It seems counter-intuitive that after decades of working, raising children, taking care of housework and home maintenance chores, and just living the “daily grind,” it can be difficult to step back and actually ENJOY retirement. But many seniors today find the extensive free time suddenly available to them in retirement can be challenging to fill with meaningful or productive activities. You’ve earned this time to spend how you want instead of having others constantly dictating your schedule, but now what? Don’t fall into the trap of passing idle hours in front of the TV or Facebook every day; there’s a whole world of options to keep boredom from catching up with you!
We’ve got some suggestions here to get you started, and we’d love to hear your good ideas on our Explore Retirement Living Facebook page, too! Be sure to give us a “Like”!
Reconnect with old friends (and make new ones)
Before retirement, you probably felt that you never had enough time to see friends and extended family as often as you wanted. Everyone was always so busy with work and immediate household family demands that you were lucky to see a favorite sibling or your best friends from your school days a few times per year. Now’s the time to get back in touch and set up a regular lunch or get-together. Your friends are retiring now, too, and they’re looking for ways to enjoy retirement, just like you! Grab coffee and chat about what’s new in your life, take a walk or jog together, or check out some local shops.
Not sure about venues for these activities around town? Our retirement communities have cafes, fitness trails, and shops as amenities right on their individual campuses. If driving all over the place to meet up with friends doesn’t sound like fun, retirement community living may be more your style. There are lots of benefits, including getting to know many new friends whose lives are similar to your own.
By now, we’re all familiar with the concept of a “bucket list,” and it’s likely you have one filled with far-flung and exotic places you’ve always wanted to travel. Retirement is a great time to book those once-in-a-lifetime cruises and trips, of course, but you can also plan daytrips in the local area that don’t need to cost much money or involve lots of planning. There are almost certainly plenty of places like museums, farmers’ markets, historical sites, and other tourist-type attractions right in your back yard that you’ve never discovered. In the Lancaster County area, you can find information about some of these places in our Helpful Resources listing.
Would you rather travel with a group? Again, you’ll find our local retirement communities always have fun trips planned. Even if you don’t currently live within a particular community, bus trips and other excursions, as well as events, are sometimes open to non-residents. You’ll want to get in touch with a community near you to get on their mailing list or connect on social media for updates.
Similar to now having more time to travel, retirement offers opportunities to pursue hobbies you enjoy, but that you may have neglected in the past. Do you like to garden, restore cars, hike, sew, paint, cook, play cards and board games, or care for pets (as just a few examples)? Or would you like to get into any of these hobbies (or others)? You now have the time and freedom to take a class or really concentrate on your favorite pastimes! And also much like travel experiences, our local retirement communities have an amazing array of groups and classes dedicated to hobbies of all kinds, from model train clubs to recreational sports teams and from art studios to garden plots.
Volunteer your time and talents
During their working years, many professionals often feel like they don’t have nearly enough time to “give back” through volunteerism. In retirement, you now have the time, as well as the years of experience and wisdom in your given profession, or a greater understanding of your natural talents and gifts overall, to really benefit non-profit organizations in your area. With limited staffing and funds, non-profits are always looking for extra help. Join a board of trustees, help out with events, or even just offer to help fundraise for your favorite causes. Whether you’re interested in supporting specific disease-related causes, community service organizations like your local library or volunteer fire department, animal welfare-related charities, religious groups, or your local schools and youth organizations, there are so many ways to do good in your spare time.
Don’t stop working
Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean that you can’t still earn a paycheck! While you probably don’t want to work full-time hours any more, there are plenty of part-time job opportunities that don’t require physically demanding labor or working in uncomfortable environments. If you worked full-time for many years, a former employer may even be interested in having you back to help around the office or run errands. Let’s face it, many businesses have lots of little tasks that no one on staff has time to get to. Check around with businesses in your community to see if they need help, or if you don’t know where to start, check job aggregator websites like Indeed.com for specific part-time job listings. Friends and family may also have some leads for you, so don’t forget the importance of networking, even for part-time jobs! And with the internet, little “side gigs” are only a few clicks away. Sell your crafts on a site like Etsy, drive for a ride-sharing service, or look for flexible remote job offerings via services like Flexjobs.com.
Just slow down and take in the view
So far, we’ve focused on ways to keep busy as the best means to enjoy retirement, but going, going, going isn’t for everyone. You’ve worked hard in your life and you deserve this spare time to just enjoy quiet moments. Listen to music, read a book, enjoy nature, go for a walk. Or, yes…even watch some TV or spend time checking out what your friends and neighbors are up to on Facebook! Above all, do what makes you happy. And if you’re curious about all of the great opportunities that our local retirement communities have to offer to keep busy or kick back, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch now to learn about our fantastic Lancaster County Retirement Options and our annual Explore Retirement Open House.