I think one of the most common concerns with retirement is boredom. Now if I worked, came home and watched TV… okay, that would be reasonable to think I would be bored. The fact is, you would be bored because you are a boring person. That doesn’t necessarily change once you retire.
We want to do something but put it off because we don’t have time or work shifts or can’t afford to. When the time comes and we do have time, no more shifts to work and kids are out of the house we may find our interests have changed.
We can’t just fill our time going for coffee with friends. This can be a scary proposition. You are going to have to really think about what you would like to do.
Some people start out doing quite a bit of traveling and you can research offbeat places, travel off-season and leave on a moment’s notice for a great price. You can’t travel all the time.
What can you do?
You can do what you want. The sky’s the limit. But I can hear you now… There are so many things at my age I can’t do.
That may be a clue that the first thing to do is to focus on your health. There are a lot of senior classes in rec centers to rebuild your health. Many are at a lower fee.
Join a walking group. That usually entails the cost of your coffee.
Join a seniors center. They have games that keep your mind in shape like bridge, mah-jong or whist. They frequently have lunches at cost and some have dances in the afternoon.
Mental Health — Connection is the best antidote to loneliness.
Loneliness is toxic and has clear consequences for mental health, depression, aggravating anxiety and stress-related symptoms states Naz Beheshti (www.nazbeheshti.com). She is an executive wellness coach and consultant.
Vivek H. Murthy, former Surgeon General of the United States concluded that loneliness kills. He says it poses a greater threat to health than obesity, and its life-shortening effects are comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
So what to do? Get out there and meet new people. There are so many ways to do this.
There are so many groups that need volunteers. Take it easy and start with giving a couple of hours a week. See where there is a need. What do you have an interest in and who needs your special skill set?
Maybe you were a career accountant and could offer to do the books for a group. Either as a year-end project or on a monthly basis.
Are you an organizer? The local food bank could use your skills.
Do you know how to raise funds for a charity? Find a group needing your talent.
Start slow and find where you have a match. This will not only introduce you to a whole new group of people but your sense of doing something good is invaluable.
My father said that if you want something done — Always ask a busy person. I noticed that the more elderly ladies in our complex are rather shy when we have get-togethers so I thought we should have a regular event for them. I was trying to think of who could start something when it occurred to me. I could easily get it going and put up a sign saying anyone that would like to attend a craft group to come to the clubhouse every other Tuesday afternoon.
A few were worried because they had arthritis in their hands and couldn’t knit or crochet as they once had. I told them we could use their expertise and to just come to enjoy the other ladies’ company.
I told them that my abilities were slim to nil when it came to knitting or crocheting but I can bring nice cookies and know my way around the coffee and teapot. That is what I add. They have reminded me how to cast on and I have started a scarf. It has been a year and a half and my scarf has turned into a lap blanket. I guess that I cast on a few too many stitches. A few more years and I will have it completed!
Some of these ladies are in their eighties. When we get together they are so much fun. We laugh and the two hours are gone in a flash. A bonus is that these ladies know how to bake and we always have homemade cookies by somebody.
Learn something new
I wanted to learn to write. I had begun to write a cozy murder mystery and needed to learn more. I signed up to learn to write on Medium with Shaunta Grimes and Shannon Ashley and my learning started! I kept learning online with different writers and right now I am blogging when I can. I am so busy that I barely have time to write and read all the blogs on Medium that I like.
Like to read? Join a book club. Go to the local library and get yourself a card and check out the bulletin board. Lots of book clubs use the library as a place to meet. They frequently need helpers with new immigrants learning the language. The library has many opportunities for you.
Never had time to cook the way you want or you are suddenly single and have no idea how to cook for one? The senior and community centers have cooking classes to teach all sorts of ethnic dishes and how to cook for just one. Great place to meet new friends.
Some retire, downsize and move to a different area where former neighbors and friends are not around. This can be hard on anyone. Don’t isolate, give your time to a charity of your choice and learn something new. You won’t have time to be bored!
As Naz Beheshti says “the opposite of feeling isolated is knowing that your voice matters and is valued.” Remember to extend a friendly smile or a hello. They are free and can mean a lot to a lot of people.