Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Making Good Use of Your Time After Retirement

retirement (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)
For some, retirement means the end of waking up early, clock-punching, tolerating crappy bosses, and losing blood, sweat, and tears in order to make ends meet. For a weathered old soul, retirement might come as a refreshing change and a gearing down of a life’s pace. More hours on the rocking chair, a trip to Vegas now and then, and all manner of recreational activities should be on the schedule of a retiree… if they bother keeping a schedule at all.

There are, however, individuals who are creatures of habit, and cannot seem make the transition from actively working person to that of a more relaxed fellow that is spending the precious remainder of their years. This can bring about a lot of restlessness and frustration, not only for the retiree, but to the people around him or her.

I had a personal experience of that sort with my father. Upon hitting his mid-sixties, he was advised by his physician to let go of the reins of his business. Not wanting to preempt his life because of stress, he acquiesced and tried his best to take it slow.

It wasn’t easy. He was still in “hungry entrepreneur” mode, and it caused no end of arguments and heated tempers with mom and my brothers, making visits to the old homestead stressful. I wasn’t about to leave things in that sorry state, and I decided to go ask around and gather up advice on how retirees can get over their “professional hangover.”

Hobbies and Crafts

All that time and nothing to do? Watching too much TV or sleeping may not be the best cure for that, as it will just make you grow a larger belly and do quite a number on your back. Assist your retiree friend or family member in finding something enjoyable to occupy their time with. Do make certain that what they are interested in doing isn’t going to cause undue risk or harm to them (good luck with extreme sports enthusiasts, though).

My dad was in the construction industry, but when he was younger, he had a thing for cars. I suggested that he take up the hobby of restoring and maintaining vintage automobiles, starting with the old Chevrolet Impala he had that was literally just rotting in our warehouse/garage.

Hang Out

Even introverted individuals need human exposure now and then, and the same goes for retirees that have hung up their guns/coat/tool belt/etc. and retired to a more quiet existence. Often, life passes like a blur before someone’s eyes, and it takes an event like retirement for one to look back and reflect on the experiences they have gone through. This is further enhanced by reaching out to the people that are still alive and sharing insights, apologies, and warm sentiments with each other.

Up until recently, relations were frosty between my dad and his siblings, and I encouraged him to reach out to the ones that were still around and make amends. Family is family, no matter what disagreements and differences of opinion you have or had. It would also help him put to rest any ill feelings between them, and that should make him sleep all the more soundly at night.

Use Your Skills for Philanthropy

You need not entirely leave or forget what you did for a living. If the skills and expertise are still relevant in today’s world (in most cases, they are), a retiree could make use of that to help society in general. This would leave a good, humanistic legacy behind, and it will inspire younger people into giving back to society when it is their turn to do so.

As I mentioned, my father was in the construction business. I shot this idea at him, and he took to it rather well. Reliving his years when he was actually behind the wheels and levers of heavy equipment, he went ahead and spent a little money on second-hand heavy equipment (he bought some surplus units off Rock&Dirt) and offered to help the local community in improving the flood-control earthworks, as flooding is a very real concern to many people in his hometown.

Have a happy and productive retirement!

About the Author

Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is based in San Diego, California, and runs a blog with her closest gal pals, Word Baristas.

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