11 Unusual and Highly Fulfilling Things to do After you Retire

Published by Thomas on

When you retire, whether it’s in your thirties, fifties or sixties, there is one important thing to take care of. That is ensuring that you fill up the gap in your life that’s created by quitting your job.

Many people who retire forget about this.

For many, retiring has just become an end to itself rather than a means to a greater end. They save and invest, they are frugal and then finally that moment arrives. They leave their letter of resignation on their boss’s desk and walk out of the office straight to the supermarket for a six pack of beer to celebrate their retirement.

The first weeks of retirement go by extremely fast.

They do some chores in the morning and spend the rest of the afternoon sipping beer in their back yard. But then… all of a sudden boredom starts to slip in. They wake up one day and realize they all the chords they were not able to do when they had a busy work life are now finished.

They think hard for a moment but can’t come up with any alternative ideas. All their friends are busy working and they don’t have any other social activities they can go to. So, they open up another six pack of beer and spend their day in the back yard.

Studies show that many people who are about to retire, are not actively planning what they will do when the moment is there. They think that activities will just come by and that their days will be filled with meaningful things to do.

For some, this does happen but for many this is an illusion. Once you leave your work environment there is a gap of well up to fifty hours a week that you need to fill up. Fifty hours in which most of your social circle will be busy working while you are not.

The earlier in life you retire the more this will be the case. Consciously planning what you will spend those hours on is essential to prevent retirement boredom from creeping in. A study done by the Institute of Economic Affairs in London shows that the likelihood of depression goes up by about 40% when someone retires.

Believe it or not, work actually provides us with many of the things we need in life. It keeps us busy, gives us challenges, gives us the opportunity to make social connections, it gives us routine and it provides us with a purpose.

When you retire, that environment is entirely gone from one day to another. So you’ll have to create another environment that gives you what you need in life. That gives you challenge, the opportunity to connect with people, the opportunity to keep growing and that gives you a sense of purpose.

And believe me, sipping beers in the backyard isn’t going to fulfill you for years to come.

Hence, I have made a list for retirees and people about to retire. A list filled with 12 unusual, fulfilling and even somewhat adventurous things you can do when you retire.

Go spearfishing on a remote island

If you’re reading this then chances are high that you are an inhabitant of a first world country. As a first world country inhabitant you are quite likely used to a high quality of life and you are always surrounded by comfort. You live in a world where the economy runs 24/7.

Everything you want is just one click away. Whether it’s take-out food, groceries or the new iPhone.

Living in this environment provides us with much comfort. In a way this is good because it makes our lives incredibly convenient and easy. However, there are also some major downsides lurking around the corner. All these comforts around us make us spoiled and the 24/7 economy pushes us to do even more in twenty four hours.

Research shows that we get so used to the comfort all around us that we eventually start to underappreciate the simple things in life. The demanding 24/7 economy and consumerism makes us shallow and always in a hurry.

Everyone is always in a hurry, lunch breaks get shorter and people hardly take a time to stand still and look around them anymore.

Going back to basic on a simple retreat somewhere can be a great way to kickstart your retirement with an adventure and reboot your system at the same time.

Now perhaps spearfishing on a remote island may sound a bit extreme for some of you. Though it’s more about the idea behind it.

The idea to kickstart your retirement someplace where cellular data has yet to be discovered. Where food is fresh and not full of artificial ingredients. Where people aren’t rushed and late for meetings all the time but take time to look around, connect with others and enjoy the little things in life.

The options are limitless. Go camping in a natural park, rent a beach house somewhere sunny or rent a small cabin in the woods. Here you can kickstart your retirement by learning how to appreciate the simple things in life again. How to take it easy and not let yourself get rushed by all the rushed people and noise around you. How to be able to focus without the many distractions around you.

It’s adventurous and gives you the opportunity to start your retirement with an intense reboot from your busy work life.

Start teaching or mentoring

As a retiree you have evidently acquired much knowledge and wisdom of this world. A first accomplishment is that you have actually made it to retirement.

This already makes you better in money management than millions of other people. So what should you do with all this wisdom and knowledge? I’d say you should pass it on to the next generations. Teaching or mentoring is the perfect activity for a retiree. It is very fulfilling to see people apply what you learn them and to see them grow both professionally and personally.

There are two different ways to go about it. There’s teaching and there’s mentoring. Teaching is more focused on a group whom you teach a skill or knowledge. Mentoring is mostly one on one and goes deeper than teaching.

Where teaching is often focused on skills, mentoring is often focused on personal or professional development.

You can become a teacher in almost anything, given that you possess the right knowledge and, if necessary, the right papers. Were you a marketing manager for a fortune 500 company for 10 years? Who better is there to teach marketing to young students than someone with your experience? The same applies for any other skill whether it’s business, Mandarin or how to be a hairdresser.

Mentoring is also quite popular these days. More and more starting entrepreneurs and ambitious young professionals seek out mentors. They seek mentorship on both professional and personal guidance.

They want to learn how to grow their business, how to advance in the corporate ladder and how to deal with situations like managing personnel.

Mentoring someone leads to strong social connections and can be a very fulfilling activity.

Walk a pilgrimage route

Pilgrimage routes are immensely popular among retirees. Around the world there are many beautiful and centuries old pilgrimage routes that you can walk.

Routes that take you through immensely beautiful sceneries. For example, you can walk the beautiful trail to Santiago de Compostella in Northern Spain or the Kumando Kodo trail in the mountains of Japan.

Walking a pilgrimage route has many benefits. For starters it keeps you occupied for quite some time. There are pilgrims out there who spend months or even up to a year walking trails that are several thousand miles long.

A journey like this is challenging on many fronts. It is a physical challenge for your body. You don’t just put on your shoes and start walking a thousand miles. It requires months of training. But perhaps even the biggest challenge is the planning and logistics.

The trails are often in desolate areas and require careful planning. Where will you sleep? Where will you eat? How will you get a pair of new walking shoes when yours are worn out?

You can’t just spend months in two hundred dollar hotels every night. Let alone that many towns on a pilgrimage route don’t have a hotel. The preparation for a pilgrimage is a time consuming and very fulfilling activity on itself. And then the voyage has yet to start.

The journey itself is full of challenges and is also socially beneficial. Along your journey you will meet many other pilgrims. Every single one of them has a different background and is driven by different motivations.

You’ll have nothing but your preparation and the other pilgrims around you to face the challenges you are given. Tough situations like this is where friendships for life are forged.

Help a relative start or grow their business

Entrepreneurs who just started out are likely to have a tough time. Their starting costs are high but their business is often not profitable enough yet.

Imagine your son, daughter or a close relative has just started their own business or has the intention to. Who better than someone with business and life experience like you is there to provide them with help?

The help you offer can be in all kinds of ways. You can be their legal advisor, help them out with their taxes or do more practical things like babysit for them or help them out by being a host in your daughter’s beauty salon.

Helping your children or a friend run their business is meaningful work that also strengthens your relationship with them. It’s very fulfilling to see how their business grows and how grateful they can be for your help.

But, be careful though! Don’t get sucked into it so much that it starts to feel like work all over again.

Visit every world wonder

There are probably more clichés about the richness of travel for the mind than there are rocks in the Inca city of Peru so I won’t bother you with them.

When you’re retired you have the time, the money and perhaps also the opportunity. Why not go on an extensive travel and scratch every world wonder off your bucket list.

  • Climb the Corcovado mountain to visit Christo Redentor in Rio de Janeiro
  • Hike the Incan trail towards Macchu Pichu in Peru
  • Take a stroll over the Chinese wall
  • Visit the ancient city of Petra in Jordan
  • Take a beautiful photo of the Taj Mahal in India
  • Visit the ancient Mayan temples of Chitzen Itza in Mexico
  • Stroll through the streets of Rome past the Colloseum

You live only once so make it count and visit everything beautiful the world has to offer you!

world wonders

Redecorate your home

Now that you’re retired, you are probably home much more often than before. Certain rooms and places in your home will be used more intensively than before. Perhaps you once bought that home with a garage and you had the wildest ideas of turning it into your own workplace.

When you were moving you temporarily used it to store boxes. Unfortunately due to lack of time and space the “temporarily” turned into “permanently” and your dreams of having that workplace died a slow death.

For the last decade your garage has been more of a junkyard than an actual workplace. Especially when you’re taking up crafting you’ll want to use the garage more often. You could redecorate your home, create a new destination for your junk and turn your garage into a workplace.

Redecorating your home takes time, planning, patience and creativity. It’s the perfect project to let your creative juices flow. When your done you’ll have a strong feeling of fulfillment and pride!

Learn how to craft something really well

Research shows that fulfillment and happiness is mostly gained by improving yourself on some level. The journey from not being able how to do something to becoming an expert at it is extremely fulfilling. When you are retired and have more time, you could try learning how to craft something really well.

I, for example, have recently started to learn how to craft longboards. (you know those long skateboards) I like riding my own longboard and have at many occasions dreamed of making my own perfect longboard.

Making my own longboard gives me the opportunity to customize everything I can. I can choose my own layers of wood, decorate the bottom in my own way and choose my own type of wheels. The first few longboards I made broke down as soon as I stepped on them.

When I found the right combination of wood they no longer broke down but had an asymmetrical shape. I kept trying and experimenting until I became a really decent craftsman of longboards.

The process of learning to craft something really well is incredibly fulfilling.

There are numerous stories of retiree’s taking up craftmanship as a hobby. My friend’s dad for example crafts tables out of scaffolding wood and another friend’s dad builds wooden model planes.

Plus, if you do it really well you can also earn some income on the side by selling what you have crafted.

Build your (grand)children a treehouse

For a ten year old there is one thing that beats all toys and games. It’s the most epic thing you can have. What is it you ask? A tree house! (At least, that’s what was going on in my mind when I was ten)

I tried to build over a dozen treehouses when I was little. I had big dreams and a lot of motivation. All that was lacking was a bit of experienced adult supervision. The supervision of someone capable of turning my wildest dreams into reality.

If you have children or grandchildren in the “treehouses are epic” age range, go to the construction store and buy everything you need for a treehouse!

Find that perfect tree whether in your back yard or not and start building with them. You’ll bond with them and engage in an incredibly fulfilling activity.

Learn how to cook like a masterchef

Basically, this idea is pretty much related to the idea of learning to craft something really well. As I explained before, going from amateur to mastering some skill is incredibly fulfilling. This goes for crafting longboards, wooden tables, miniature boats but also for meals.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just eat a restaurant quality meal every day without having to go to an actual restaurant for it?

Teaching yourself to become a masterchef is challenging and fulfilling at the same time. There are plenty of ways to learn how to cook like a legend.

You can watch 24 Kitchen and try to replicate what the chefs over there are making or you can find recipes on blogs and websites. However, what I’d most recommend is to take cooking classes. Cooking classes are extremely fun and much more engaging then 24 Kitchen and blogs.

You’ll learn much faster because you have the ability to receive instant expert feedback on what you are doing. Next to that, the activity has a strong social component. It is often done in groups which provides you with the opportunity to connect with new people.

A retired ex co-worker of mine attended cooking classes and kept in touch with the people he met there. Once every two weeks they cook meals together for homeless and elderly people.

And just a little encouragement for the "manly men” out there… There are plenty of grill cooking classes that will teach you how to grill that perfect tomahawk steak as well ;).

Grow a vegetable garden

This one goes well with the “learn how to cook like a masterchef” activity. If you love cooking, then why not do it with your own grown ingredients?

You can start your own vegetable garden outdoors or indoors very easily. Grow your own bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers or your own spices. There’s no need to buy them at the supermarket anymore. You can just use your own, daily fresh vegetables and spices while cooking.

Growing your own vegetable garden can be fun and also a fulfilling activity. It keeps you engaged and gives you a big sense of pride when you manage to do it well.

Become an extra in TV series or movies

This is quite an unusual retiree activity that I stumbled upon recently. Nevertheless, it is a very fun activity to do. I stumbled upon it on my nephews birthday a few years ago.

When I was at his birthday I got into a conversion with his two neighbors. His neighbors were telling that they were both let go at the bank with a severance package sizeable enough to be able to FIRE. I asked them what they did with their time now and they told me that they were an extra in TV series. They said they do it voluntarily. They joined a pool and often get invited to play as an extra in TV shows and TV commercials.

A few weeks later I turned on the TV and stumbled upon a real estate TV program. You know, one of those TV programs where realtors “sell” vacation homes to people. They meet two people who are supposedly looking for a new lake or beach home.

Guess who suddenly popped up in my TV screen as “potential buyers”.. Yes, my nephew’s neighbors.

A year later at my nephews birthday I brought up the topic again and asked them about it. They said that they have done quite some small extra work for TV series, commercials and even a film. All they did was sign up for a pool that producers use to select extra’s from.

You can do the same and become an extra in TV shows as well! It’s a very fun activity that will provide you with plenty of opportunities to socially connect with people. Plus you can work on your acting skills as well!

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