One of the biggest fears I hear people voicing when contemplating retirement is, “won’t I be bored?” Since I retired eight years ago, my schedule is so full of stuff to do there arent enough hours in the day to do everything I want. Looking back, I am not sure how I used to have time for work.
Mark Twain said, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” In that same vein, retirement isn’t a time to sit back and reminisce about old times; it is a time to take on different projects and work like you don’t need the money. Retirement is a time to rejuvenate your life and kickstart the future. It is easy to find things to do in retirement and not be bored. Here are a few ideas.
Find Your Sense of Purpose
The number one thing to do in retirement is to find your sense of purpose. The people who are bored when they retire are the ones who haven’t found a purpose in life outside of work. Find something new that inspires you and discover ways to get involved with it. We have all had different passions and interests in the past that we didn’t pursue. Retirement is the perfect time to take a second look and use your new-found time to become engaged with your new purpose.
Join the Peace Corp
You might no know it, but the Peace Corps does not have an age limit! After you retire, you can help change the world and help make a difference by serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer. You can even serve with your spouse or partner.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but working after retirement can be wonderfully fun and rewarding, especially if you don’t need the money. I know bored retired executives who have taken up teaching as a second-act. I know retired teachers who have devoted themselves full time to art projects. Don’t worry, making money after you retire from one job won’t take away your credentials as a retiree.
One great way to stop boredom is to go traveling. Travel exposes you to new cultures, new ideas, and new landscapes. More importantly, it challenges your opinions and shows you the world outside of your comfort zone. Organize a trip of your own, or join a group that specializes in tours for retirees.
Learn A New Language
Make the effort for the fun of it and to exercise your brain. Again, it isn’t a job. You don’t have to master it. Sarah takes a lot of language lessons and, while not fluent in but a few, she can get by in the local language almost anywhere on the planet.
Get Involved in Your Local Community
Among the great things you can do in retirement is volunteer at a food bank or local animal shelter. Help plant a community garden or volunteer to read to children at a local library. Organize community clean up projects or become a mentor. Help an adult literacy program. Don’t complain about politicians; become a good one. Just look around for something that needs doing and begin doing it or organize a project around it. There is no shortage of ways to help.
Grow a Garden
Growing a garden is great because after learning the skills necessary to tend a garden successfully, you potentially have some great meals, you can be proud of when you harvest the rewards of your labor.
Reach Out To The World And Find Your Community
Almost all work provides us with a circle of acquaintances. Ideally, it even provides us with a circle of friends. One of the biggest complaints of people who are retired and bored is a lack of social interaction. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are communities out there that share your interest and want the freshness that new blood brings. Find them.
Run For Public Office
Instead of complaining about bad politicians, become a good one. Many political positions are filled only because the person in office is unopposed. Organize, raise a stink, get out of the echo-chamber and stand up for the things you are passionate about.
Take Up A New Sport
Staying physically active is essential for a happy retirement. Take up hiking, run a marathon, play tennis, climb mountains. Being physically active not only improves your physical health, but it also improves your mental outlook as well.
Join a Fitness Group
Join a team of like-minded individuals and retirees and join a fitness group. Working out with friends keeps you motivated and improves your social life. Yoga, aerobics classes, or weight lifting are all great ways to get moving. It is never too late to get into better shape.
Help Build Houses With Habitat for Humanity
With Habitat for Humanity, you can volunteer locally or travel to help build brighter futures working alongside families in the U.S. and around the world. In the United States, there is and a program called RV Care-A-Vanners where volunteers load up their recreation vehicle with family and friends and have some adventure while traveling to various building sites throughout the U.S.
One of the reasons Sarah and I never get bored in our retirement is that we move every few years. If you live in the country or suburbs and want to try living somewhere with everything on your doorstep; move to the city. If you are tired of all the noise, traffic and city expenses; move to the mountains or the beach. Since I have retired, I have lived in seven countries on three continents. Retirement gives you more opportunities to be mobile. Take advantage of it!
Learn to Play Music
My father began playing the banjo after he retired in his sixties and got bored. He loved it and became quite good. Most of us have played musical instruments of one sort of another. If you are bored and looking for something to do, pick that instrument up again and start practicing. Or pick a new instrument and learn. Take lessons or join a group. Who cares if you aren’t the next Eric Clapton. As Yoda said, “Do or don’t do. There is no try.”
Share Your Expertise
Even though you are retired, your expertise is still valuable. Become a consultant and share your expertise. Advise new entrepreneurs and small businesses. Teach what you know.
Get A New Degree
So, you didn’t get that art degree because you were afraid that your career path would be limited. So what? Go back and get it now. You became an engineer, but you really wanted to study Shakespeare? Don’t be bored; sign up and get a degree in Elizabethan studies. Getting an advanced degree without needing to worry about a career path is one of the great things you can do in retirement.
Join Senior Corps
Like the Peace Corps, Senior Corps relies on a network of American volunteers, 55 years and older, who commit their time to address critical community needs including academic tutoring and mentoring, foster grandparenting, elderly care, disaster relief support, and more.
Become a Substitute Teacher
Another way of going back to school when retired and bored is becoming a substitute teacher. Many schools need trusted people to fill in during teacher’s absences. Often this doesn’t require a teaching degree or even an advanced degree.
Foster a Pet
Pets are wonderful to have around, but if you like to travel or spend time away from home having one can be a challenge. Did you know that there are organizations that need help temporarily looking after shelter animals and getting them ready for adoption? I have done this myself and it is a wonderful way to do a lot of good and have some animal companionship at the same time. The hardest, and most rewarding part, is seeing them go after they are adopted to a “forever home.”
Write A Book
You have reached retirement and you have had some exciting life experiences. Life has given you some fabulous stories. You have developed some expertise. Hopefully, you have some wild stories to tell. Write the stuff down. Fiction or non-fiction, you have a book in you. Check out NaNoWriMo for some novel inspiration.
What Do You Think?
Am I wrong? What have I missed? What are some of the passions you are pursuing in retirement?