Contrary to popular belief, for most people, retirement isn’t just leisure time. These days, retirees look forward to staying engaged throughout their retirement years. Think about it—you may not be working, but you still want your life to have meaning and engagement. Exactly what that means will vary from person to person, but it’s a good idea to start figuring out what it’ll look like for you before you retire.
If you’re already daydreaming about retirement but aren’t exactly sure how you’ll fill your days, here are some ideas to get you started.
Learn a language. If you love to travel, learning a language might be worth your while. Not only will it help you navigate future trips, you’ll also boost your cognitive skills and memory. Even better, many libraries offer language-learning software for free.
Run your own business. Some people retire and never look back. For others, retirement is the perfect time to pursue a business they’ve always wanted to open. As it turns out, more and more retirees are pursuing the entrepreneurial lifestyle—26% of new entrepreneurs in 2017 fell into the 55 to 64 age group.
Dedicate time to a hobby. Hobbies don’t just occupy your time, they’re great for your health, both physical and mental. For example, you might enjoy lower blood pressure and better overall fitness. If you’ve been longing to get into woodworking or baking, retirement is the time to do it. But if you’re not sure what you’ll enjoy, start by considering what you currently enjoy, as well as something you’ve always wanted to try.
Indulge your creativity. You don’t have to be good at art to enjoy the mental and physical benefits. Creating art, whether it’s painting, writing, photography, dance, or something else, can help lower overall stress. The toughest part might be choosing which to pursue. Why not start with something you’ve always wanted to try and go from there?
Get outdoors. Spending time outside is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy mental health benefits. Whether you like hiking, fishing, gardening, or bird watching, you’ll probably feel a little less stressed when you come back inside. There are probably local and state parks to enjoy nearby. Seniors can also enjoy a lifetime pass to the national parks for $80 a year and get some beautiful sights to boot.
Learn to sail or drive an RV or motorcycle. Adopting an alternative mode of transportation can give you a good excuse to learn a new skill. Local shops may offer instruction on motorcycle or RV operation. If you think you’d be more suited to the open seas (or lakes or rivers) check with local colleges and yacht clubs to find out whether they offer lessons.