No one loves every single thing about their workday. But once you no longer need to worry about earning money, is it possible to love every second of your new retirement schedule? We think you need to be intentional about spending your time doing things that interest you with the people you care about the most.
We have a ‘Build Your Ideal Week in Retirement exercise’ to help you work out a schedule that will keep you busy. It’s a reassuring map of what you could do with your 168 hours free time you could suddenly have. If you’re still seeing too many blank time blocks, discuss these three questions with your spouse and you might discover a new hobby you can add into the mix.
1 – What did we do when we were younger?
Before you were high-powered executives raising three kids, you and your spouse were carefree newlyweds who loved to … Do what? Take long bike rides? Collect vinyl records? Take day trips to new restaurants? Play team sports?
OK, maybe your netball or 5-a-side soccer days are behind you. But even activities you can’t pick up again could lead you to a new hobby. Joining a bowling league or coaching a youth team might scratch that old competitive itch. On the other hand, if work and parenting added a few strokes to your handicap, working with a coach/golf professional could get you back on the fairway.
2 – Do you need to unplug or connect more?
Two common retirement pitfalls are feeling isolated and feeling like you and your spouse are driving each other crazy.
Diversifying hobbies can help address both concerns and nourish different parts of ourselves. If your house has suddenly shrunk since retirement, carve out some time and space so that you can pursue a personal hobby, and give your spouse room to do the same. Even something as simple as dedicated reading time can help you unwind and dig a little deeper into your interests.
If you’re missing the camaraderie and team building you experienced at work, think about new ways to make similar connections. You could become a consultant or mentor for young professionals in your field. Join a social club or volunteer organisation that’s making a positive impact in your community such as Junior Achievement. Or stop waiting for the phone to ring and reach out to other retired friends who might love to grab a cup of coffee or start up a weekly tennis match.
3 – Do you want to exercise your body or your brain?
Some of us who already have a healthy exercise regimen might feel a little bored without the problem solving and learning you enjoyed at work. Try enrolling in an online class or getting serious about a craft like writing, painting, or woodworking. Some of the new options available through creativity caused by Covid are inspiring. You could also talk to your kids and grandkids about the ways they’re using technology to connect and create. Learning about the wealth of apps and websites beyond social media can help you keep pace with our rapidly changing world and stop you feeling like you’re out of touch.
Just don’t get too comfortable on the couch with your phone or iPad. With good nutrition and a regular exercise routine you have potentially decades of retirement living to look forward to. If you’ve had trouble sticking with an exercise plan in the past, it could be you just haven’t found physical activities that clicked with you. Many personal trainers and gyms have put classes online, some at no cost. That Pilates or Taekwondo class might be a little less intimidating if you can try it out in your living room.
In fact, a willingness to try different hobbies is one common characteristic we’ve seen in the happiest retirees we work with.
If you want to experiment with your Ideal Week in Retirement, let’s schedule a meeting or video chat to discuss what options your financial plan might open up for you.