Retirement marks an exciting chapter in your life. Consider these four tips for an easy transition away from the working world:
1. Discover New Hobbies
Retirement gives you more time to do the things you love most, but it can also give you more time than you know what to do with. After decades of spending your weekdays at the office, having an extra eight to 10 hours of free time every day can seem like a lot. Chances are the hobbies you've enjoyed pre-retirement have been limited to evenings and weekends.
While you can certainly continue to enjoy the hobbies and passions you've developed over the years, consider branching out to new areas of interest. Is there a subject you've been interested in, but not quite had the time to explore? Now is the time to get out into the world and see what it has to offer.
Having too many options can be a challenge, as well. If your list of potential hobbies is long, choose one or two activities and try them out for a month. Follow your interests and see where they lead. You may discover that a subject that you had no previous interest in suddenly captures your attention.
2. Explore Your New Identity
When you work in the same field for many years, it becomes a part of your identity. Upon retirement, you may find it difficult to separate your work self from your retirement self. For instance, the way you answer the common ice breaker question: "So, what do you do?"
Over the years, you've likely developed a tried and true response to this inquiry. Most people tend to answer with their profession. "Me? Oh, I'm an Account Executive at XYZ Company... and you?"
Think about how you would answer that question now. "Me? Oh, I've been donating my time at the local food bank... but I've also been learning how to skydive."
If you've recently retired, you may not have a ready answer, but that's OK, too! Now is your chance to reflect on a life of hard work and decide how you want to spend your newfound freedom. Who do you want to be? It's never too late to reinvent yourself.
3. See The World
In a world where busy professionals have to work hard just to squeeze in a few days of vacation each year, retirement offers a chance to slow down and really see the world. Though a weekend away in a foreign city can be fun and restful, it's nothing compared to spending a few weeks in your dream destination. You get the chance to really explore the setting, try a new pace of life and get lost in a new culture.
You also don't have to go very far to explore a new region. Almost all of North America is reachable in less than a day of air travel and these fares can be much more affordable than visiting another continent. The major cities of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico offer unique sights and experiences. You may even discover a hidden gem right in your own backyard.
Roll out the map and start marking places you might like to visit, then spend some time researching each location online. If you're considering a destination where the locals speak an unfamiliar language, consider signing up for a tour package so you have access to professional guides and translators.
Most major cities have attractions that are accessible to differently abled people. Travel expert Rick Steves noted there are always options for travelers with special needs. For example, visiting the ruins of Pompeii may require a hike over rocky terrain, but the ruins at Herculaneum are very similar and fully accessible by wheelchair.
4. Grow Your Network of Friends
Networking isn't just for professionals attempting to climb the corporate ladder. Meeting new people can unlock all kinds of new experiences and relationships. As you explore new hobbies, keep an open mind and forge new connections with other retired people. Not only will your new network help you discover new opportunities for enjoying life, but socializing also has potential health benefits, such as improved cognition, according to Psychology Today.
Wherever your life adventures take you in retirement, let GMS help you stay protected and live well.