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April 24, 2014

You’ve Retired—Now What?

If you’re like most working Americans, retirement is something you’ve looked forward to for a long time. You’ve worked hard, and now it’s your chance to enjoy the life you’ve created for yourself. There’s only one problem: Now that you’re finally retired, you’re not sure what to do with your new free time.

When your days were busy from sun-up to sundown with work and maintaining your household, having fewer obligations probably sounded like a dream. However, as nice as a permanent vacation seemed at first, you might soon find yourself longing for the old days of a regimented schedule.

But before you start sending in job applications, rest assured: You can find plenty to do to fulfill your free time. Retirement is a phase in your life when you can do anything. Here, we discuss five ways you can make the most of your retirement:

  1. Socialize: Find a group, join a club, or simply enjoy having more time for your friends and loved ones. Filling your calendar with social engagements is a great way to keep busy while still relaxing and having fun. Perhaps there’s a local book club you can join or maybe you can start a dinner group with your friends.

  2. Volunteer: You’ve always intended to find time to give back to your community, but between working full-time and raising a family, it was easier said than done. Now that you’re retired, volunteering can become a priority. Find something that ignites your passion and devote your time on a consistent basis. Are you an animal lover? Ask if the local shelter needs volunteers. Book fiend? Consider giving your time to a nearby library.

  3. Study: Remember how you’ve always wanted to learn more about Russian Literature? Or master sign language? Now is your chance! Check out lifelong learning programs, sign up for a class at a community college or create your own course of study through books and online resources. Studying for the sole purpose of personal fulfillment—as opposed to working toward a degree or career advancement—can be a refreshing change of pace.

  4. Explore: Your retirement is a perfect time to take up a new hobby, learn a new skill, or develop your latest passion. Sign up for a pottery class at the local rec center and dust off your old piano and sign up for lessons. As a bonus, exploring a new hobby might also lead you to meeting new friends and discovering more social opportunities.

  5. Hone: If you’re someone who has always been a novice golfer or beginner seamstress, now is your opportunity to hone those skills you’ve been meaning to improve upon. Since you already have a basic understanding of your craft, turning your focus to the finer details can enhance something you’ve previously enjoyed.

There are countless options to productively and enjoyably transition into retirement. Explore your options and find opportunities that bring purpose and joy to your day. You might be surprised with what you discover.

How are you spending your retirement? Tell us about your favorite activities in the comments section below!



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