Thursday, February 18, 2010

Early Inventory of Retirement Hobbies - Overview

The following comment was included in the guide related to the retirement planning process. "Hobbies and civic activities should only be included if they relate to your job or if you have achieved some level of distinction in doing them."

Now just a minute! Unless the brain is to be retired immediately, this is in no way the facts. The body can be slowed down as it gets older, if we choose to do so, but certainly we do not want to slow the brain. Medical experts tell us to keep the brain active to avoid many unpleasant things that can cause us to break down mentally.

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We have huge energy stores inside of us, both mentally and physically, as well as our unique talents, gifts and capabilities. Channeling these gifts and talents into hobbies will give us rewards that will make retirement free time a major contributor to those truly "Golden Years".

For many there is a total mismatch between the things we enjoy doing in our free time and our profession. Yet more than 8 hours every working day is spent in the work place; doing things we don't enjoy doing. But it puts food on the table and pay bills.
Fortunately the job or profession utilizes only a minute proportion of our talent and potential. Free time could be used to manage a business that is aligned to our interests, hobbies, strengths, passion and desires. You should identify ways of periodically reworking your life's blueprint, especially after facing life changing events and through proper channeling of your abilities; this makes the flow into retirement much smoother.

Strangely, if you put talent and potential to good use they will flourish and shine, you will become so passionate and involved in such a venture it will almost always succeed. Of course, there will be moments of uncertainty and doubt but you can always overcome such challenges and succeed. What a wonderful way to consume your free time and build an extra income stream while you are working and to build a base for retirement free time enjoyment. Most still in the work force will fail to believe that retirees can face numerous mental traumas pertaining to the loss of recognition and status in their working society. Building an active retirement hobby that you are passionate about will replace this trauma.

Documented facts tell us that we usually do not change our established personality norms when we retire. If we have developed a jovial personality we will continue to be jovial. A dominant personality will remain dominant. If we have no leisure time activities we will definitely have a difficult time developing them when we retire.

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The vice president of a large corporation who retired because of his doctor advised him to quit, a few months later, he started getting new business cards printed with the designation of “corporate consultant”. The reality was that after being a high-profile vice-president for many years, it was very difficult for him not to have a business card or title.
You need to understand your personality traits and plan for them. Just remember age is no longer a barrier. The amazing breakthroughs in helping us live longer, healthier lives have made us just as old as we feel. (some days older than others).  As one senior citizen loves to say, “I never think of my age.’’ That’s a sentiment many others would agree with.

Building of an active retirement hobby that you are passionate about will replace free time stress and boredom.

Many retirees find that a new hobby leads them to develop new skills ....and a new network of friends. For some their Retirement hobbies allow them to discover whole new dimensions of their own personality. Others wind up turning the activity into a small business that provides a bit of income for themselves.

The question for many of us is, "where to begin? How do I decide what might be good Retirement hobbies for me?"

In 2004 researchers in Greece found that whether you are right handed or left handed can influence your preferences for hobbies.They said that right-handed individuals tend to prefer doing sports while those who are left-handed preferred reading books, collecting, or going to the cinema/theater. Ambidextrous persons were among those who preferred arts, like playing music, drawing, or handicraft.

But one of the things about becoming an Ageless Elder is the ability to go against the norm. Many retirees have taken new directions and chosen new Retirement hobbies.

Here are some suggestions:
  1. It is good to have several different types of hobbies. Some may be carry over from earlier interests but others should be new.
Research shows that trying new things, learning new skills is away to keep our brains functioning at top level. Learning new things will keep you young.

  1. A Hobby that involves rhythmic physical activity should be at the top of your list. There is walking (including hiking, Nordic walking and power walking, hiking and mountain climbing). Then there is cycling (mountain biking, on road bicycling or using recumbent trikes - yes tricycles are great for those afraid of falling).
Add to this list of activities by swimming, jogging, dancing ( ball room, tap or any of the hundreds of national or folk dances), skiing, ice or roller skating, rowing, sculling....the list goes on and on.

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Why have such a physical Activity as one of your Retirement hobbies? One hour a day spent on such an active hobby, will make you 'grow younger each year that you do this. Yes, grow younger physically and mentally.

  1. Many retirees take up other physical Retirement hobbies: Gardening is popular (creating an organic landscape, raised bed vegetables or specializing in a particular flower such as roses or day lilies).
Kayaking is one of the fastest growing sports for the over 50 set. No, not 'whitewater' but the kind done of rivers, streams or ocean kayaking. Archery, horseback riding - Yes, many a retiree has fulfilled a life long wish to ride! And of course there is fly fishing for men and women.

Now you can learn a lot about any of these through books or by talking with sales people who engage in the hobby too. For others you may need a class or a season of classes e.g. horseback riding. But think about it. Take some time to day dream. Imagine yourself riding a horse or growing your prize rose.

Your library has lots of books or you can do a quick review at Amazon hobby books. Use the phone book to find some places that cater to hobbyists. Visit some shops. Talk. Ask questions. Most hobbies love to talk about their craft. Take a class or participate in a weekend vacation for beginners. It is your life now. Have some fun exploring your options.

  1. Another area that offers good Retirement hobbies are 'traditional hobbies' like Lionel trains, Lego, tinker toys, model airplanes, cars and ships....
Both men and women have found real joy building, puttering and playing with these. Maybe there was not enough time or money to indulge when you were growing up but now you can have the time of your life. And because you are an adult, you will be able to bring skills and understanding to building, making, running things that no child can posses.

Take some time out in a few hobby stores. Use the Internet to explore some options. This can be fun!

  1. Handcrafts. In the last 10 years both men and women are turning to handcrafts. Maybe it is an antidote to our electronic world but wood carving, knitting, embroidering, weaving, rub hooking and braiding, beading, refinishing, clay sculpting, tiling - are all enjoying revivals.
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People with mild arthritis have said that knitting and clay sculpting keep their hands supple. There is something very calming about knitting - same with crocheting. And you can try any one of these Retirement hobbies without spending a fortune.

Again take a few trips to the stores that sell the supplies for such crafts and handwork. Get in conversation with other retirees. Ask the sales person for 'something for a beginner' and inquire about local classes. The community of hand crafters tends to be peopled by happy, helpful folks. This hobby may not only take up your interest but it can bring you new friends too.

  1. The arts are another hobby area the retirees really enjoy. Music, sculpture, clay work, painting, drawing, dancing, writing poetry and stories..... The list goes on and on.
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Again, if you have spent your life in business or service, you have lots of skills. But the arts are what they call 'right brain activities' and that is the part of our brain most connected with mood.

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