The word retirement begs mixed emotions, finally you can be the master of your own time and yet feel a vacum. This is natural. After years of trying to do the best to work towards a secure future, pursuing deadlines and fitting packed schedules some free time is a great expectation.. You probably would like to enjoy your freedom to do as much or as little, when you want and how you want. Life is now all about relaxation and enjoyment. Fast forward this life to six months and you see a bored, dejected person who is looking to kill his time one way or the other. The activities that were so interesting six months back, do not excite anymore.
So how should you plan your life post-retirement?
Here are some options which can give you some content to plan your life in retirement.
Spend some time travelling to places you always thought of travelling but never had the time or the resources. Look up some places on the internet which are among the most visited places in India or abroad. Try visiting places that are not on the internet. You may discover something new and exciting there which no one has talked about. Spread the word through social media. Make the place popular. Live among the locals and enrich your cultural experience. This will expand your horizons and rejuvenate you. You may find it so fulfilling that you end up traveling every year or maybe a couple of times a year. You may also discover a place that has great retirement homes for senior citizens or an Independent senior citizen community. You may eventually decide to be part of one such community. There are so many possibilities. All you need is a travel plan and a budget.
Volunteer for a cause that was always very close to your heart. Can you do something about it? You may like to spend a few hours every week for the cause. Volunteer for a charity which is already doing commendable work. If you do not have one, read about the most common issues affecting society. You may just start working for a cause or align with an organization. You will enjoy the interaction with like-minded people and may end up contributing in a manner which you yourself may not have ever dreamt of. Many retirees have aligned themselves with Cancer Support, Animal care, Heart Foundation, Senior citizen forums or local charities and have benefited a lot. It not only keeps you engaged but also gives the motivation and confidence that you can change few things even if they are small. Every little helps as the slogan goes.
You always thought computers are the most difficult thing to learn while at work. This is the time when you can simply do a course in basic computer skills and start preparing your excel sheet for expenses to begin with. You can play many interesting games on computers or simply write your first short story. Learn to do Google hangouts to keep in touch with the younger generation of your family or spend time on Facebook or whatsapp. You do not need to be an expert in computer but the basic skill will get you through. Who knows the next best thing for you will be to teach computers to your friends in the same age group. If working with plants excites you, learn gardening. Spending time with nature among plants will enhance your health and rejuvenate you thoroughly. Gardening is very therapeutic. You may also start plant and tree identification. Pick up a book on the local plants and start identifying the flora around you. When you identify a tree successfully you will be so amazed to find that the nature’s treasure was just round the corner and you never paid attention to it. Share that with people around you. Cooking is an art and not a science. If vegetables, spices and herbs excite your senses, discover some great recipe and try it out. A new recipe every week will help you perfect the art of cooking. Select a hobby as per your interest and skill and do it consistently. Many senior citizen living homes or retirement homes encourage its residents to pick up a hobby and also help and guide them in perfecting it.
Choose a sport according to your level of stamina and strength. Swimming is one easy sport to take up which is mild on knees and provides the necessary cardio-vascular exercise. You can continue this sport till a very old age and get a long term health benefit.
Another sport is running or brisk walking. Yoga is holistic and provides all round health benefits. Whether it is long term health benefit or simply cardio-vascular exercise, sports ensure a healthy mental state and positive frame of mind.
Yes, if you must, then work. Look for a low stress full time or part time job which provides you with some money so that paying your bills does not erode your savings and lessen your financial worries. Pick up a job where you can maximize your social interactions. Social engagements are necessary to provide the mental stimulation. Mental stimulation and problem solving are good for maintaining thinking skills. Social engagement is associated with staving off chronic diseases.
The old age diseases like Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and dementia are mostly seen in adults who have little or no social interactions. Most medical studies have shown that social environment, particularly family relationships, can affect one’s behavior and mental health. A study analyzing the correlation between loneliness and risk of developing AD revealed that lonely people had higher risk of AD compared with persons who were not lonely. It is also reported that we can prevent cognitive decline and delay the onset of AD if we keep mentally active and frequently participate in social activities. If you are living in a retirement home or senior living community, look for work within the community like helping in the kitchen, helping with accounts, maintaining lawns and gardens, housekeeping where you can keep yourself busy, interact with many different people and your work is valued and it is overall mentally and financially rewarding.
You may start with one of the above or may do more than one at a time. Assess your interest, your pace and your penchant for each one of the above. Whichever appeals to you instantly, just go for it. Do not spend a lot of time analyzing. Remember you now have the freedom to choose and the time to do it. You just need to make a choice.