‘How I planned to ensure I got more from life after retirement’

Oct 17, 2019
There are lots of things to think about when you're planning for retirement, writes Brian. Source: Getty Images

There are one or two important things I believe you need to take into account when you retire. Most of them are pretty obvious, once you’ve got over the initial excitement of not having to go to work any more (unless you want to), and there are others, perhaps a little more subtle, but nonetheless still important.

The first thing you need to realise, on the very first day of your long-awaited retirement, is that actually today is just the same as yesterday, except for that bit about not having to go to work! The postie still calls; the 8am bus still goes by, two minutes late as usual; and next door’s dog barks for his breakfast in their garden. In fact, almost no one in the immediate neighbourhood, will even have the slightest notion that you have retired. Tom, who has travelled into town on the bus with you for the past 40 years will simply think you’re not well or something, unless you made a lot of noise about what was about to happen the previous day!

On that note, I’d first advise rolling over in bed and enjoying another hour under the covers, just to assert your new status, if only to yourself. Don’t forget, you might be doing this for the next 30 years or more and from now on the most important thing as far as you’re concerned is the fact that there are no things that are that important any longer.

Eventually of course, this hanging about in bed will prove to be too time consuming for you, so my next tip is that you need to find something active to do, either for the good of your body, or for the good of your brain, or for both, if you’re lucky. The shortest path to the cemetery is via nothing … Doing nothing, thinking nothing, enjoying nothing. You may think you have reached the end of all those interesting things you did between the hours of work and bed, but you can bet one thing, your body and your brain hasn’t, and they both need stimulation.

There are so many sources of stimulation available that it would be impossible to list them here (I’d need to write a book!), but consider Lions or Rotary, the local tennis club, bowls club or golf club — they’re always looking for new members and you don’t need to be at championship level; they’ll be just as happy to take your money off of you whether you want to win cups or just friends. Then of course there is volunteering, my wife and I did a lot of that. With other locals we’d take nursing home residents out for a walk or push them in their wheelchairs; we delivered Meals on Wheels; drove patients to distant medical centres; babysat some old granddad, while his wife went out for a break with her girlfriends. In fact I could produce another almost endless list of suggestions to you on this subject.

Is there a U3A, (University of the Third Age), in the town where you live? If there is, don’t be put off by that ominous title, there are no degrees to be won, or anything like that; it’s more of a social club really, with the added pleasure that you can indulge in a little learning if you wish. Ours also goes on trips to other towns, to see their museums, fine buildings or art galleries, or to see some play put on by the local theatrical group (most of them are pretty good too), the skies the limit and it’s always interesting to see new places.

Finally, there are hobbies. There must be about as many hobbies to have a go at as there are people to try them, some sedentary, some very active. For the quieter life, you might want to try stamp collecting (though not a lot of letters have stamps on them these days), knitting, tatting or crochet, reading, model making, photography and angling. For the more active there’s hiking, bird watching, parachute jumping and many other exciting pursuits, including of course, writing blogs!

IF ever you’re stuck about what to do with your time in retirement, I hope these few ideas might get your grey matter working. The important thing is to not allow yourself to be bored, if you find yourself sitting doing nothing, with no excuse, be sure to get moving!

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What planning has gone into your retirement? How do you spend your time?

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