Chase your Passion at Retirement: Kick Start a Hobby

The voyage to retirement is often much better than the reality of arriving and sitting on your duff waiting to turn off the switch!  

While the Senior years can be a dream world which most of us eagerly anticipate, their arrival can be a bit of a let-down. I’ll bet you have friends with too much time on their hands, bored, restless, and ultimately less content than they were when dreaming of the vintage years’ sunny beaches.

Hobbies, whether they’re low-key or reach-for-the-stars, are one of the best and most time-honoured ways to “de-retire” or at least ward off the “it’s all over blues”. 

In fact, many retirees credit their hobbies with keeping them young…or at least keeping them alive! Look next to you. If your Grumpy is sliding up to retirement with no real activities in the planning bag, act now. An active Grumpy is a joy compared with a gnarled couch spud parked in a broken lawn chair!

One of our friends clearly said that she can listen to her husband talk about his collections for up to 30 minutes but beyond that, she just can’t do it so she wants her husband to volunteer in a museum. There, he can share about his knowledge and people will appreciate it.

We laughed when our friend shared this but we are in the same boat. I used to teasingly ask my husband when we walk in our city streets who would be his next victim. Once he engages the person to a conversation, the person is doomed. Unless, the person is able to extricate himself, it could take a good amount of time.

How to Choose a Hobby

No hobby? No problem – choosing one is exciting, and couldn’t be simpler. Remember back in high school, when a counsellor asked you what you would do for a living if you didn’t have to worry about money? Now’s the time to indulge that passion! 

If you find yourself stuck, there are several things you can try. Asking your buddies is a great way to go and watching their activities for ideas. What draws your interest.? What really gets you excited? They may provide answers that surprise you! 

Sitting down and letting your mind drift is another great way to choose a hobby. Don’t let Grumpy do this one…he’ll simply doze off!  What do you daydream about? Where does your mind go, during the course of a normal day, when you’re not focused on an activity? These can be excellent indicators of the territory where you’ll find a hobby you’ll truly love. 

If all else fails, you can try researching hobbies online. You’re not the only one ‘stuck’ trying to find engagement.  You’ll find many a wild range of ideas stuck together by desperate oldies that refuse to rust out, including lists of things to try in order to discover a pastime. 

These ‘mini’ hobby lists often ask you to try one activity for just a few hours. In most cases, you’ll know right away if a particular activity is something you’ll enjoy. From chess to car repair, knitting to gardening all the way to bird watching (the feathered kind…keep Grumpy glued!)

Revitalizing a Current Hobby 

Perhaps you already have a hobby, but your enthusiasm has flagged over the years. If you still feel a basic interest in this particular activity, there are plenty of ways to revitalize that yesteryear hobby and make it feel brand-new!  (Ahhh..if only we could do that with our Grumpies!)

Gardening is, perhaps, one of the most popular hobbies for people of all ages. In fact, it’s even becoming trendy! As a result, there are resources out there which you may never have considered. Your area may have a community garden, a place where locals volunteer their time. 

A friend of ours who also happens to be our doctore decided to fold up her practice and do gardening. She has never been happier. Everyday, she dances in her fields as she looks forward to the produce she can enjoy. What agreat way to destress your life.

The resulting bounty is usually either enjoyed during communal meals or donated to a local food bank. How about a herb patch on a balcony or a few butterfly magnet flowers close to your door.

If you’d rather garden closer to home, why not try something completely new? Try your hand at heirlooms – these unbelievably delicious and brightly-coloured varieties haven’t changed a bit for (often) over one hundred years!  It’s better to grow heirlooms than become one.

Perhaps you’ve always enjoyed fishing on weekends and holidays. Now’s the perfect time to upgrade your equipment, try out an undiscovered fishing spot, or even take a fishing vacation! Experienced guides are available all over the world, whether you’re after walleye or sharks! Listen to an audiobook while dangling your line.

I used to love painting but did not have much time to hone in my skills. Now, I have time and I enjoy learning how to use the different media from watercolours to oils and acrylics. It helps in dealing with boredom and loneliness as well as gives direction to one’s days.

Some of my Senior friends learn new skills like sewing and enjoy creating clothes for themselves. It is only when you try several possibilities that you discover what really makes you feel alive and happy. So, keep trying out new hobbies until you settle on one that really makes your days worth looking forward to.

Some Seniors even earn from their hobbies. I met two Seniors when I visited Quebec City. One is a painter and he has a stall right in the tourist area of Quebec City and he uses his talent to paint people. My friend and I had ourselves painted and we enjoyed the experience so much. I think we also put smiles in the faces of people passing and looking at us.

The other one loves to sing and she sings in a park close to the famous Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City. She even has records of her songs that she sells to those who love listening to her. Not only does she earn, she also makes so many people happy as they stop, sit in one of the benches and sing along with her. Some tourists even dance as they listen to her. What a wonderful way to live one’s Senior years.

Regardless of your current hobby, the same principles can be applied. Do a bit of research and build on an activity you already enjoy. This will give your hobby a new life, and lend some real excitement to your retirement!  Grumpy loves birds and spends time whistling in the garden in full communication. Bird feeders…baths…..birdhouses…a whirling inferno of feathered tweeters.  Having a hobby is everything!