What will you do when you’ve retired?

Al fresco dining

Al fresco dining

I retired a week ago and so far, I have to say, retirement’s been good to me! But what will I do when the novelty has worn off? Because people keep telling me the novelty WILL wear off and I WILL get bored. Hmm, I don’t think so but – just in case it does- it probably wouldn’t do any harm to start formulating some plans.

So here they are, my plans for retirement (in no particular order because I don’t have to bother about that kind of thing any more):

  • Sort through all my books: see whether Amazon will buy any back; try to sell a few on EBay; give some to friends who might enjoy them; give some to charity; organise the others tidily and logically on the shelves.
  • Try out some new recipes, starting with all the ones on pieces of paper cut from magazines and stuck in the front of my tatty old recipe folder. Then have a proper perusal of all my recipe books and experiment with all sorts of things. Eat with enjoyment.
  • Cook all my favourite recipes, take photos of them, type up how to make them, then form them all into a beautiful (well nice) book to be published online and given to a few family members as gifts.
  • Sign up for some classes to learn something new – maybe beginners’ Greek or how to use my sewing machine or how to grow vegetables or neuro-linguistic programming. Anything really – the world is full of things to learn and everything’s interesting when you start finding out about it.
  • Make a llist of all the people I’ve been meaning to contact or meet up with. Then work my way through the list and enjoy some long lunches and reconnecting.
  • Make a list of all the things that need mending – then mend them.
  • Watch films. Why don’t I watch films? Is there something wrong with me? Why don’t I recognise the names or faces of any well-known actors? Clearly I’m missing out on soemthing here and I need to find out what.
  • Visit all the counties in the UK, starting with some beautiful ones I’ve never been to. Let’s see: I’ll start with Northumberland, Herefordshire and Shropshire. Then I want to plan in a meandering tour of Ireland. (I’ve never been there but, from everything I’ve heard, the only way to tour it  properly is meanderingly.)
  • Get some exercise, for goodness’ sake! Buy some proper walking shoes and wear them out. Learn how to play bowls. Find someone to play table tennis with. Become one of those women who walk up and down in swimming pools.
  • Go in the pound shop with three pounds and emerge with three wonderful treasures. Turn this into a competition with friends: who can get the most happiness from their £3? Next week try the 99p shop!
  • This one is really too boring but I suppose it has to be done: sort out the paperwork. Organise myself so that if I die tomorrow, it won’t cause the family too much hassle. (Will probably be too busy to do this one for a very long time.)
  • Finish knitting the jumper I started over twenty years ago. I’m not even exaggerating. Then finish all the half-done embroidery kits, tapestry cushions and half-crocheted shawls. Make something with all the bits of leftover wool.
  • On wet afternoons gather together groups of friends to play board games. Supply a couple of bottles of wine to entice the ones who say they don’t like board games. (They just mean they don’t like losing. After the wine they won’t care.)
  • Do some voluntary work for charity, after exploring what I could do and what would be most useful and at the same time, enjoyable.
  • Work through that big tin of old coins. Find out if any of them are worth anything. (Sell ’em!) Almost certainly they’re not worth anything, so then find some decent way to present them. Or maybe just get rid of them.
  • Do some decorating. Look at each room in turn and imagine it looking different. Some improvements could definitely be made! (For instance, that dolphin wallpaper in the toilet is no longer funny. And no-one ever laughed at it anyway because they thought I took it seriously.)
  • Book some nice holidays. Enjoy taking the time to find the best deal and going whenever I feel like it, not when work dictates that I can.
  • Do favours for friends and family. Enjoy the luxury of having the time to do this, instead of having to say, “Sorry: I would help, but I’m just too busy…”
  • Sort out all the photos. This is a mammoth job and I’m almost breathless at the thought of it. For starters, there are two boxes of family photos going back for decades. They all need scanning, labelling and presenting somehow. Then there are all the thousands of more recent photos on the computer. Frame the best ones and cherish them.
  • Read, read, read. Imagine the decadence of curling up with a book in the afternoon and spending the WHOLE afternoon immersed in reading. Read and savour some of the books I’ve not had time for before: all of Dickens and Shakespeare; all of Chaucer in the original.Lovely.
  • Sort out my CD collection. Go through every one, transferring the best tracks to iTunes. Chuck out the CDs that aren’t much good and carefully store the ones that are. Enjoy making wonderful playlists for every occasion. Play them loudly and add dancing to the exercise section- boogie on down, baby, ‘cos no-one’s watching! While I’m at it, find something to do with all the old LPs and tape cassettes.
  • Make greetings cards. Keep an organised birthday book and always have a personal card ready for every friend and family member’s birthday.
  • Discover small businesses: interesting tea shops, sellers of quirky objects, websites that sell something different, local growers and makers. Avoid chains of coffee shops and tedious predictable huge shops like the plague.
  • Write some books: adult fiction, children’s fiction, poetry, self-help books, all sorts of stuff – whatever I feel like. Then self-publish it (even if no-one reads it).
  • Join some new clubs and take up some new activities. Try several things out and then choose the best ones to pursue regularly.
  • Go and visit interesting places: museums, art galleries, historic houses. Find some tucked away places that people have almost forgotten about. Enjoy finding out their stories. Make life easy: sign up for some coach trips. Isn’t that how retired people are supposed to travel?
  • Watch rubbish on daytime TV. Start to believe that Jeremy Kyle is my friend.
  • Do crosswords, quizzes and Sudoku puzzles. Don’t rest until they’re completed.
  • Sometimes do nothing at all, except think. Watch the birds, feel the breeze, smell the roses.
  • Edit my wardrobe and only keep the clothes and shoes that I like. Store everything neatly.
  • Keep writing this blog – regularly. Enjoy it, cherish it and watch it grow into something to interest others as well as myself.
  • Talk to friends and family about everything they’re doing and everything I’m doing. Listen to what they’re thinking and feeling. Make plans to meet up and talk to them again. Soon. (With some home-made scones and home-made jam.)
  • Have a think and add some other things to this list. Do them.

So, to all you people who’ve been asking how I’ll fill my time now I’m retired and warning me that I’ll be bored, that I’ll miss work and soon want to go back to it: you may be right. But I doubt it.

3 thoughts on “What will you do when you’ve retired?

  1. Dorothy

    I have been ‘retired’ for 17 years now and can honestly say I have never been bored once. There are still not enough hours in the day to achieve all the things I want to do and it can be difficult to choose what to do when the opportunities are endless!! Enjoy this phase of life Sheila, you deserve it. Never mind, “Life begins at 40”, I think life actually begins at retirement when you finally get to choose how to spend your days and you have the wisdom to know that they are not endless, even if the possibilities are!

    • Thanks for your thoughts – I’m in total agreement and it’s great to hear how much you’re enjoying this stage of your life. I’ve never been bored before and I don’t intend to start now. It surprises me, though, how many people seem afraid to leave work.

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