‘I don’t know how I found the time to work’, may be a familiar statement from newish retirees. Having a passion in retirement, a reason to get out of bed each day is important.
For others, though, finding meaningful activity may be challenging. ‘I didn’t want the highlight of my day to be a trip to the letterbox’, commented one man who went on to find paid (walking dogs, selling items online….’just enough to keep me interested’) and unpaid work (volunteering at a local food bank). ‘I missed work colleagues, the structure of a day, so I found activities that I enjoyed‘.
Ultimately, retirement passions vary widely from person to person and are often shaped by personal interests, values, and lifestyle choices.
Retirement may also mean a return to work, (an ‘encore career’), a time to start a profitable hobby or a home based business. We wrote of 101 ‘retirees’ who did just that in Retire Bizzi. Making money was important for some people, but there was also an huge interest in having something that was challenging, satisfying and productive.
Retirement is often seen as a time to pursue one’s passions and interests without the stress of work. Some people choose to travel and explore new places, while others take up new hobbies or activities such as painting, photography, or gardening. Some may also use their retirement years to give back to their communities through volunteering or mentoring. For others, retirement is a time to focus on physical health and wellness by taking up yoga, swimming, or other forms of exercise.
Some people, like Trevor Tough can combine travel with tracking down burial sites of pioneers. Trevor has ‘a policy that each month I try to do something new, something that I have never done before’.
Similarly, Chris and Rod Maddocks travel to Kimba in South Australia to volunteer in Kimba’s grey nomad program Stephen Peterson likes Laneway Learning and presents on ‘Japan – What your travel agent won’t tell you’ (having lived in Japan).
Things tick along quite nicely for Philip Kuchel AM who is an expert in clock making. Robyn Green is an expert soap maker who told me that ‘soap making is addictive’. Her soap making progressed from being made in her garage to being made in a small factory. She later sold her business.
Other ‘retirees’ have headed to university. Lorna Prendergast received a Master of Ageing degree at Melbourne University – at age 90. She was motivated to study for her Masters after seeing her late husband, who had Parkinson’s Disease, and others in a nursing home respond in a positive way to music. I met David Bottomley, who at the time was Australia’s oldest PhD graduate. Just don’t mention ‘retirement’…(a ‘dreadful’ word he told me).
We were fortunate to meet ‘Jumpin’ Jim Brierley, who was in his 80’s and was passionate about sky diving. I’m sure you will agree that Jim’s passion was a little different to golf or yoga!
What’s your retirement passion?
Jill Weeks has been an educator and author for many years. She is the author of 21 Ways To Retire, which gives insights into how 21 Australians from different backgrounds adjusted to retirement. She is also the co-author with her husband, Owen, of several editions of Where To Retire In Australia and one of Retire Bizzi.
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