Published Monday 2 March 2020
Ah, the joys of retirement – long, lazy days with no agenda, no commitments and, best of all, no work! It sounds like a dream on the outside looking in, but, in reality, luxurious idleness isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
In fact, if your mind has been active all your working life, a sudden lack of stimulation can be quite jarring and disorientating.
The best retirement is an active and busy retirement. And that means finding the right retirement activities to keep your mind and body healthy.
So here for your recreational enrichment are some of the best retirement hobbies for a fulfilling life after work.
Here’s a nice leisurely one to start. And while regular reading is always a good way to stimulate your mind, interactive reading is even better. Joining a book club creates a fun reading challenge and takes your page-turning experience to a whole new level.
What is a book club, you may ask. Well, it’s a group of likeminded people who love to discuss books, story, style and message. As a book club member, you will be given a book to read and chances are the whole group will be reading the same book with you. You’ll then get together to compare notes and read between the lines (so to speak).
Effectively, you become a book critic analysing plot, prose and pace, as well as delving into any deeper meanings in the story. It’s a great way to get your brain working in positive ways. It’s a win-win. Not only does a book club get you into a healthy reading habit, it’s a stimulating social event.
Yes, we’re now getting more energetic with a bit of hiking. Hiking is really just walking without the nasty city fumes and boring streetscapes. Instead it offers fresh air and all the joys of Mother Nature, not to mention a good low impact workout.
So do the research on your local area and find some suitable trails for your fitness level. Take it slowly to start and avoid anything too steep. Walk with a friend at a conversational pace and try ten minutes in, ten minutes back to begin with.
Here’s a highly creative hobby you can add to your hiking expeditions – photography. Viewing your surroundings from a photographer’s perspective helps you see things in an entirely new light. It’s also a great way to build a gallery of memories and celebrate nature in your own artistic way.
And don’t stop there. Once the photography bug bites, you’ll be snapping anything in sight from family and friends to animals.
Do you need expensive equipment? Not these days; most mobile phones now come with high definition cameras, perfect for getting your new hobby up and running.
Twiddle your green fingers, not your thumbs. Few hobbies offer more rewards than gardening. For a start, it’s a mild workout digging, planting and weeding. Then there are all the rewards of seeing your flowers bloom and your veggies grace your plate.
Gardening is an addictive science and an ever-evolving learning experience. It’s the perfect hobby for body and soul.
Another great addition to your hiking and photography; birdwatching gives you three hobbies at once! Stopping to admire the birdlife also helps to keep your hike from getting too strenuous and lets you have a breather.
The basic principles of birdwatching are simple: observe and identify. Carry a small book of local birds to help you match birds to names and enrich your wildlife education.
And yes, do keep your intake of the vegetable kind as high as possible, but these greens come with fairways, clubs and considerable, fall-about laughter; especially if you’re not very good.
Golf is another one of those addictive hobbies and an ideal way to spend a few hours chipping your way around on a sunny afternoon. If you’ve never played, find a driving range and have a practice. Or just grab a friend and some rental clubs and chuckle your way around the course.
And if you’ve no idea where to play, Google public courses in your local area. Oh, and it’s probably not a good idea to join a golf club if you’re a complete novice. Private clubs can be a bit stuffy and intimidating, especially if your air swings are holding up the pros.
Whether it’s a biography, novel or kids’ picture book, writing stimulates the creative lobe of your brain in all the right ways. Not only that, it’s an exciting journey to create something meaningful through words. Seriously, the construction of a powerfully simple, yet profound sentence is a joyous feeling.
So what would you write? Remember, you’ve lived long enough to have genuine wisdom to impart to the next generation, be that the extended family or a wider audience if you get lucky with a publisher. But even fifty copies of a self-published memoir is a wonderful gift to those you hold dear.
Of course, if you have a great idea for a novel, just start writing. It doesn’t matter how awful your first draft is, just get it down on paper. Then go back and edit. Try to write for at least half an hour every day. That way the story is still fresh in your mind. Leave it for a week at a time and you’ll spend all your time reading back and editing bits you don’t like.
Above all, enjoy the process and let your imagination go wherever it wants.
Create a few fish stories
“It was this big, no, it was this big!” Fishing is, perhaps, the most passive hobby you could ever take up. After all, it involves sitting in a boat or on a river bank with a rod in your hand. Once in a while, you might do a bit of reeling; or at least you hope so. But that’s about it.
And while this rather sedentary pastime may not offer any obvious benefits for mind and body, it is, nevertheless, a form of relaxing meditation. Add a friend or two and tell a few stories about the one that got away.
Or just listen to it. The hobby choices music offers are far too vast to cover here, but let’s scan over a few.
You could learn an instrument – piano, guitar, flute, drums, violin – you get the picture.
You could learn to sing; it’s one of the most magical things you’ll ever do when you start hitting those hard-to-reach notes.
Or you could become a true music appreciator. And that doesn’t mean listening to Mozart while you wash the dishes. It means a good chair, a good sound system or head phones and your full attention. Choose a genre and turn it into a considered musical study.
Here’s a nice creative one to finish. While most homes don’t generally have pottery wheels or kilns, pottery clubs do. And while it takes time to master the art, even the ugliest vase or fruit bowl is a great conversation starter when friends and family pop by for dinner.
So there you have it; a host of hobbies to enhance your retirement and keep you busy in the best possible ways.