I know almost everybody looks forward to retirement. But after the first week or two, you may find yourself wondering how you should fill your days. I am a firm believer in having a purpose and a reason to get out of bed and get moving. I am also a big believer in the saying, “once you stop learning you start dying.”
The first thing I want to do when I retire is to travel. Really take the time to immerse in a new culture. I am not interested in going to a Mexican resort for a week, I would rather live in Mexico among the locals for a few months and learn some Spanish. Plus I would learn how to cook the food, and volunteer at animal shelters. Notice how this travel centres around learning. I want to learn so many things the list is endless.
- Explore history- this can be local history or that of far away places.
- Craft- either renew your interest in something you have done before or you can learn a whole new skill.
- Spend time with your grandchildren or another favourite kid. Children help to keep you young.
- Renew old friendships- life is busy when you are working, now you have the time to get together, so make it a priority. Socializing also helps you stay young.
- Meditate- use this or other activities to advance your spirituality.
- Go back to school- earning a degree doesn’t have to be the goal as many colleges and universities will allow you to take a course or two per year. Myself, I want to take loads of history courses.
- Read- for pleasure, for advanced education, for a book club.
- Volunteer- you can volunteer almost anywhere. Libraries, animal shelters, church, festivals, mentoring programs, or hospices all need an extra hand or two to help out.
- Join a walking, hiking, kayaking, or biking group. Get out, get your exercise, make new friendships, learn new things.
- Attend a protest- if you don’t like how something is being done let your voice be heard.
- Get a part-time job- this can be anything from being a Walmart greeter to driving a school bus. Find something you have always wanted to try and do it, not necessarily for the money but to get yourself out and about.
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I encourage you to have a plan that involves “getting out of your comfort zone” for your retirement. My own mother ended up being a cautionary tale. She retired at 55 years old and stopped all activities that got her out socializing. She stopped curling, she did not want to volunteer. She kept herself healthy physically but she ignored her brain. She did not travel to new places, she did not take up new hobbies. She stopped learning. She is now only 77 years old and is at the end stage of dementia. She has not known her children for years now. She no longer knows her husband. She is not living the way she wanted to. She is, in fact, living her personal nightmare. We all miss her, even though she is still alive. My mother is a cautionary tale.
The Other Half