Learning to be Retired
By Scott Gese

Retirement can be a very interesting time in your life. Especially when learning to be retired is something you never thought you would have to do.

retirement watchPhoto Nic / Unsplash

Once you step away from the working world you’ll begin to notice changes in your life. They may be subtle at first but they are there. So what’s happening? You’re learning to be retired. Believe it or not, there is a “learning” curve involved. It’ll be easy for some and harder for others. But don’t fret, we all go through it. Here are a few things we all need to learn if we want to have a successful retirement lifestyle.

Learn to slow down

Learning to slow down was a big one for me. I don’t mean sitting on the couch and doing nothing. That’s not slowing down. That’s more like shutting down. You don’t want that.

Slowing down is more like taking your time to do things. You don’t necessarily have to get a certain project done on the weekend. When you’re retired, every day is a Saturday. You’re living the weekend that never ends. Don’t overload your plate and don’t stress about not finishing a project in one day. There’s always tomorrow.

Learn to value your free time

Free time is great, but too much can spell trouble. You don’t want so much of it you get bored. A large percentage of it needs to be filled. But then that’s your choice. Nobody is telling you what to do. You get to decide. My suggestion is to fill it with physical and/or mental activity. Unplug your television and fill your time with something that gives you some sort of return. Even if it’s nothing more than the satisfaction of a job well done.

Learning to be retired includes finding an activity, not just a hobby

What is a hobby? Virtually anything can be considered a hobby. If it’s something you like to do and it’s consistently repeatable, it’s a hobby. Coin collecting or making latch-hook rugs are hobbies. You might consider them fun but they don’t get you out and about. An activity on the other hand gets you active. It gets your body moving and adds oxygen to your blood. Hiking or gardening are two types of activities. You need activity in your life if you expect to stay healthy and have a successful retirement lifestyle.

Learn to travel either domestically or abroad. Maybe both.

Some people don’t do this well. If this is you, practice. Get away from the house. Go somewhere. Do something. Take a day trip or an extended vacation. Travel is like candy for your brain. It stimulates your senses, forces you to engage in your surroundings and it keeps you physically and mentally occupied.

You don’t have to go far but do go to a place where your surroundings are unfamiliar.

Learning it’s okay to get away from the house will open you up to a multitude of possibilities. You might even decide you like it.

Learn to be more social

Learning to be retired includes learning to be more social. Do you have this problem? I'll admit it. I do, but I’m getting better at it. I know my neighbors now. It’s a start.

Over the past couple of years, being more social has been ripped from our lives. We are social creatures by design. Being locked down, social distanced and masked has been hell for many of us. Some say this is intentional as it makes us easier to be controlled. I say disregard what you are being “taught”. Get out there and at the very least, meet your neighbors.

It’s good for you. Your body and your brain will thank you for it.


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