Saving up enough money to enjoy your retirement is a major accomplishment that’s worth celebrating. And contrary to the popular stereotype, ‘retired’ doesn’t mean ‘old’. You still have the same momentum and energy you had last week, but now that you’re not expected at work every day you have the free time to enjoy it. So, what are you going to do with yourself?
1. Start an exercise regime.
The worst thing you could do is sit on your bum for the next six months, not only because you’ll watch it slowly expand. Your life up until this point has been busy; even if you had a desk job, the act of getting to work and around the office put movement into your day. Slipping straight into a sedentary lifestyle will affect your overall health, but that doesn’t mean you have to make a chore of it.
Sure, you could go on a daily walk or take up yoga, but why not inject a little fun into the regime. How about signing up for trapeze lessons, or a Zumba class, or even pogo and trampoline workouts? Think outside the square and have some fun.
2. Throw yourself a party.
Celebrate your move into retirement with a party. You’re only limited by your imagination, so why not make this a celebration to remember. Depending on your tastes it could be anything from an elegant cocktail party to a murder-mystery dinner. Or, better yet, have a big lunch party through the workday, just because you can.
3. Go on a trip.
It’s hard trying to fit grand adventures into four weeks of annual leave. Now you have vast expanses of time clear of work commitments, so go big. Rent a caravan and drive around Australia for a year. Take a month in a Tuscan villa and plunge yourself in Italian culture (and food) or plan an immersive trip around the Japanese countryside. Indulge your tastes. Perhaps you could sketch your way round Europe or cook your way through India.
And best of all, you could AirBnB your house while you’re away; it could end up paying for the whole trip!
4. Start a new career.
The bounty of free time retirement offers is not for everyone, so why not take this opportunity to move into a new career. That doesn’t, however, mean you need to be seeking a pay check. Perhaps you have a novel waiting to be written. Or you might have gained a skill set in your working life that you could impart to others just starting out.
The travel opportunities retirement provides could take you in a whole new direction; you could start a family business selling exotic imports or write a travel blog on your journeys.
5. Write your memoir.
‘Nobody wants to read my story,’ you may think. ‘I’m not special’. But you are. Absolutely everyone has a story to tell, and an audience who would love to read it. Wouldn’t you love to be able to flick through the memoirs of your grandparents?
If not for family, then perhaps for an industry. How different was your industry when you started out? The fact is that there have been so many technological advances over the past few decades that jukeboxes and typewriters are relics of a bygone era which you have first-hand knowledge of.
And if not for anyone else, then do it for yourself. To write your own story is both confronting and soothing in equal measure, and can provide insights into past worry or trauma you might have never considered.
6. Take a class.
You could rekindle a childhood interest by taking piano lessons or a painting class. Or you could head back to university and immerse yourself in a subject that interests you. You’ll find the studies much more enjoyable now that you’re not trying to apply them to career goals.
7. Try something new.
After working for decades, you might be ready for some new experiences. The beginning of retirement is a great time to tackle new experiences. Whether it’s taking up woodworking, trying an innovative cuisine or experiencing a different culture, seeking out interesting experiences will help keep boredom from creeping into your retirement years.
Truly relax. Devote yourself to meditation for a week and let all that work stress flow away. Make your way through that pile of books you’ve been promising yourself to read. Turn off the alarm and wake up naturally every day. Linger over breakfast. Maybe even spend the day in your pajamas. Of course, you can’t sustain an idle lifestyle indefinitely, but you can enjoy it immensely for a little while.
9. Evaluate your living arrangements.
Any big change in your life is bound to make you take stock and retirement is no exception. You might decide that the family home is too big for your needs, so perhaps downsizing might be a good idea.
Does where you’re living suit you? Do you want to be closer to family (or further away?). Have you always wanted to live by the sea, or spend five years living overseas? Take stock of what you want your next chapter to look like and think about whether you need to make any big changes to achieve it.