After working for decades in a challenging career, retirement can look pretty appealing. We envision endless days of playing golf, watching TV, reading books, and lazing in the hammock. We’ll finally have some time to relax and enjoy life. But some retired people find that they become bored, miss work, or don’t know what their purpose is anymore. They no longer feel engaged.
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Retirement is a journey, not a destination. If you are going to maintain a fulfilling retirement over several decades, you’re going to have to find ways to keep it fresh. Here are five ways to keep retirement interesting.
Learn something new. What better time than retirement to learn to play an instrument, speak a foreign language, or brush up on your knowledge of personal finance. Sign up for a class at your local community college or find your own teacher for private lessons. You don’t want to look back ten years from now and wish you could have mastered that guitar gathering dust in your spare bedroom. Maybe you don’t even have to take a class. Head over to your local university’s bookstore and pick up a book about a subject you’ve always wished you had studied.
[See 10 Retirement Letdowns.]
Challenge yourself physically. We all know how important it is to stay physically healthy into our golden years. You might be more encouraged to start a walking program if you sign up for a charity walk. Maybe you’ve played golf recreationally for years, but you’d like to challenge yourself by playing in a tournament at your club. Add some balance to your current fitness program by trying something entirely new, such as yoga or meditation.
Start a business. Many folks nearing retirement are planning on engaging in some type of work, both for the financial benefits and the mental stimulation and challenge. If you’ve always had a little business in mind, retirement is the perfect time. You’ll be part of a growing trend of entrepreneurial people over age 55.
Travel. A great way to get reengaged in retirement is to get out of town. Pack your suitcase, grab a foreign dictionary, and get out on the road. A change of scenery can be exhilarating. Consider an active vacation such as a bike tour or an educational trip.
Volunteer. Numerous studies show that retirees who volunteer are happier, healthier, and live longer than those who don’t. Volunteering can be a rewarding way to try something new, connect with other like-minded people, and feel good at the same time.
The concept of retirement has evolved over the years. You will enjoy a more fulfilling retirement if you evolve right along with it.
Sydney Lagier is a former certified public accountant. Since retiring in 2008 at the age of 44, she has been writing about the transition from productive member of society to gal of leisure at her blog, Retirement: A Full-Time Job.