For many people the transition to retirement can be a difficult period in their lives. The good news is that there are many ways to make this time in your life one of the most enjoyable experiences you can ever have. The key is to know what makes you happy and to be aware of the changes you will be experiencing. If you’re like a lot of people, you spend a great deal of time at work and the weekends and vacations seem to fly by. For many, the sudden end to their working life comes as a bit of a shock but it doesn’t have to be that way.
We spend a lot of time on this website dealing with new ways to fill your time. The information contained throughout this site is designed to make the transition to retirement as easy as possible. For some people, the rediscovery of long forgotten hobbies can make all the difference in the world. For others, the joy of travelling can be fully experienced for the first time. But, in each of these examples, you should be aware of a potential problem that might catch up to you later.
What happens when the activity doesn’t quite fill up all the time that you thought it would? Or your outdoor activity isn’t as doable in the winter? Or the money you need to travel in the manner that you wanted runs out? The activities that you had counted on for a relaxed transition to retirement don’t quite turn out the way you expected, and you become bored or even disenchanted with your newfound freedom. The best advice I can give you is to have a backup plan ready to go whenever this occurs. When we first retired, we immediately hit a brick wall with the pandemic. All our travel plans were put on hold and, having just moved to a new area, we had almost no alternatives – it was just the two of us. Like everyone else, we had a lot of time on our hands. It was a total change from our working years when we rushed around trying to make every moment of free time as enjoyable as possible. The sudden change in our existence was an inspiration, not a roadblock.
Since we couldn’t go out, we took up cooking and made it an activity that we shared. It made all the difference in the world. It’s amazing what happens when you take a new look at something you had been doing all the time and turn it into something new. While we were working, preparation time was at a premium. We couldn’t come home from work and take an hour or two to prepare a meal or we’d be eating at midnight. As we made the transition to retirement and accepted the limitations imposed by the pandemic, we embraced an activity that we absolutely love (eating!) in a completely different way. It even changed our television viewing as we found new cooking shows and travel-oriented programs that featured local cuisine. We have continued to embrace our rediscovered appreciation for cooking after the pandemic and have gone to some cooking classes and demonstrations.
We even modified our travel habits a bit by staying local and finding out that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to thoroughly enjoy a day trip or even a weekend in a new location. The small little towns in this country are an under-appreciated asset and you don’t need to go too far to find that out. We have relocated to the Hudson Valley in upstate New York and the number of charming towns and little inns are incredible. Being able to spend the time and get to know the local people always gives you a greater appreciation for the wonderful country that we live in. When you hear their stories and how they ended up where they are, you realize that everyone you meet has their own story.
The transition to retirement can be the most enjoyable times in your life if you bring the right attitude to everything you do. I am truly grateful to reach this stage in my life in good health and with a desire to keep learning and exploring new things. I’ve learned you don’t need a lot of money to appreciate life or enjoy the finer things this world has to offer. Find a little town you’ve never been in before and learn the history of the place. Meet the people and sample the food – go to an open-air market or fair if they have one. Read the local paper. Sadly, those seem to be a dying breed but, if you’re lucky, you can find one that will have all the local information from the lost dogs to the barbecue fundraisers that can be a great source for the next meal you want to recreate in your kitchen. Appreciate the simple things that life has to offer, and you’ll receive one of the biggest gifts you can get: an appreciation for the life that you have. It’s time to Enjoy Retired Life!
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