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Your're "Retired' NOW WHAT?
THOUGHTS ON 'GETTING OUT THERE'....
This is only from my own personal experience. When my wife and I retired, virtually at the same time from different careers, we made the conscious decision to not 'sit on the porch in rocking chairs' so to speak.
As a former 2nd grade teacher, she wanted to keep her skills sharp so to speak, so she found a local school district which was in dire need of volunteers in their ESL (English as a second language) classes. So she started volunteering and now does that two afternoons a week and has found it quite rewarding. She also helps another school district which, wisely uses their computer literate students, to help seniors in living situations who have trouble with their computers/electronics. It is quite astounding how savvy young teenagers are! BUT they need a chaperone to accompany these kids into folks homes, so my wife goes along and also tries to steer the kids to help them give simple, non-complex answers to befuddled seniors. THese keep her quite busy.
As for me:
I discovered woodworking as a satisfying 'new' hobby and that keeps my hands and brain busy at home, along with home maintenance.(My woodworking 'philosophy': Taking a raw material - wood, and making/creating something useful with lasting beauty is VERY satisfying. As a former studio photographer for over 40 years, I miss the darkroom and creating an image from raw materials and the similarities with wood working have attracted me greatly.)
BUT, we both learned early on, that it is good to get out in the world and be with other folks. SO, I joined the local chapter of Rotary. This has become a very nice weekly activity. THey have weekly meetings at lunchtime, usually with a speaker on some topic. BUT, the real deep seated reason why I like the Rotary organization is that they are a charitable organization and the chapter here supports many local charities with not only financial assistance (moneys garnered from sales activities as well as donations), but also with man-power to help the local charities. THis means that we get a 'call out' for all hands on deck to support one of the charities. Lots of fellowship, supporting worthy causes and accomplishing something of value generally for those in need. This philosophy appeals to me for many reasons and the group is a warm and friendly group and very welcoming to newcomers.
All it takes is to make an effort to get out there and discover what there is which appeals to you as an activity and what the motives of the group are... Lots to discover and learn!
BUT you have to make the first move! (You can find the Rotary INternational website and local chapters very easily online by the way!)
I am planning to retire at the end of the year and am slowly getting into "semi retirement" by adapting to the target lifestyle. So far, daily exercises earlier in the day before going to work and moving them to later times during the weekend and off days. I listen to audio books on my phone while I take long walks or bike. Have joined a hiking club in the new city.
Thought I would help out the senior centers in distributing meals during the holidays but will delay this till I actually enter retirement. Rotary Clubs may be a great option to spend time in worthwhile activities.
I AM LUCKY TO HAVE...
I decided to first do the things that I may not physically be able to in the future. I raise fruits and vegetablels and can them. I have a steer for future beef and a pig in the freezer. I have two miniature horses with cart and harness. I have miniature sheep for mowing the grass and their wool for spinning into yarn. I have four cats for keeping rodents away from stored hay and grain. I have turkeys and chickens to eat the bugs and give me eggs to eat and sell, plus they serve as an alarm system to any strangers. I have a flock of racing pigeons for fun. I have three dogs; a Border Collie who would rather lick the sheeps faces than herd them, a Pomeranian who beleives he is a Teddy Bear and a 150 lb Mastiff who watches over us all. YES, I AM LUCKY TO HAVE...
Since retiring, I have moved 5 times and worked at several parttime jobs. Including running a backhoe, transporting cars, and driving a school bus. Right now I am busy with yoga and fitness classes at the local YMCA and lift weights 3 times a week. My new hobby is cooking and I take at least a month overseas each year. Retirement is great.
I retired two years ago as my hip had failed me and I needed a hip replacement. I taught 8th grade Science, a job that required me to move around a lot and quickly, and was worried that the hip would affect my mobility and hence my ability to teach as I was accustomed. Additionally, my children needed some help with their children, so it seemed I had another "job" in the wings. This two year adjustment has been very hard as I measured my worth by having a job. I was lost without the structure of a full-time job and since I had no planning time, I had no structure in place. I am only now finding my way. I began writing about my experience just to vent to myself, which developed into a book called Glooed, kind of a tortured funny look at how my own childhood and values affected my view of this phase of life.
My advice is to have a plan, know what you might want to get involved in or accomplish. If retirement catches you by surprise, take it one day at a time. Get out and exercise and keep your chin up. Give yourself a break and breathe. I still have trouble with that but I am working on it.
As I read some of the responses from those who took the time to elaborate, it is quite uplifting to learn how folks 'adjust' to retirement. I view the word 'retired" as somewhat of a curse. I have not plans to 'sit in a rocker on the porch' and watch the world go by. I'm active with many, many woodworking projects, and if you read my previous comment, I derive great satisfaction from taking a raw material (i.e. wood) and creating something which might be pretty, but will have lasting value to my kids down the road. It was never my intention to become a woodworker as such, it just happened and it fills the days. I also have a serious ham radio rig which has been sitting idle due to warm weather and I use it in the longer, darker days of winter (for those who know---when darkness falls, the so-called amateur bands become much more accessible and active---IDEAL in winter! So it's a nice indoor diversion!)
AND, I joined the local chapter of Rotary and cannot say enough good things about this organization, its goals, and its high ideals/motives. AND, to boot, the members are really nice folks! It gets me out of the house at least once a week! What more can one ask than to be part of a group which supports needy charities and donates to them!
I suggest to all who read this, that retirement becomes a time of much greater freedom as well as FREEDOM of CHOICE---you do what you want, when you want, and spend the time accordingly! We are also blessed with an incredible library system (we're in St. Louis) and the system is amazing. I tell my wife "I love the library, but I hate it!---too many wonderful distractions! Go to your library, explore their resources and simply get out of the house/rut!!! There are many wonderful things to explore in this life and sitting at home 'watching' tv is NOT one of them... (TV---all you do is WATCH it... not a very active experience!)
My Wife and I, both retired at 62. We took early retirement and felt that we had enough money in the bank plus pension and social security to live for the rest of our life. We spent the next 7 1/2 years living in a motor home and traveling the country. We totally enjoyed that life, but decided that we had to settle somewhere, so we picked the derserts of Nevada. We decided that we did not want to buy a house and have the responsiblities that you have when you own your house, so we rented. Now for the kicker, as i said earlier we thought we had enough money for the rest of our life.Well we lived a lot longer than we figured we would. However money is not everything if you have strong marriage and you support each other as you get older and you have a happy life that is more important. We retired in 1996. that was almost 23 years ago. although we ran low on our money we have lived in the same place for almost 16 yearrs. We still live a very active life, I am active as a volunteer and still work two 8 hour shifts a week. My wife is very active in her social groups and swims 3 days a week. Oh yes I did not mention, my wife will be 83 next month and I will be 84 in 4 months. Most people are shocked when they learn our age. I think it all comes down to being HAPPY and that we are. And we do have enough money to enjoy growing old together.
Being a bit of a workaholic, I was anxious about the idea of retirement. In the three years prior to full retirement I was fortunate to be able to work less each year. I slowly transitioned from working 5 days a week to 1-2 days per week the year that I retired. Of course, this is only possible if one has a boss who is agreeable to such an arrangement. I used my new found "leisure" time to increase time spent volunteering and on my hobbies. It also allowed me to slowly become accustomed to living on a retirement budget.
I'm now 72 and retired for two years. My personal transistion to retirement was seamless. Two days a week are spent helping first and second graders gain confidence in reading, which brings me great joy. I also volunteer with an interfaith group, dabble in watercolor and spend precious time with family and friends. My income is not what it was when working full time but it is sufficient to support my lifestyle. My previous trepidation about retirement has proved to be baseless.
I retired early to care for my Dad who had dementia (he has since passed). Before I retired, I checked with my company about pensions, my IRA (rolling it over), health insurance (what did I have to pay) etc. This gave me an insight into what money I would have to work with. Since I lived with my Dad, our house was paid for, my car was paid for and I had money in the bank, savings, and US bonds! This would help me after my Dad passed and I had only my own income. I tried not to use my Dad's money, but pay as many of the bills myself out of my money. Only once did I use my Dad's money for a bill (and told him I did as I had his power of attorney). He could still understand what I would tell him and since it was for the benefit of both of us, not an issue. After he passed, I had a bit of a struggle but hung in there (my property taxes were a source of pain), until I got on Social Security (and later Medicare). I tried to find a part time job but found it harder at my age. Today i live in a retirement community where I enjoy new friends and activities and enjoy being retired!
I officially retired in 2012, but had a difficult time quitting work. For 3-4 years, I did independent contractor work, until an injury made walking very difficult.
Shortly afterwards, my husband was transferred to a different state. My injury was pretty much healed, but I spent the next year moping around the house, finding no enthusiasm to even finish unpacking and fully settling into our new home.
It wasn't until we were introduced to our church that I finally learned how to retire!
My husband and I hadn't ever bothered with becoming members of, or attending church services, except on special occasions when invited by family or friends. We just weren't terribly interested in it.
However, the church we found was very welcoming, and I found myself offering to help with various tasks, like providing snacks and serving them at the coffee social hour after services each Sunday.
From that, I became involved with various other church activities, just because I had so much time on my hands!
One of the church members manages the community food and clothing bank, which is independent of the church. I was asked if I wanted to volunteer there and, with less enthusiasm, I agreed to do 2 hours, one day per week. I just wasn't interested in committing to a regular schedule of work anymore.
Well, people, I am so busy now, that I don't have time to mope around the house and miss a "real job"!!
I am now working a full schedule at the food and clothing bank, and working at the church the rest of my time during the week days. In addition, I have been driving people who can no longer drive, when they have a doctor appointment or need to do grocery shopping, etc.
My husband and I are now members of both our church choir and the civic choir, and each group meets once a week for practice. The civic choir then performs public concerts at various days, times and locations throughout the season.
Want to know "Now what"? THAT'S what!
It's different for everybody. But, one thing that's the same, is that there is no longer the exuse of "just doing my job". Retirement is a good time to revaluate the external environment and the internal condtion of your soul. An opportunity to reinvent yourself, or discover yourself for the the time.
Sounds like you've got a handle on "retirement" - that is, moving from paid activity to doing pretty much what you want to do...! Look forward to doing same, hopefully sooner rather than later-not getting any younger here..!