Today, more people than ever are beginning a new phase in life. Now that children have grown and gone and a lifetime of work has come to a halt, it’s time to move on to retirement. Often people dream of retiring, only to feel overwhelmed by their newfound time and freedom. But retirement is a wonderful opportunity; it is your chance to do all those things you always wanted to do but just couldn’t find time for. After decades of rushing around, meeting deadlines, and never stopping, you finally have the option to slow down and decide what you really want to do with your time. So take advantage of it, and start living life to the fullest.
Be an Agent of Change: Consider volunteering your time and energy for a cause you believe in. There are many organizations and grassroots efforts that can make real differences in the world. Now is a great time to lend a hand. Whether you are concerned with our education system, environment, or politics, you’ll be able to find a group trying to make positive changes. Taking your mind off your own problems and focusing on issues bigger than yourself is a great way to give your life increased meaning and purpose.
Work Your Mind: You’re never too old to learn something new, and now that you have more time available you are in the perfect position to learn. Take a sculpture class or start playing an instrument. Having a new challenge to work on is highly rewarding. Have you ever checked out the continuing education courses available at the local college? You might be surprised at just how many affordable classes are offered. Enrolling in a class or two is a great way to keep the mind sharp and to meet new people.
Consider Mentoring: There are many mentoring opportunities that let you share your vast experience and knowledge with someone less experienced. Children who have the benefit of a positive role model have a distinct advantage in life. Look into local mentoring groups and get involved. Maybe coaching a sports team is more your style? Whatever you decide to do, providing advice and assistance to a younger generation is truly rewarding, and it allows you to make a lasting impact on the world.
Meet New People: Take the time to make new friends. Socializing is a great way to spend time and learn new things. Call up relatives you haven’t seen in awhile, or reconnect with old friends. Many people lose touch with friends while working every day, but now that you’re retired, you can socialize all you like! Perhaps you’d like to join a local club or group? Visit your library or search online to find what clubs are in your area. Joining a book club or bird watching club can be a great way to meet new people.
Be on the Move: Whether you like to kayak, hike, swim, or walk, keep on moving! Exercise will help your body to feel fit and healthy, and it will elevate your mood and keep you feeling your best. You don’t have to overdo it. Just make sure you move. Go out dancing a couple times a week. Go for a morning walk. It doesn’t matter how you chose to keep moving, just make sure you move. Even spending time each day rocking in your favorite rocking chair will have a positive effect.
See the World: Are there places you’ve always wanted to visit but have still never seen? Why not plan a trip and finally see the sights you’ve always dreamed of seeing. There are so many amazing things to see in this world and now is the best time to see them. If you aren’t sure about traveling alone, then look into a travel group. Traveling with a group is a great way to see new places. If you aren’t sure about traveling the world, then simply see new sights in your own country, state, or town. You don’t have to go far just to see something new.
Bring Home an Animal: If you don’t have a pet, then now may be a great time to get one. Whether you consider yourself a dog person or cat person, spending time with an animal will give your life additional meaning. Maybe you’ve always wanted a parrot or cockatoo? Take a look at the offerings of your local pet store. Better yet, visit the local animal shelter to see the animals in need of a home. You might just fall in love with a new furry friend.
These tips are just suggestions to help you enhance your happiness and well being. But there is so much more you can do! This really is your chance to do things you’ve always wanted to do and to make a real difference in the world. So get out there and get involved, stay active, and keep learning.
By Kimberly Aardal for Not Just the Kitchen