Five Lessons to Help You Make the Most of Retirement

If you have a Type A personality, you will feel some anxiety thinking about what you’ll do after retiring. I think everybody worries about that. And the truth is, not everyone enjoys retirement. One poor guy told me he’s basically miserable and misses his job. Since retiring, he sits around and watches TV all day.

That’s why I think you need to spend time figuring how what your hobbies are, what your passions are, and exploring what brings you a sense of purpose. The time you spend before retirement thinking about retirement is directly correlated to how smooth your transition is going to go. So that’s how you minimize anxiety.

Find Purpose by Sinking Your Teeth into a Project

Be open to trying new things. Try anything that might interest you. For example, my wife started her charity because she saw a YouTube video about Fences For Fido, a non-profit that donates fences for dogs that have been chained up their whole lives. The mission just clicked with her. She launched her own charity, Freedom for Fido, which supports the same cause.

building a fence for dogs

You should be looking for things that sound interesting. It’s fine if it doesn’t work out because you can always try something else.

If possible, get the ball rolling before you retire. I actually started my blog as a side hustle before I retired to see if it was something I would really enjoy. And it took on more purpose in retirement.

Trying Starting a Blog

The biggest benefit I’ve gotten from my blog is the positive feedback from the hundreds of people that I’ve helped over the years in my writing. My purpose for writing is to share what I’m learning and get it out there in a form that other people can learn from.

The second big benefit for me is, I discovered that I actually love to write. You have to come up with a relevant topic and think about how you can turn that into a story. How do you make it engaging? To me, the writing process is really fun.

The third big benefit is the blogging community. You lose all these social connections when you retire. And I’ve been fortunate because I feel like I’ve kind of replaced that entire social network at work with my social network from blogging.

Create Structure if You Need it

It is possible to still have structure in your day even without a 9 to 5. You can build as much structure as you want, the difference being that now it’s based on what you want to do. For example, I have an 8:00 am spin class three days a week. If you wanted to regiment your schedule, you can set up regular volunteer shifts. For example, you could volunteer at the Humane Society every Tuesday from 10:00 am until noon.

Relocating After Retirement Can Be Stressful

Moving somewhere else is one of the hardest about retiring.

Because I was traveling for business and our house sold quickly, we only had one day to get rid of everything in our old house. So we ran around taking a bunch of pictures and blasted them up on Craigslist on the Facebook Marketplace. We put everything up for sale.

When we sold our house and moved into our mountain home, I was absolutely determined we are not going to put anything in storage. I mean I’ll give it away before I’ll pay for storage.

But you know, it’s very strenuous to do all that you know on top of all the emotional stuff that’s going on at the same time. There’s both the physical aspect of it, which is a lot when you are trying to get rid of a lifetime’s worth of stuff. And then there’s the emotional aspect of it where you’re leaving where you’ve been. We had a lot of good friendships and we knew we were leaving.

My sister is going through now she’s downsizing and she’s not she has more time but she has that same overwhelming feeling trying to get rid of a lifetime’s worth of stuff.

Build a New Social Network Through Hobbies and Volunteering

I’ve “met” many virtual friends through blogging, but I would add that connecting with people over social media is not sufficient. You also need to develop real-life, personal relationships wherever you choose to retire.

We were fortunate that we retired in a mountain town where we had a vacation home for seven years. We spent weekends up here so we started building our social network before we retired. For example, while we were still working, we volunteered at the local dog rescue where they do a dog rescue event every Saturday. We built a group of friends that way.

I think the two biggest things that we’ve done since we’ve retired to strengthen those relationships is: we joined a local church and we joined a local gym where we met a lot of people. If we are feeling like we’re connecting with somebody we meet at the gym, we’ll invite them out to dinner. Take that extra step with people because that’s how you form friendships.

Try going to groups on Meetup and Facebook. In every community now, there are different clubs that cater to different interests. We joined a hiking club. There’s a lot of good mountain biking up here, and I like to mountain bike. So I went into the mountain bike shop and joined their group rides every Saturday. So just put yourself out there.

This was taken from an interview with Fritz Gilbert of The Retirement Manifesto. He and his wife retired at 55. They moved to a cabin in the North Georgia mountains and are now touring the US as part of their Great American Roadtrip.