‘Retirement has given me time to sample new hobbies’

Jun 11, 2021
Is there something you've put off learning more about until your retirement? Source: Getty Images

I failed domestic science at high school. It was the only ‘F’ I ever received on a report card. I knew better than to enrol in sewing classes after having received a ‘D’, in a scale from A to D, at primary school. My mother, a seamstress who could turn a parachute into a wedding gown during the war years, was horrified.

Maturity did not improve the situation. If my husband lost a button off his work shirt I simply threw the shirt out. The only thing I used a needle for was removing splinters out of little fingers when the children were small.

I have to admit that my musical and artistic talents were also lacking. Although a member of the school choir, I was placed towards the back and always behind someone much taller. Hidden where I couldn’t cause any ‘havoc’.

Knitting, crochet, and quilting were never options though I’ve always been pretty handy with a paintbrush. Over the years I have painted both the exteriors and interiors of several houses. Unfortunately, often in colours that have had real estate agents cringing. Personally, I’m quite partial to sunflower yellow and budgie green for a bedroom. What about you?

So I’m a little surprised with two new hobbies I’ve picked up since retirement. And isn’t that what retirement is all about? Having the time to be able to try new things we couldn’t when we were tied to a work schedule.

Mind you, I’ve had some epic fails. Like square dancing. Who knew it was so hard to differentiate between your left and your right? And book club. I hated the classics when I was a teenager and 40 years later that hasn’t changed.

What I am enjoying is an online art therapy study program. Twenty-five modules all up and I have 15 to go.

I’ve done a collage, self-portrait, some meditation, learned about colour therapy and am currently working with clay. Well, plasticine really — it’s less expensive. Art therapy is about creating using your emotions and inner most feelings, thus making it full of imperfections. For some it is used as a healing process. In my case it allows me not to be terrified of being rapped on the knuckles with a ruler when you colour outside the lines (which you would be familiar with if you started school in the 1960s).

what to do in retirement
May’s been doing a bit of painting and art therapy in her retirement. Things she never would have had time for when she was working. Source: May Green

I also completed a Paint By Numbers kit during lockdown. Lots of colour and abstract so once again hiding any mistakes. I thoroughly enjoyed the process. Unfortunately, the daughters misread this enthusiasm and gifted me with a new kit for Mother’s Day, one that was extremely pretty, but required precision, patience and delicacy, none of which are my forte. I have completed it now, though was sorely tested and am now looking for something more Picasso-esque and far more forgiving.

A new sport for seniors recently started at the local parkland: walking hockey. I thought with the cooler weather it might be worth giving it a try. Another new hobby perhaps? I can’t wait!

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