While earlier generations may have dragged themselves across the finish line into retirement, burnt out and tired after years of strenuous activity, the baby boomer generation is different. Many of our careers required more mental effort than physical exertion. And the retirement lifestyle boomers hope to enjoy will be far different from that depicted in advertisements of old folks playing a slow round of golf or peacefully staring out at the sunset over the water. Many retirees-to-be now look forward to spending the next 20 or more years actively engaged in living. Here are some activities retirees dedicated to active aging may enjoy:
Get up and get started. Since we were forced to get up earlier than we wanted to commence our work day, it is natural to want to spend some additional time catching up on sleep as you begin retirement. There is nothing better than peeking at the clock and then rolling over to catch some additional sleep knowing you have nowhere you must be. But once you have recuperated from the stress of the workplace, you might find you desire to get up early again. Early morning hours without having to be somewhere can be refreshing. You get to set your own pace and decide what you want to do that day. It's amazing what you can accomplish in a day when you get up early, but don't need to report to work.
Exercise your body. It's challenging to dedicate time to exercise during a busy work week. In retirement you not only have time to work out, but you have the luxury of doing so when you want. If you are motivated first thing in the day, you can get it done then. But if you have to get psyched-up before getting started, you are free to pick whatever time of day works for you. And since you have time, you have more options to choose from to burn your calories. Rather than rushing through an abbreviated routine, you can stretch out your time and give your body a more thorough tuning effort.
Stimulate your mind. Without the stimulation of the work environment, keeping your mind sharp becomes your responsibility. The good news is you get to choose the activities you will undertake. Some people are readers who can easily burn the hours engaged in a good book, while others might prefer the challenge of a puzzle or brain twister. Lifelong students can easily take online courses about a wide variety of topics from the comfort of home. Whether you decide to learn a new language or take up a musical instrument, keeping your mind engaged and challenged in retirement is an important ingredient to promote active aging.
Try something new. A few years back I found myself intrigued with the idea of blogging. Although I am not a technical wizard, I researched and studied how to set up my own website and went for it. When I posted my first article I was a bit nervous. It was an adventure and something I would never have seen myself doing before I actually did it. Still at it, I find blogging an excellent outlet for my love of writing and have met some wonderful people along the way. Identifying and pursuing new interests can be a refreshing adventure in what may otherwise become an uneventful routine.
Get better at something old. As a child I took a handful of years of piano lessons and at one time was reasonably proficient. However, it has been too long since I sat at the keyboard. I plan to spend a portion of my retirement revisiting and sharpening this long-lost skill. Each of us likely has something we gave up on that would be fun to revisit during retirement. With free time on our hands, retirement can be the perfect opportunity to get better at something we have always loved.
Dave Bernard is the author of "I Want To Retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be". Although not yet retired, he focuses on identifying and understanding the essential components of a fulfilling and meaningful retirement. He shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement-Only The Beginning.
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