A Checklist Of Experiences

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Retirement websites often distill retired life to a list of things that you can check off one-by-one.* From a tired, working person’s perspective, it’s an enticing list of wonderful possibilities. I’ve found that it over-simplifies the process of retiring. It makes retirement look like an endless holiday where you get to do all your favourite things forever. It’s what is referred to as the ‘honeymoon stage’ of retirement. It happens for a short time. But it doesn’t last.

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My Journey So Far

Find Meaning

Sure, I’ve done some things on those lists but not because they were on a list. Having a reason and purpose behind doing those things makes them meaningful for me. Finding meaning in retired life is the journey I’m on. Hopefully, it will be a long trip.

Expand My Experiences

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Of course, finding meaning is not straightforward. I’ve been using many tools such as journalling, walking and researching. I’ve tried to open myself up to new experiences and new ideas. I’m trying to make my world bigger now and resist the urge to shrink onto the comfort of the couch. I see retirement as a wonderful opportunity: a gift. I recognize my privilege of being physically and financially able to look at it that way.

Try New Things At Any Age

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Ironically, those lists of wonderful things to do when you retire, are actually wonderful things to do at any stage of your life. Why do we think we need to wait for retirement to do them? Working full-time and doing the work of life (making food, cleaning, taking care of children) makes it difficult to find the time. But even if you aren’t retired and only have an hour a week for one new thing, do it. It will bring new energy and joy into your life. Who doesn’t want that? If you are retired, start looking for meaning in that list. You’re in it for the long game: creating a new life for yourself. Be brave and venture forth from the couch! It’s a big world out there and I’ll join you.

*Here’s one of the lists that I found:

To help you with your planning, we’ve compiled a list of 72 things to do in retirement:

  • Spend time with grandchildren
  • Travel the world
  • Start a new business
  • Travel the country
  • Learn a new language
  • Help a friend
  • Take a class
  • Watch more movies
  • Write a book
  • Write a poem
  • Make a donation
  • Spend time with a pet
  • Go to the gym
  • Start a blog
  • Read more books
  • Go to a baseball game
  • Go to a concert
  • Get a massage
  • Watch a sunrise or sunset
  • Have a picnic
  • Go on a nature walk
  • Go to a museum
  • Go fishing
  • Play poker
  • Go on a bike ride
  • Go camping
  • Visit a winery
  • Go to a farmers market
  • Go on a vacation
  • Go to the zoo
  • Listen to music
  • Play golf
  • Play video games
  • Get a part-time job
  • Go to the beach
  • Go to the movies
  • Go on a road trip
  • Take a nap
  • Make a new friend
  • Play tennis
  • Go to a carnival
  • Play a board game
  • Play cards
  • Go to a comedy show
  • Go on a cruise
  • Go to a baseball game
  • Take a photography class
  • Learn something new online
  • Workout more often
  • Make friends with your neighbours
  • Take up a new hobby or craft project
  • Have coffee with an old friend you haven’t seen in years
  • Take a cooking class
  • Buy an RV and travel around the country
  • Take a dance class or go salsa dancing
  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter
  • Take an improv class
  • Go to the park and feed the ducks
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Join a choir
  • Learn to knit or crochet
  • Start a band
  • Go to the aquarium
  • Host a book club meeting at your house
  • Write letters to old friends you haven’t seen in years
  • Write a letter to your future self
  • Get involved in local politics
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter
  • Give back to your community through volunteering
  • Learn how to scuba dive
  • Watch a documentary about something you’re interested in
  • Have dinner with your family more often

Which one will you try today?

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