Hobbies for Retirees

By Lynne Rominger

Next year, Paul Greco retires from a twenty-plus-year career teaching, coaching, and advising the Key Club at a high school. Although he leaves a world of education and the constant pace, Paul has no plans to slow down. Instead, "travel, fishing, and camping" will encompass his time.


Mama Does Dance and Daddy Does Rock 'n' Roll    to top

Paul belongs to the number of ever-growing Baby Boomers who refuse to rock away their golden years in a chair, preferring instead to rock 'n' roll. Nationwide, hobbies and activities prevail among these retirees.

Pretty smart ... especially considering how research now shows conclusively that in order to live longer and happily, it remains increasingly important for people to stay physically, mentally, and socially stimulated as they age.

So if you are planning to retire soon and are looking for some ideas for fun hobbies, look here. We'll introduce you to some of the great ways your peers are staying "forever young."


Better to Give Than to Receive    to top

According to Judy Bennett, a member of the administrative team for one of Del Webb's newest Sun Cities, Sun City Lincoln Hills, seniors "bring incredible talent and skills [to retirement] that are still current and necessary. Now they have the time to share their skills with the greater community." Many give of their time and talents to worthy causes and have a great time doing so. From volunteering in soup kitchens to making quilts for women's shelters to rocking neonatal infants, the options are endless for giving hobbies! At Sun City Lincoln Hills, for instance, residents plant together and have formed an all-volunteer farmer's market. Perhaps you have a favorite cause that might happily accept your help?

Hammock Chat
Interested in lending a helping hand but don't know where to begin? Contact your local chapter of the United Way. The organization can direct you to a variety of nonprofit establishments in your area in need of help. Navigate online to www.unitedway.com.


For Art's Sake    to top

Do you always stop by the gallery window and long to linger inside? Was sketching or painting something you enjoyed but never found the time to pursue? Did you wish so many years ago now that your college degree allowed time for a creative writing class within your engineering curriculum? Now is the time, then, to let out your artistic side. Take a sculpting class or learn to paint. Express your artistic self in what John F. Kennedy called his pastime of poetry: the "eternal virginity of words." Try your hand at writing. Finally enroll in that creative writing class and bring your poetry to open mic night. Most of the bookstores host an evening or two a month devoted to new voices. If you love "belles lettres" but do not enjoy writing yourself, participate in a book club and explore the artistry of the latest authors on the bestseller lists.

Hammock Chat
Many venues host evenings where the establishment invites the public to share their poetry, writing, songs--anything artistic--with the patrons. The microphone, per se, is open to everyone. Hence, from there comes the term "open mic" or "open mike."

Hammock Chat
Love to read but can't find a book group or club that meets your interests? Form your own club! Bookstores love to host reading circles. Just contact the store manager or community relations representative and express your interest in leading a sci-fi, feng shui, women's fiction, or fantasy club--whatever suits your fancy.


Dance Fever     to top

Hustle, tango, salsa, country line, swing--put on your red shoes and dance! Last year, your need to get up early and go to work may have precluded staying out late and dancing the night away. But this year, retirement gives you the right to stay out all night and tango to your heart's content. So grab your partner and do-si-do to the nearest studio, where you'll learn all the steps to take you from wallflower to swing sister.


Run, Run, Run As Fast As You Can    to top

Or play tennis. Or take tae kwon do. Or kick-box. By making exercise or a sport your hobby, you benefit your whole body and even slow the aging process. If those long hours in the office hindered you from joining a racquet club or hitting the holes on the green, take advantage of retirement and return to your favorite game or find a new one. Senior competitive and recreational teams abound in everything from soccer to swimming to cycling. Check with your local city parks and recreation department to find out about programs or join a health club and immerse yourself in the pool and spa facilities. Circuit training, anyone? You'll be flashing six-pack abdominals at your grandchild's birthday in no time. Way to go, Grandpa!


The Old College Try    to top

Love to learn? If you find yourself watching every documentary the History Channel or the Discovery Channel offers, perhaps going back to school is for you. Oceanography, archaeology, astronomy, French, computer science, art history, biology, zoology--pick up a catalog at your local community college or university and find a class that intrigues you. Many academic systems now offer seniors the option of auditing classes, so you can sit back and enjoy without the pressure of quizzes, papers, and tests. But if the competitive spirit moves you, plant yourself firmly in the front row and go for it. You may find your education hobby turning into a passionate new career.

But succinctly, your hobby options remain as endless as the nuances of your personality. You'll want to find something you enjoy and find stimulating. If all else fails, you won't go wrong with the traditional retirement hobby: travel. Call your travel agent and explore the world. Happy trails!


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