Retirement can be like finally reaching a long held goal. You have worked hard for many years, your life has been largely consumed by your career and now you have come to the end of that journey.
Stepping into this new phase of your life can be challenging, no matter how much you have looked forward to it or planned for it.
Retired, now what?
Perhaps your days are suddenly stretching out before you with a new emptiness. You are not going out daily and seeing other people. You may feel at a loss as to what your purpose has become and you may come face to face with some confronting feelings.
Conversely you might have already filled your time catering to the needs of family or friends, or taken up many pass-times to help you to carry on seamlessly being busy and having a full life.
Retirement is a big transition
Retirement, for those who are lucky enough to be able to afford it, can be a wonderful journey. It is a transition into a life where we can really start discovering things about ourselves and the things that truly nourish us.
So, before jumping in and filling your schedule from sunrise to sunset with hobbies or saying yes to everything that comes along, give yourself some time. Embrace those strange feelings of emptiness, boredom, loneliness or even worthlessness if they come. This is a transition after all and change is not always comfortable.
Embrace the change
You can choose to approach retirement with a sense of curiosity and discovery. Savour the sense of possibility. Bask in the freedom of not having to live by the clock. Now you get to enjoy the home that you have worked so hard to create.
There might be some things that you have been wanting to get to, like decluttering the kitchen drawers, or finally putting that shelf up. But guess what? This is your time now, so if you’d rather binge-watch some television, or for once get to sit in a sunspot in your garden, do that!
This could be the time to embark on those travel adventures or visits to far-flung family or friends that you have been waiting for. Travelling clears the head and opens space for newness.
Finding the perfect hobby can be a journey
A good balance for retirees is made up of activities in these four areas: creative, physical, mental, and social. Keeping this in mind, follow the threads of what you already know you enjoy, or things you have secretly dreamed about.
You might already have some hobbies that you’ve had to let go of while work came first and now you can dust them off again and put in the time and effort that you’ve always wanted to.
Nowadays, you can find groups of people who are into almost anything under the sun, from kitesurfing to learning how to construct a natural pond in your backyard, to learning how to play the piano.
Don’t limit yourself to what you might think is age-appropriate – start your own social media channel or join the salsa-dance class. You are bound to find the right people.
New hobbies, new friends
Some of the best places to make new friends are where people gather around common interests. The choir, the gardening club, the yoga class, a birdwatching society, for instance, are all wonderful places to meet like minded people.
Get your exercise and your social fix when you join the ultimate frisbee team, or challenge your mind alongside others at the chess club.
Some of your most rewarding hobbies might be the ones where you get to be engaged with something by yourself. Perhaps you enjoy quilting, crossword puzzles, painting, baking, restoring your classic car or practising the art of topiary by yourself.
Something ordinary, or something not so ordinary?
Do some research about what is happening in your town or city. Perhaps there is a glass blowing studio or a ceramic studio. If you live near the ocean, perhaps you can fulfil a lifelong dream of ocean kayaking or yachting. Most places would have tennis clubs, soccer clubs or a bridge club.
Good places to see what is available are libraries, notice boards at your local shopping centre or simply join a Facebook group based in your area to see what is happening.
Many people find being involved in charitable work post-retirement to be a very rewarding way to remain engaged with life. Helping kids learn how to read, or standing in with your local soup kitchen are but some ideas.
You might also find it fulfilling to offer your expertise back into your field of work by working as a consultant as much or as little as you like. Your decades of knowledge and skills remain valuable and there is no reason why you shouldn’t keep offering it on your own terms.
Savour the journey
Determine what you can afford financially, what you are capable of physically, and what is available to you where you live. You may find that you have to try out a couple of different hobbies before finding something that really works for you.
Remember, there is nothing wrong with grieving for your past life and feeling daunted by the new phase of your life. If this feels too overwhelming, reach out to friends in similar situations, or find a therapist to support you.
Martial arts, model engineering, flower pressing or hiking… As you journey to discover the perfect hobby in your retirement, you might find some new friends, some new confidence and enjoyment. You also might just find some long-forgotten parts of yourself.
Enjoy the fun side of life and be inspired by our travel and party tips. We also share ways to improve your hobbies and the skills that bring you joy.
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