As the human lifespan continues to increase, we’ve created an ever-increasing array of activities to fill our golden years. There are now so many options that, if you want to, you can be busier than you were before retiring!
Some people look forward to a relaxing lifestyle on the beach or in the mountains. Others want to continue to do everything they can for their communities through volunteering and activism. Still others look forward to the ability to pursue their favorite hobbies full-time, whether that’s lovingly planting a garden or roaring down the highway on a motorcycle with Bon Jovi on their motorcycle helmet speakers.
Whatever you want to do during your retirement, there’s probably a chance to do it. Here are seven ways to keep your retirement exciting and joyful. Each appeals to a slightly different persuasion, but that’s the beautiful thing about retirement: The time is yours to do whatever you want!
1. Traveling the World
It’s a pretty big world out there, and chances are that even by the time you retire, there will still be a good chunk of it that you haven’t seen. That’s why many people take retirement as an opportunity to explore places new to them.
Many tour organizers cater specifically to retirees and can help create a tailored experience for you. It’s also a great idea to make learning a language one of your retirement hobbies. Knowing a local language at least conversationally will help open a lot of doors for you if you decide to travel more independently.
2. Riding Motorcycles
Some people associate motorcycles with youth culture, so they might be surprised to learn that many riders on the roads are actually pushing 60 or even 70! As it turns out, the adrenaline rush and classic cool of a motorcycle never go out of style–even when most of your clothes have.
If you want to spend your golden years astride a Harley but you don’t know how to ride yet, start now–no matter what age you are. The sooner you learn to ride, the more time you’ll be able to spend sharpening your skills and figuring out which type of bike suits you. Riding is also a great social activity if you grab a motorcycle helmet communication system so you can talk to your friends while you’re on the road.
Gardening is a hobby that rewards patience, love and attention to detail. In other words, it’s the ideal retirement hobby—and did we mention how lovely it can make your property look? Whether it’s the functional beauty of a produce garden or the delightful colors of ornamental plants, gardening is a great way to create a space that feels harmonious and lively.
Growing your own produce has some extra benefits as well: It can help improve your diet and your access to organic, pesticide-free fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, if you become an expert at it, you can even sell your extra produce at farmers’ markets for a helpful supplemental retirement income.
4. Restoring Cars
Tinkering in the garage is a challenging and satisfying way to while away the hours for many retirees. Some people dedicate themselves to creating an immaculate showpiece that will make waves at the car show, while others prize the idea of turning a vintage Mustang into a daily driver. No matter how you do it, there’s an incredible variety of classic cars out there that are worth restoring.
An important health and safety tip: Make sure to have padded floor mats and a comfortable creeper to protect your knees and back! (We’re not kidding.) And if you’re married or have a significant other, have a little talk before you buy the first car about where it will go and how much money will get spent on it, as this hobby will require an investment of space and resources.
You don’t have to make the NYT Best Seller List to get enjoyment and fulfillment out of writing. It’s a great way to organize your thoughts and record your memories into a form that you (and your family) can cherish and keep forever.
There are a million possible directions to go with writing. Try not to constrain yourself too much. Go with what seems interesting and feels good to write about. Can’t think of anything to write about today? Write down an interesting anecdote you remember from years ago. It could lead to a short story, an editorial piece or just the simple preservation of a memory.
6. Taking Classes
Always wanted to dive into Russian literature, but never had the chance? Maybe you never finished a degree and want to go back? Take a class at a local (or online) educational institution because you’re never too old to expand your mind.
Many universities offer seniors the ability to audit classes at no cost, meaning they can sit in on lectures without having to worry about grades or coursework (so long as space is available). If you’re seeking a specific degree, you may qualify for substantial tuition discounts as a senior citizen. Talk to the educational institution you’re interested in to learn about their opportunities for retirees.
If you feel the need to keep helping your community, volunteering is one of the best ways to use your retired years. Retirees make up a crucial component of America’s volunteer workforce. They volunteer in animal shelters, parks, charity events and all kinds of other important community spaces.
There’s an amazing variety of organizations and events that need volunteers, so for most people, it’s easy to find a cause they feel passionate about working for. Pick a cause that’s close to your heart (whether that’s animal welfare, voter engagement, community beautification or something else) and find local organizations that promote it. Then, sign up to volunteer. Chances are, they’ll be glad to have you.
Your retirement can be whatever you want it to be! By thinking about your options before you retire, you’ll help set yourself up for a fun and fulfilling trip through your golden years.