Life After Work: Things To Do After Retirement

couple taking kayaks out on the lake, enjoying things to do after retirement

The average retirement age in the US is about 63 years old. Since the average life expectancy in the US is about 76 years old, that leaves a retiree with a full decade with no work or schedule to follow, no rush to catch the earliest train, and no Friday karaoke nights with colleagues. A retiree can easily get bored, feel alone, become sedentary or turn to robbing banks just for something to do. But this doesn’t have to be the case! Here are a few things to do after retirement to make these years fun-filled and exciting.

Stay Mentally Sharp

1. Go back to school.

Whether you’re finishing that pesky degree or learning something new, going back to school is a great way to keep your mind sharp. Are you looking to advance your cooking skills? Enroll in a culinary school. Alternatively, if you want to read “Le Petit Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery or Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” in their original languages, you might as well enroll in a language class and get credit for it!

2. Write a book.

It can be fiction or non-fiction. You could even write a short story—it is up to you to decide. With a lifetime full of experiences to draw from, writing a book can be a meaningful and fulfilling project to pursue. Not sure how to start? Fret not, there are many resources online that can help you begin your book-writing adventure.

3. Launch a small business.

Tapping into your entrepreneurial streak can be a great way to stay mentally active. And if you’re selling crafts, online platforms like Etsy, Shopify, iCraftGifts and Amazon Handmade can help you.

Be Physically Active

1. Start a hobby.

Life after retirement doesn’t have to be boring. Try a new hobby—gardening, pottery or photography. There is a wide range of hobbies to choose from depending on your interests. Look for clubs or organizations that catch your eye. It’s nice to meet new people who share your interests. Not only you are opening up to new connections, but you are also physically more active as you move around and get out of the house more often.

2. Join a gym or fitness club.

Our bodies deteriorate from of lack of physical activity, causing our muscle mass, strength, and stamina to decline. Likewise, physical inactivity has been known to contribute to depression. Brisk walking, swimming, and cycling are suitable for light exercise. Make it more fun by exercising with friends.

3. Adopt a pet.

Adopting a pet will help you to get moving. Caring, grooming and feeding pets will require you to get up and move around. Dogs, for instance, need to be walked. Just a mere 30 minutes of walking has been found to help manage weight and various health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart diseases.

Maintain Your Social Connections

1. Be a mentor.

Being a mentor is a rewarding thing to do after retirement. About 16 million young people in the US are growing up without the guidance of a trusted adult. Mentoring offers benefits to both the mentor and mentee. Help a kid get a better chance at life while you foster strong connections and give back to the community.

2. Reconnect with old friends.

Think about the last time you played catch up with your best friend. Now is the best time to set up that barbecue weekend you have been promising your old pal. Walking down the memory lane with old friends will help you appreciate your life’s journey. Moreover, it has health benefits, Nostalgia and memories can help you relax and lower stress levels.

3. Start your own club.

Depending on your interests, you can start your own club—art club, travel club, or perhaps a financial literacy club. Since you will share the same interests with the members, fostering connections can be easier.

Nourish Your Inner Life

1. Be a volunteer.

Unlimited volunteer opportunities are available for retirees. You can work with kids, teens or elders. There are ways to volunteer from your home, and there are volunteer tasks needed abroad. Volunteer interface can be virtual or real-time. The possibilities are endless, and there are a lot of volunteer prospects to choose from.

2. Go on a spiritual retreat.

Our busy working life makes it a challenge for us to cultivate a healthy spiritual life—we rarely stop and reflect. Our retirement years are the perfect opportunity to look inward. Search for an environment that will support this goal. Many facilities are available across the country.

3. Start your own charity.

Life after retirement is also best spent by giving back to the community, and you can even get other people to join you in this project. Starting your own organization can be a rewarding experience for you, the volunteers and the community you are helping.

Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor

1. Travel and visit interesting places.

With more free time, traveling is one of the best things to do after retirement. With proper planning and a renewed sense of adventure, traveling in your retirement years can bring about a different kind of experience. No need to backpack across Europe and stay in youth hostels—you’ve worked hard and now is the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

2. Spend time with your family.

Enjoy time with siblings, your children, and grandchildren. Look at family photos together. Remember old jokes, and reminisce over family stories, anecdotes, and funny tales. Venture out and enjoy new experiences. The world is your oyster.

3. Pursue the activities that you loved doing when you were younger.

Perhaps when you were younger you liked collecting things, or you were interested in theater and acting. Rekindle your curiosity on these long-forgotten pursuits. Life after retirement is the best time to wear those dancing shoes again or wield the poet’s pen.

Life after retirement is often perceived with apprehension. This is because retirement is seen as the end. True, retirement is the end of work and employment, but there is more to life than work. Retirement should be viewed as a transition—it signals the start of a new phase of our life. The shift doesn’t have to be abrupt. You can start easing into the retirement years at least five years before the expected retirement age. Use this time to start projects and endeavors that you wish to pursue during your retirement years. This will allow you ample time and resources to make the transition smooth and almost unnoticeable. Get ready for this new phase in your life by planning for things to do after retirement. In essence, the goal is to plan, not only for your retirement but for the fun part of your life.

About the Author

Imee Rabang is a blogger/writer and bilingual poet from Manila, Philippines. She is an advocate of Philippine culture and supports causes that promote language and national identity. She juggles her time between work, parenthood, and community outreach programs. She also dabbles in photography and graphic arts in her free time.
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