That long-awaited day has now arrived. It’s the day you have most likely been looking forward to most of your working life: Retirement. But what now? If you are one of the lucky ones, then you already have a long list of hobbies just waiting for your attention, along with an impressively long list of things to do when retired.
On the other hand, if you are looking for some kind of direction in your retired life then you are in the good company of many, many others.
If you are feeling lost, or lacking some kind of direction or structure in your daily routine and perhaps missing the social contact that work provided, then here are some ideas to help steer you towards a better place.
The Art of Goal Setting
First and foremost, I think goal setting is paramount when seeking to live a vibrant and meaningful retirement.
You have probably been setting goals all of your working life, well most of it.
If you are now just living one day at a time, then you might be missing out on the excitement that comes from working on a project of some kind.
The beauty of goals is that you have something to work towards and then hopefully you can enjoy immense satisfaction when that goal is achieved.
The type of goal you set yourself naturally depends on what you truly enjoy doing.
If you are keen to travel (yes I know that Covid has dampened those aspirations somewhat in 2020), then a goal could be to learn a new language. Keen on travelling to Switzerland, for example? Then a goal could be to learn High German or even Swiss German.
Perhaps you are artistic and want to showcase your designs and even earn a little income on the side, at the same time. A goal then could be to create an account on Redbubble and establish your online presence as an artist.
Learning a new skill certainly qualifies as an ideal goal to aspire towards.
Therefore, the next section discusses some skill-gaining ideas via course offerings.
Fun Things to do When You Retire
Courses for Retirees
Many countries offer courses for seniors and retirees via third-age learning organisations. This global concept, having started in France, has been adopted by many, many countries and has been modified and adapted for local requirements.
In Australia, we have the University of the Third Age (U3A), a similar model to that found in the UK.
This is a wonderful concept for retirees, costing a minimal amount, depending on the area and facilities.
The setup here is based on the idea of peer learning and sharing. For a minimal cost such as $40 or $50 a year (this can vary of course), one can enrol in any number of courses provided by volunteer tutors & instructors within your area. Volunteers, many of them Baby Boomers, share their knowledge & expertise by offering to ‘teach’ others.
U3A is not restricted to retirees however; many part-time workers for example enjoy extending their learning as they enter their third age.
In our area there are some fantastic U3A offerings such as:
- Language courses
- Political Discussions
- Illustrating & Painting
- and many, many others
Of course in addition to taking classes, you might like to offer your own expertise in order to give a class.
If you already play a sport such as tennis or golf, then you might feel that you have your exercise needs well and truly covered.
If not, or if you feel the need for more exercise in the company of others, you could join a gymnasium or an aquatic centre for an aqua aerobics class.
Dance classes are another option. Some dance participants supplement their weekly class with dinners out or even trips away. We had one Latin American dance teacher who organised trips for interested students so that they could experience the dance genre for real.
Meetups for Interest Groups
Another fantastic concept is that of Meetup groups.
As the name suggests, Meetup.com provides a unique way for people of all ages to meet up and explore or discuss or simply enjoy interests that they have in common.
When you visit the site, your location will be detected and you can then specify the distance you are prepared to travel for a meetup of your choice. You might be dependent on public transport and therefore prefer interest groups that are relatively close by. That is entirely up to you.
For example, you can find like-minded people who meet up on a regular basis to explore hobbies, interests, skills, leisure etc.
Some of the groups that have interested us included:
- Dinner Out meetups
- Walking groups
- Technical meetups such as WordPress interest groups
- Movie Appreciation meetups
- Political Discussion Groups
In addition to finding groups that interest you, the idea of starting & managing a meetup might appeal to you further down the track.
Volunteering one or two days a week can also be very satisfying.
I was just reading a fascinating article about the impact of the pandemic on volunteering services. In Australia we have an organization called ‘Meals on Wheels’. The service provides a delivery of a certain number of meals each week to people who are convalescing or for whatever reason simply need help with nutritious meals.
Numbers in the order of 76,000 people volunteer to do the deliveries.
The pandemic lock down restrictions meant that there was an even greater demand for nutritious meals to be delivered to older people. And an even greater need for volunteer drivers to stand in for those who needed to self-isolate. Apparently there was an excellent response to the ‘call out’ for additional helpers.
How rewarding volunteer activities like these are.
Most areas advertise a variety of clubs that people can join.
Typical in this category would be:
- Golf clubs
- Book clubs
- Swim clubs
- Yoga groups
- Walking groups
- Movie-appreciation clubs
- Probus Clubs (for people coming from a Professional Business background)
- Travel clubs – A few years ago I happened to notice an ad on a community notice board. It was advertising a club that had modelled itself after the movie “The Bucket List”. People who wanted to realise one-off goals were invited to join and partner up with other people having the same goals. Needless to say, many of these goals involved travel destinations.
Hobbies for Retirees
Many of the above ideas come under the heading of hobbies, both indoor and outdoor. But let’s look more closely at indoor hobbies.
There are so many indoor hobbies, where do I start?
Even if you are an active person, spending many a thrilling hour on the golf course, it still pays to supplement outdoor activities with in-house ideas for those cold, rainy days.
Perhaps the golf course is on hold because of self-isolating. Then you definitely want to have some indoor hobbies up your sleeve.
- Family Trees
I have a friend who is fascinated by genealogy and has joined such a club. Not only does it occupy much of her spare time, it has taken her to a number of different parts of the world, researching family members.
A family tree can also leave behind quite a legacy for future generations of relatives.
- Writing a Book
There are many online courses to help you do this, as well as face-to-face clubs and courses.
What comes to mind here would be
- Amazon Kindle Books
- Securing a contract with a publisher.
- Writing your own biography to pass onto the kids
- Zoom Meetings
This medium has taken off big time during pandemic-induced lockdowns. But Zoom is not the only online vehicle for distance-get-togethers; many others have also become popular. You could explore something like Zoom for:
- Running courses online to share your expertise
- Connecting family members via a regular online hookup
- Organising an “online” dinner among friends
- Volunteering to help various groups connect with people who are in need
- Cooking and Baking
For many, this is much more than just a survival necessity. Any there are so many blogs that can give you great ideas on how to be more creative in the kitchen.
This can be a hobby that you further explore by yourself or in a group.
You could consider:
- Composing new pieces if you are already musical
- Learning a new instrument
- Joining a choir or singing group if you have a good voice (even if you haven’t).
- Online Entrepreneurial Pursuits
There is a growing list of ideas that you can pursue online to make a little extra income in retirement:
- Creating art to sell online on t-shirts and giftware
- Stock market trading
- Setting up a commercial website
- Creating cards for Christmas and birthdays
- Creating calendars as gifts
Most Popular Retirement Hobbies
So which of these activities have other retirees embraced? Which are considered the most popular?
This of course depends on the individual. Fortunately we are not all the same which means that when we get together we have a variety of interests to discuss.
A very interesting survey has been completed in the UK and published by McCarthy & Stone.
It probably comes as no surprise that country walks was one of the more popular activities listed by retirees.
The top 10 list included many of activities we have already mentioned. The survey findings are definitely worth reading. You can see the survey results here.
Now that you have the time, enjoy exploring the many hobbies, courses, clubs and entrepreneurial ideas that are currently at your disposal.