So you made it the golden years. Congratulations! If you believe the advice you’ve heard for decades, these are supposed to be the best times of your life.
But not everyone sees retirement the same.
Now that you’re actually facing it down, you might not be quite as excited about this time as you thought you were going to be. That’s okay. Like any other transitional season in your life, it takes getting used to.
If all you’re doing is getting up, going through the motions, then sleeping, that’s going to get old quickly. Life after retirement shouldn’t be a series of monotonous days. You are still worthy and you still have purpose.
Since you aren’t stuck adhering to a schedule and responsibilities, you get to direct your purpose-filled days! Here are seven ways you can find meaning in your retirement and enjoy every minute to its fullest.
1. Focus On Your Health
As we get older, it’s harder to stay in shape. Our bodies decline at a more rapid pace, requiring extra work from us just to maintain, much less get ahead.
Unfortunately, that’s not an excuse to let yourself go.
For years, you may have said you were going to lose those few extra pounds or start watching what you eat. But it’s so easy for our health to take a backseat to daily life until we’re forced to pay attention to it.
Now that you have the time, there are no more excuses. In retirement, it’s critical that you exercise and eat well.
You have the time to get educated on what it takes to power your newly retired body. Join a gym or devise an in-home workout plan. Learn about nutrition and make healthy meals.
As you get in shape, you will naturally feel better, both mentally and physically!
2. Get That Education
Henry Ford said it best: “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”
Life is changing fast. You can either let it overwhelm and scare you, or you can try to keep up. If you’ve always wanted to go back to school, never let your age be what stops you.
Education looks a lot different than it used to, and you would be pleasantly surprised to see the age diversity in today’s classroom. In fact, the record for the oldest college grad is Nola Ochs, at 95 years young!
Nervous about using a computer for school? Don’t be! There are lots of people willing to help you learn technology if you look.
Even if you don’t plan on going back to school, that doesn’t have to stop you from learning more. Once you’re comfortable using a computer, sign up for free online courses that interest you.
3. Start A Side Business
Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you can’t work. It means you now get to choose what you do based on your interests! Why not start a side business doing what you love?
Small business entrepreneurs make up a huge percentage of global commerce today. With millions of people successfully running their own businesses, there are lots of tips to get you started once you find your niche.
What hobby or skill do you have that people will pay you for? What are your interests? How can you develop them into a marketable business?
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Decide what you want to do, figure out where you want to do it from, and dive right in! You have plenty of time to learn the next step when you get there!
4. Join A Social Group
The importance of socializing for our mental health is now recognized in ways never understood before. Research shows that connecting with others is important to our mental and physical health.
Do you have that friend or family member that replenishes your happiness levels just by being around them? Think of them like your battery charger, and “plug in” to them as much as you can. Spending time with positive people has almost tangible effects on your mind and body.
When we work all the time, it’s not so easy to have a social life, though. Busy schedules, family demands, and exhaustion prevent a lot of interaction.
You have more time on your hands now, and even though you’re retired, you don’t have to be alone. Join a social group like MeetUp or a local organization in your town. These groups cater to a wide range of interests and age levels.
5. Volunteer For A Cause
A common complaint from many retirees is that they feel like they lack purpose. Sure, it’s great to have the freedom to do whatever you want, but without direction, that can quickly become lonely.
One way to avoid the downward spiral into empty days is to donate your time as a volunteer. Volunteering is crucial to many businesses and nonprofits. In many cases, you don’t even have to leave your home to make a difference.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a volunteer but didn’t know where to start or think you had anything to offer. With so many organizations in need of help, the fact that you are willing is all that is necessary to get started.
There are plenty of volunteer opportunities that don’t require a background in anything specific. For instance, you could help out by taking care of animals at the shelter or tutoring low-income students.
Once you open the door to finding volunteer roles, you will see that there is truly more need than help. Your time would be greatly appreciated.
6. Take Control Of Your Finances
Life on a fixed income can be nerve-wracking, but if you don’t take control of your finances, you’ll always be scrimping. You don’t have to feel helpless as you live on a tight budget if you actively manage your finances.
There are many ways to make some side money, or you can take what you already have and use it wisely.
Start your own side gig, invest in real estate property, or find a financial planner to help you navigate the stock market. You can even make money playing games and taking surveys online!
The first step is to decide how you want to live your life and what you need to get there. Then, take action to put your bank account in the right position to do it!
7. Work On That Bucket List
For years, you’ve put everyone else’s needs first and only taken time off when it was “approved.” How many vacations have you wished for but never been able to make into reality?
Now, you have the time to knock out that bucket list you’ve always dreamed of. With a computer in front of you, it has never been easier to travel, learn a hobby, or do everything else on your list.
Exploring the world is different today, too. If you have a list of destinations you’ve always wanted to see, it might be a lot cheaper than you think to get there.
Invest in a camper for inexpensive long-distance travel, or learn the excitement of Airbnb hopping. You have your whole life in front of you; it’s time to cross those dreams off your bucket list!
Life after retirement really can be one long vacation if you know how to spend your days. Fill them with purpose and the things you want to do and you’ll see that, even when you’re working, you find new meaning in every moment.
Leon Grundstein has more than 28 years of experience in real estate development, with over two decades of experience in the retirement industry. He founded Tacoma Point Ruston with a game-changing business model to promote a healthy and robust retirement lifestyle for older adults.