6 Activities That Will Help You Have a Happy Retirement

Happy retirement
Happy retirement | Tom Merton/iStock/Getty Images

Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you have to sit at home all day or spend your time at a senior center. This is the time you should be getting out and enjoying life. You’ve spent your best years working, so you deserve to live life to the fullest. There are plenty of ways for you to stay active.

Here are six activities you can do that will help you enjoy a happy retirement.

1. Travel

Now is the time to answer the call of that travel bug that’s been pestering you all those years. Dip your toes in the ocean in Barbados or fly out to France for a romantic getaway with your partner. If you’ve planned accordingly, now is the time to finally take those trips you’ve been dreaming of. Roughly 83% of boomers said travel is a top bucket list item, according to AARP research.

2. Embark on an encore career

Have you been curious about a particular career but you never pursued it due to lack of time or resources? Why not try on a whole new career once you leave your current one? One way to pursue a new gig is to enter an encore career (also known as a “second act” career).  Roughly 47% of retirees say they have worked or plan to work during retirement. Also, about 72% of pre-retirees age 50 and over say they want to keep working after they retire, according to a Merrill Lynch study.

3. Dream up—and work on—your bucket list

Roughly 46% of all baby boomers have a bucket list, according to AARP. Take the time you have during your golden years to check off the items on your list that you haven’t had the time to accomplish. If you don’t have a bucket list, now is your opportunity to make one. Don’t let another moment slip by without experiencing the food, places, and activities you’ve dreamed about.

4. Become a mentor

At this point, you’ve learned a thing or two about life. Share your knowledge and life experience with someone who is struggling to find the right path. Perhaps you can impart valuable career advice or offer parenting tips. Regardless of how you find a way to contribute, know that you have a lot to offer the world. If you’re looking for mentorship opportunities, one place you can start is Mentoring.org.

5. Go back to school

Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you should stop learning. In 2009, students age 25 and older accounted for 40% of all undergraduate and graduate students. That number is expected to rise to 43% by 2020. Now is as good a time as any to learn something new and interesting. Many schools even offer senior discounts on some classes, so you won’t have to worry about breaking the bank. If you’re not interested in pursuing a degree, you can always take a few independent courses and take classes just for fun. There are also plenty of online and on-campus certificate programs you can consider.

6. Volunteer

Retirement can be a lonely time. This is especially true if most of your close friends and family are still working. You might have no one to talk to during the day. However, you can still connect with others and make an impact by volunteering your time. There are plenty of organizations that would be happy to have an extra helping hand. And when you volunteer you’re not only helping others but also your mind and body.

Studies have shown that volunteering can be good for your health. In fact, a study from Carnegie Mellon University found that adults age 50 and older who volunteer regularly have a reduced risk of developing high blood pressure than those who don’t volunteer.

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