Retirement: no longer a word associated with silver-haired folk shuffling about in comfy slippers. The weekly post-office queue for pension collection is a thing of the past and nowadays the more mature members of our society are just as likely to be getting excited about exploring around Europe as they are about picking up a free bus-pass.
There’s been a shift in society, the lines around what is considered to be “age-appropriate” have softened and blurred. Once upon a time retirement got tangled up with being “old.” Not any more – retirement is now about having the time, resources and flexibility to do whatever you please. The traditional hobbies associated with retirement remain, but nowadays knitting is just as popular with middle-aged professionals seeking a change of pace. The bingo hall is just as likely to be frequented by a gaggle of students and allotments are all the rage as people do their best to eat green and be lean.
As you enter retirement the question is simple – how do you want to spend your time? The switch from working to not working can be a huge jump and adjusting to life with a less strict routine can be a challenge to begin with. But look on it as a chance to take up cycling, learn German, go on your first skiing holiday, read all the books you’ve longed to devour, learn how to play chess or become a bee-keeper. The point is to do whatever it is you want to do, and enjoy every minute.
A Sporting Chance
Swimming, yoga, squash, tap dancing; being active is a plus when you are in your older years. It helps to keep you fit and well. You don’t have to bungee jump or decide to scale Everest, but challenging yourself is good for the body and the mind.
Let Your Creative Juices Flow
Fancy treading the boards and taking the lead at your local am-dram group? Or are you desperate to banish the soggy bottom from your sponge?
Perhaps you want to learn to capture the landscape via a palette of oil colours or through the lens of your camera? With a bit of extra time on your hands you can indulge your creative side.
Boost Your Grey Matter
Always fancied learning to speak Italian (the language of love – even ordering a pizza sounds romantic), or keen on getting that degree in psychology? Maybe you just want to spend the afternoon cracking the Times crossword or becoming a whizz at Sudoku. Anything that keeps your mind active is a plus. There’s always something new to learn.
Restore old friendships, catch up over coffee, and be open to making new friends as you develop your new-found hobbies and interests. Love should never be off the cards either, if you are married or in an existing relationship and you are both retired you can take this time to strengthen bonds. Enjoy one another again, intimacy comes in many forms, but there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a sexually active relationship. Don’t let medical problems get in the way, seek advice if needs be. There’s no stigma attached to asking your GP for the little blue pill to help you to enhance your love life.
Seek Out the New
Travelling the world is an option, but just keeping things new and fresh can be as good as a holiday. If you’ve always favoured the same coffee shop or restaurant it’s time to shake it up and go somewhere new. Don’t fall into the same daily routine; now you have the luxury of flexibility it’s important use it. Fancy a late night and a lie in? Go for it. Don’t shy away from new experiences, this is the time to try out the many things you’ve thought about but never felt you had the time or energy to do. If you are worried about facing new things alone, seek out like-minded individuals, go on a group holiday to Canada, or look for breaks that offer the opportunity to combine your hobby with meeting new friends.