Monday, July 30, 2012

8 Perfect Hobbies For Retirees

People are living longer, healthier lives than previous generations, which means your retirement years could last a lot longer than you think. And if you’re smart (or just lucky!), you may have figured out how you’re going to keep your finances in shape for the rest of your life. But have you thought about how you’re going to keep yourself entertained? You’ve just freed up at least 40 hours out of your week, so it’s time to find something you really enjoy. If you don’t take time to do what you love now, when will you? If you’re looking for a place to start in your quest for the perfect hobby, try one of these eight activities that retirees love.
  1. Volunteering:

    After working for 40 years, retirement can sometimes make you feel like you don’t have a purpose anymore. You don’t get up and go to work every morning to make money and provide for your family, so what are you contributing? This is a hole that is easily filled by volunteering. Choose a cause you’re passionate about or one that uses skills you already have, and you can feel good about the way you spend your time in retirement. Check community bulletin boards, ask around at your church, or search the web for organizations looking for help.
  2. Gardening:

    You’re probably spending a lot more time at home now (unless you’re one of those RV-ing retirees), so it makes sense to beautify your property as much as possible. Whether you want to strive for a prize-winning rose garden, want to give your house some curb appeal, or have the desire to grow your own vegetables, gardening can be enjoyable, fulfilling work. You’ll have to get your hands a little dirty, but the end result will pay off.
  3. Beer brewing:

    If you can grow your own vegetables, why not also make your own beer? Beer brewing is easy; you can start small with a kit purchased online and work your way up to bigger, better equipment as you get the hang of it. You can try your hand at different stouts, ales, and lagers, and share the rewards of your hobby with friends as you sit around talking about how awesome retirement is. And don’t worry about overdoing it; you don’t have to get up for work in the morning!
  4. Art:

    Many retirees, particularly those who just finished working very structured jobs, see the coming years as the perfect time to flex their creative muscles. There’s no more worrying about profit margins, uptight bosses, or whether your time would be better spent advancing your career, so let your imagination run wild. Sign up for painting classes, get a sketchbook, or find a pottery wheel and put your hands in some clay. It’ll help you relax, even if you’re not any good!
  5. Writing:

    This one’s another creative endeavor, which can be perfect for anyone if you choose the right writing project. Many retirees, for example, might enjoy writing their memoirs now that they have time to reflect on their lives. Even if you have no intention of getting it published, your memoirs can be a great gift to leave behind to your children and grandchildren. It could even end up being passed from generation to generation. Poetry, short stories, and research-heavy non-fiction can also be great side projects to consider.
  6. Woodworking:

    Though you need some equipment to get started, woodworking is a favorite among retired people who are handy with a hammer. You can make furniture and dozens of other home accents using your favorite wood, and give the extras to family and friends. If you’re just getting started, get to know the guys at your local lumberyard, and make sure you have a few essentials, like a circular saw, a power drill, a jigsaw, and a sander. Some communities even have woodworking clubs you can join so you can share equipment and stories over the buzz of your scroll saws.
  7. Puzzles:

    Puzzles, like crosswords, Sudoku, and any kind of brain teasers, are a great idea for retirees. You’ve got a lot of life left in you, so it’s important to keep your mind sharp for your next 20, 30, or even 40 years. These types of puzzles have been shown to stave off Alzheimer’s, and the earlier you start, the better for your brain. If you get really good, you could even compete in theAmerican Crossword Puzzle Tournament with the fastest puzzle-solvers around.
  8. Exercise:

    For those of you who kept putting exercise off because you were too busy, you’re out of excuses now. This is the time to find an exercise that you actually enjoy and stick with it. Don’t get discouraged if you try a few activities and still don’t like them. There’s something out there for you that will keep you active for years to come. Try bicycling, swimming, golf, or an aerobics class for starters.

Contacts and sources:
Hannah Peterson

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