When most people think about retirement, they picture older people sitting in a rocking chair, reading the newspaper, or spending time on the couch watching television all day. However, after you retire it doesn’t have to be a time for you to wait around and die. Many retirees are active and living full lives.
A great thing about being retired is you have time to explore and try things you’ve always wanted to do. This is your time to focus on yourself and realize long-held dreams and goals. Here are 10 things to do with your time when you retire.
1. Start an encore career
Have you been curious about a particular career, but you never pursued it due to lack of time or resources? Why not try on a whole new career once you leave your current one? One way to pursue a new gig after you retire is to enter an encore career (also known as a second-act career). Roughly 47% of retirees say they have worked or plan to work during retirement. In addition, about 72% of pre-retirees age 50 and over say they want to keep working after they retire, according to a Merrill Lynch and Age Wave study.
Next: Hit the books.
2. Go back to school
Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you should stop learning. In 2009, students age 25 and older accounted for 40% of all undergraduate and graduate students. That number is expected to rise to 43% by 2020. Now is as good a time as any to learn something new and interesting. Many schools even offer senior discounts on some classes, so you won’t have to worry about breaking the bank. If you’re not interested in pursuing a degree, you can always take a few independent courses and take classes just for fun. There are also plenty of online and on-campus certificate programs you can consider.
Next: Get moving.
3. Get active
It’s important to stay active during your golden years. If you maintain a sedentary lifestyle, you’ll put yourself at risk for developing disease. So instead of using all your time off to rest, get moving. One retiree did just that. At 101 years old, Julia Hawkins received a lot of media attention because she is still strong enough to bike and run regularly. She recently became the oldest female athlete to ever compete in the USA Track and Field Outdoors Masters Championships. Hawkins proves it’s never too late to get active — she just started training for track and field in 2016.
Next: Give back.
Retirement can be a lonely time. This is especially true if most of your close friends and family are still working. You might have no one to talk to during the day. However, you can still connect with others and make an impact by volunteering your time. There are plenty of organizations that would be happy to have an extra helping hand.
And when you volunteer you’re not only helping others but also your mind and body. Studies have shown volunteering can be good for your health. In fact, a study from Carnegie Mellon University found adults age 50 and older who volunteer regularly have a reduced risk of developing high blood pressure than those who don’t volunteer.
Next: See the world.
5. Travel the world
Now is the time to answer the call of that travel bug that’s been pestering you all those years. Dip your toes in the ocean in Barbados, or fly out to France for a romantic getaway with your partner. If you’ve planned accordingly, now is the time to finally take those trips you’ve been dreaming of. Roughly 83% of boomers said travel is a top bucket list item, according to AARP research.
Next: Try something new.
6. Try a new hobby
On the days when you aren’t traveling the world or riding your bike, explore a new hobby. This can help keep your mind active and assist you with meeting new people who share a common interest. What’s even more exciting about taking on a hobby during retirement is you could even make some cash on the side. Some examples of hobbies that could be turned into money making opportunities are writing, event planning, and professional organizing.
Next: Spend time with loved ones.
7. Reconnect with family
You’ll also have a lot more time to spend with your family now that you’re settling into this new phase in your life. If you are looking for an additional source of income, you can offer to babysit your grandchildren or any other young children in the family. This way you can earn some extra cash and strengthen family ties. A University of Chicago study found 60% of grandparents provided some care for their grandchildren during a 10-year period.
Next: Share what you know.
8. Be a mentor
At this point, you’ve learned a thing or two about life. Share your knowledge and life experience with someone who is struggling to find the right path. Perhaps you can impart valuable career advice or offer parenting tips. Regardless of how you find a way to contribute, know you have a lot to offer the world. If you’re looking for mentorship opportunities, one place you can start is Mentoring.org.
Next: Meet some new people.
9. Join a senior center
Another way to make the most of your time and form social connections is to join your local senior center. These days, senior centers offer more than just sitting around and playing bingo all day. Many centers take participants on trips, hold celebrations, offer exercise classes, and provide educational seminars. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be age 65 or older to join a senior center. Most centers welcome participants starting at age 50. So if you decide to retire a little early, you can still join.
Next: Check off all those dreams.
10. Work on your bucket list
Roughly 46% of all baby boomers have a bucket list, according to AARP. Take the time you have during your golden years to check off the items on your list that you haven’t had the chance to accomplish. If you don’t have a bucket list, now is your opportunity to make one. Don’t let another moment slip by without experiencing the food, places, and activities you’ve dreamed about.
Follow Sheiresa on Twitter @SheiresaNgo.