Many people eagerly anticipate retirement. Others view its approach with trepidation, worried over how they’ll fill their days.

Bob retired from work in his early sixties and, deciding he was way too young to retire from life, downsized his suburban home for a country lakeside retreat. He bought a little boat, adopted a shelter-dog and got busy.

The local volunteer fire service deemed him past firefighting age, so Bob helped by cleaning the station and equipment. During emergencies, he was an important member of the team manning relief centres and distributing food and drink to the firefighters.

At home, he grew vegetables and revisited the hobbies of his youth: re-learning the guitar and painting landscapes. Summer afternoons found Bob and his dog out on the boat. During winter Bob did odd jobs around his cottage.

His children complained that he was never around, but Bob had worked since he was fifteen and had been hanging-out for retirement. He’d planned for it, dreamed about it, and now he was living it.

Australians are living longer; it’s not unreasonable to assume you’ll be retired for 20 or 30 years. Not sure how you’ll fill all those days? We have a few ideas to kick-start your new life.

Learn/Teach something

Do you have skills and talents you can share with others? Are you interested in learning from others in return? The University of the Third Age (U3A) may be your kind of group.

Located all over Australia, U3A groups meet regularly to provide learning and engagement for older people and disabled younger people. Organisers run structured courses with professional leaders or casual knowledge-share sessions conducted by group members or invited guests.

Look up the U3A in your area or visit www.u3a.org.au for information.

Become an Olympic athlete

Return to your favourite sport or learn a new one. Sports like archery and golf are Olympic sports! It’s true, and organisers of the 2020 Tokyo games are considering including bowls as well. Or closer to home, you can begin preparing now to enter the Pan Pacific Masters Games on the Gold Coast in 2020.

Write your memoirs

Everyone has a story to tell – yes, even you! You may think your life is rather ho-hum, but your children and grandchildren might disagree. Many independent publishers will help you produce a beautiful memoir with a short print run, perfect for family and friends.

Community

Feel like giving something back? The Australian Men’s Shed Association is a body that supports the health and wellbeing of men. It’s a terrific organisation for retirees with academic or practical skills to share through events and learning activities. To find a Men’s Shed near you, go to www.mensshed.org for details.

If that’s not your thing, or you’re the wrong gender, consider helping 4-legged friends at your local animal shelter. Love children? What about becoming a “Pyjama Angel”? Full details can be found on the Pyjama Foundation website www.thepyjamafoundation.com. Or check out your community notice board for local opportunities.

If retirement has snuck up and caught you unprepared, think about what you enjoy doing, what your skills and interests are and get busy. You’ve still got a lot of living to do – and finally, it’s all about you!

Sources:

www.u3a.org.au University of the Third Age

www.mensshed.org Australian Men’s Shed Association

www.thepyjamafoundation.com The Pyjama Foundation

www.mastersgames.com.au The Pan Pacific Masters Games