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Retirement - Now What?

Updated on April 7, 2015
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening,
that is translated through you into action, and
because there is only one of you in all time,
this expression is unique.

Martha Graham


Things to do After Retirement

Exercise and Maintain your Vitality.

We have heard it all our lives, exercise to maintain your health, some of us did and others didn’t. Too busy we said, too lazy we sighed.

That glorious, warm, exciting, exuberant word “vitality” is what you need to maintain when you grow older after all, you have retired from full time work, not from life.

You need and want what the dictionary defines as vitality i.e. exuberant physical strength and mental vigour it gives you the capacity for continuing a meaningful or purposeful existence.

One of the many benefits of retirement is the control over your schedules and those reasons, you used in the past, to avoid exercise has slowly dissolved into oblivion. You need to enhance your strength to cope with infirmities and prevent or control arthritis which I believe is the most effective way to deal with this common malady.

Life After Retirement

Those of you who have always enjoyed exercising understand and wax lyrical about the pleasures it brings and how good you feel when you STOP ha ha! Those of us who approached exercise with a degree of reluctance need to know the joy physical activity brings.

Firstly, perhaps any outdoor activity encompasses the added benefit of enjoying nature and being aware of the seasons progression as the days lengthen and shorten.

Secondly, many forms of exercise provide a means of enhancing your social interactions and give you an activity to do with others e.g. pilates or yoga, swimming at the gym, ballroom dance classes whatever excites or interests you.

Exercise can give you many things, new friendships, new hurts, as your body develops its strength but also the pleasurable feeling, satisfaction and sense of accomplishment when you STOP!

Half our life is spent trying to find something to do

with the time

we have rushed through life trying to save.

- Will Rogers, 1949


Brain Waves

Now don’t forget that other muscle, the one between your ears!

Retirees need to find activities that not only stimulate you mentally but give you joy.

My mother, at 85 is mentally and physically agile due to a special set of genes no doubt as she was not one for exercise. All my life she has said to me, don’t use a calculator for arithmetic unless it's necessary, use you mind - keep it working with all sorts of puzzles!

Mentally she has always added up whatever in her head, loves crossword puzzles, now has discovered Suduku, loves her Kindle for book reading, will beat you at Trivial Pursuit or Scrabble. Does her own shopping (although she no longer drives) and walks wherever she can, climbs the stairs instead of using the lift and walks up straight and without a cane.

Good for her right - so what are the things you never had time for when working full time?

Now that you have retired learn something new, perhaps

  • painting,
  • garden design,
  • a new language,
  • take up woodwork,
  • flying - be it engine or glider,
  • bird watching etc.

Your mind is stimulated, you are stimulated, you are fascinating and joyful as you accomplish a goal and share it with other like-minded people.


Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years.

We grow old by deserting our ideals.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but

to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.

~Samuel Ullman

Careers after Retirement

Who wants to be a tedious blob sitting in front of television - it certainly won’t make you appealing to other people nor will life be intriguing to you.

Perhaps in your retirement, you would like to do charity work, contribute in some way to society and make the world a better place for having you in it.

There are so many possibilities out there, from simple reading to the aged or infirm, sick children in hospitals, to teaching orphaned children something new, a skill, a game, how to grow vegetables or flowers, or other life skills like reading, writing or arithmetic.

Perhaps you could raise money for a specific project such as building a dormitory in a childrens’ home, laying walkways with rails or looking after gardens in an old age home, piping water or sanitation to the poor.

So darned much to do and now that you are retired you have the ability to have an impact on others’ lives. As long as you have your physical and mental capabilities you can be a positive influence in your small part of the world, making your mark and maintaining vitality.

Think about what else you can do to maintain, gain and live with exuberant vitality.

When I stand before God at the end of my life,

I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left,

and could say,

'I used everything you gave me'.

Erma Bombeck

When I'm 64 - Clemmer salutes the Beatles


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    • Donna Nitz Muller profile image

      Donna Nitz Muller 3 years ago from 509 Pluto Court

      I guess since I just found this hub, that makes the hub green. I enjoyed reading this advice to me. Thank you.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      Mizjo, Many thanks for stopping by and for your interesting comments that are appreciated. The one very scary factor is the lack of money, and for those who have not put enough away, their future could be fraught with worry.

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 5 years ago from New York City, NY

      Well written and useful to us retirees. Yes, now we have all the time in the world, the sky's the limit for what we can do with it. It is just important that we keep mentally and physically fit, otherwise this precious time is wasted on being sick and, honestly, useless to ourselves or anyone else.

      Keep fit, give some time to those less fortunate, and have a happy retirement (of course, it would be useful to have enough money put by to retire on).

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      dianetrotter, Thank you for stopping by and for your comments, so appreciated.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 5 years ago from Fontana

      Hi! I am preparing to retire in next 4 to 5 years. I love to write and so I joined Hubpages.

      You are so right that exercize and mental stimulation are important. I know people who retired and died within a few months. Retirement should not be giving up. Thank you for this encouragement!

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      mperrottet, Well thank you so much for the interesting comment and the great votes. I appreciate you taking the time!

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 5 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      I've been retired for 5 years, and I'm never bored - the days seem to fly by. I know many people that worry about retirement, thinking they won't know what to do with themselves, though. This article has lots of good suggestions. Voted up, interesting and useful!

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      Hi Mama Kim 8, Great that you visited, I appreciate your comments.

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 5 years ago

      Wonderful advise for the retired community.. but us younger folk could heed some of this advise as well ^_^ voted up!