While on the ferry from Ellis Island to the Statue of Liberty (a tour worthy of your time) I struck up a conversation with a woman, who at 62 years old, had been retired for more than 10 years. I asked her if she ever considered returning to the workforce, and after a resounding NO, she shared with me some of the things she does to add value to other people’s lives; here goes –send cards of encouragement to the sick, despondent and those facing a loss + helps her son with his school-age daughter + gardening + travel (hence the NY tour) – she ended with, best decision I ever made to retire young, now I have time to do whatever I want, and that gives me joy.
A few days later, in conversation with one of our caregivers who’s a retired nurse, and a Certified Home Health Aide, I learned of another thing, retirees do – teach. She mentioned that Tuesday and Friday are the days she home school her 8 year old grandson. Her daughter works three days a week, and the retired nurse helps with two days of home schooling her grandson. Her grandson receives a wonderful education, in a one-on-one setting + family history + life lessons, resulting in what is no doubt, a spectacular head start.
I have spoken with retirees who found leaving the workforce to be a bore, generally they were either looking for work or regretting leaving their work. They seem to have one thing in common though – no service to fill their time.
Some fulfilling activities to do while retired are:
Travel – doesn’t have to be a far off (expensive) place, the NY tour was $50 – the fellowship was priceless! My retirement dream is to own a mobile home and travel the 50 states, I’d throw in Canada and Mexico if my health permitJ
Teach – there are many opportunities to pass on your lifetime of knowledge in a community college setting, or a vocational school. Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer – CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) work on behalf of children who are neglected or abuse, by advocating for their rights in court. This is a group, I long to give my time to, but can’t because my life as a working Mom doesn’t permit; but a retiree has the time to impact a child’s life for the better, through this organization – visit, www.casaforchildren.org to learn more about how you could get involve.
Senior Centers, Hospitals, Nursing homes are just a few places that depend on the gift of time, volunteers give daily. If you’re like my 85 year old friend, Mr. K. who believes that hanging out with older people makes him feel old, then write your memoir – so often we downplay our life as mundane, not interesting to anyone – not so my friends – your life is unique enough to be fascinating, and experienced enough to pass on great life lessons to another generation.
On our recent client visits, we spent time talking with a client who was a former nurse, in one hour, I learned more about evolving healthcare organizational structure and operations – specific to my location – than anyone could have taught me in a classroom. You have a lot to contribute, start writing and you’d be amazed at what it reveals.
Not all of retirement has to be purposeful service, these are the years of choice. Start a new hobby, or revisit a hobby you were too busy to invest in when you worked. Join a club – health club, special interest club, bird watcher’s club, who cares, it provides necessary fellowship and socialization. Nothing kills the retirement buzz faster than sitting at home all day watching soaps! Get out and live the life you dreamed you would, if you only had the time.