Wearing your retirement lightly
How times have changed since you first entered the job market, wore a suit or silk stockings to the office, and used terms like “groovy”! Now you are facing retirement, and old folk no longer look like old folk back in the day. The elderly wear jeans and T-shirts, try to decipher the texts their grandchildren send them, and no longer take retirement lying or sitting down!
Experts argue there is a lot to be said for staying active and engaged during your retirement years. You will not only be healthier and live longer, but you will be able to create an entirely new life and find your true happiness doing those things you never had the time for while you were still working.
Where to begin to plan for a rich and rewarding retirement? Well, here are some ideas to get you started.
Give in order to receive
There are few things that act as such an immediate pick-me-up, confidence booster and natural high as helping those who are less fortunate. There are many ways in which you can pay it forward, whether by using the skills and experience you have gained during your career or by simply sharing of yourself and your time. Charities, welfare organizations and even political causes are always appreciative of an extra pair of helping hands, and you will get back far more in terms of the feel-good factor and a sense of working for something bigger than yourself.
Open your mind
You may be concerned that you are starting to forget things – no worry, learn some new stuff to replace what you’ve forgotten! It may be decades since you last seriously studied or sat for an exam, but the great thing about studying when you are retired, is that you don’t have to worry about getting good grades. You are simply learning for personal growth and development, and because a particular subject interests you. What better reasons are there?
Consider taking a course in something unexpected, such as a sculpting class or a guitar course, or even learn at home with dvd guitar lessons, its the next best thing to having your own private tutor. Find out if there is an art school in your area, or go online and be prepared for the wealth of information about anything from flower arranging to learning how to master blues guitar.
Unleash your creativity
The routine and structure of corporate life has had a hold on you for a very long time; now it is time to let down your hair (or wear a French beret if you no longer have hair) and find the artist within you. Kick off your sensible shoes and join a dance group. Express yourself through writing, singing, art and music.
But you don’t have to do the dance of the seven veils to connect with your creative side. A fun way to start is to take up scrapbooking – organize your family photos and mementoes in an album, and bring some artistic flair to the project. You will be doing three things at once: Tidying up your valuable treasures, creating a beautiful object, and giving your loved ones something truly memorable of yourself. Creating a beautiful handmade book or illustrated diary can be the next step.
Reality is virtual
You may think that you are up to speed, for a golden oldie, because you have a smartphone, and you know how to send an MMS. But what about Skype? Which blogs do you follow? And do you have a twitter account? Obviously it’s not necessary to keep up to date with every cyber fad that comes along, but from the comfort of your dining room table you can do some fancy things these days. It will be worthwhile to get to grips with internet shopping, for example, if you haven’t already done so. And to connect with groups online that are interested in the kinds of things you are interested in. Believe it or not, through the internet you can establish a real sense of being part of a community of, say, chess enthusiasts.
Smell the daisies
Something that is truly good for both body and soul is taking a stroll in nature. And when you have spent several hours immersed in cyberspace, this is just what you need. You can find out whether there are walking or hiking groups in your area, or you could arrange to take regular walks with a friend at set times. When you were still working, you would hope for good weather at the weekend; now you can simply make use of a sunny day with no restrictions. Or simply take a book and some bottled water along to the park on a nice day.
Pets are priceless
The value that an animal can add to your life is enormous: They are loyal, loving, devoted friends who will encourage you to be more active, make you feel special and needed, relieve stress and provide companionship 24/7.