know their own potential to surprise themselves.
8#. Joining a fitness group
A fitness group anyone? I think there will be many takers. With an increase in life expectancy, we know that our trip on the beautiful blue planet may well extend beyond our most positive hope. So why not stay fit and impart vitality to our latter years? Yoga, breathing exercises, meditation, hands-free exercise and there you go.
While on it, let me tell you about Aqua Zumba. It is a water-based workout that is great for the cardiac muscles and tones our body. Nothing much if you look into it except splashing water, stretching yourself, laughing your gut out, hooting, some more splashing water. If water does not sound thrilling, Latin dance lessons can help you keep fit. The point is to find a fitness program for yourself which is close to your idea of fun.
9#. Purchasing a motor home
Buy a motor home. Are you thinking of Will Smith’s two-story trailer. I won’t get that ambitious but spending some of your savings to buy a cosy, spaced out motor home for yourself can do the trick. This way, you can enjoy all the national parks, sanctuaries or sport stadiums that you ever had in mind. Port Jackson, Queen Victoria building, and the Taronga Zoo await you.
10. Travelling around the world/Australia
It is hard to wrap “things to do in retirement” without talking about some travelling. While you cannot do time travelling (yet) and go back in years, you can certainly make the most of the great opportunity at hand to travel. You can travel the world if you have been that wise with your retirement planning or travel, at any rate, your whole country at a leisurely pace.
Nepal, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, UAE, the USA and Singapore have been the traditional hotspots for Aussie travellers. The rarefied air of the Mt. Everest or the aerial view of the Indonesian archipelago can certainly be a treat to the senses.
Retirement can be the busiest phase of your life
There was a time, not far off in the past, when retirement bought images of white hair, grey beard and slumped body. Today, with the kind of health we are enjoying, retirement can turn out to be an even more active phase than our work life. It is all in the mind really!
Instead of thinking you have seen 65 summers, think that you have 20 more summers to enjoy. Open your palm to the sunlight, press your cheek on tuft of grass, take that much-coveted trip on a hot air balloon or take up the nearest volunteering opportunity at hand. The joy and reward may be endless.