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Retirement – What do I do now?

Some people plan their retirement many years ahead.  They have very definite views on what they are going to do and how they plan to live their lives.  They leave work, start to put their plans into action and away they go.
For others it just isn’t as simple as that.
Some people have made no plans at all beyond work. Quite often they are people who are not really choosing to go.  They may be going as a result of reductions in the workforce, or because partner and family have pressured them to go, or because it is financially advantageous to go.  But their heart isn’t really in it and they would much prefer to go on working.
For others, well once they have left work,  life is just so very different to how they expected and they just don’t get round to putting their plans into action.
But retirement presents you with lots of possibilities, even without a lot of money.
I know someone who found it felt like being sixteen again with lots of choice but not in terms of career.  There were so many things she could do – all she needed to do was to make a choice.
For you, now might be the time to try something completely different, just to see if you like it.
For example, you could take some classes.  There are still lots of adult education classes around and many give concessions to people not working.  You could take music or acting lessons.  I know one seventy year old who wouldn’t be without her dance classes.
There are the obvious fitness, gardening and cooking courses, of course. You could set yourself a goal and make a plan for the standard you want to achieve or simply study something obscure to surprise, delight and sometimes, just sometimes, bore your friends and relatives.
There are all kinds of clubs and societies to join that you can find out about at the library or on line.
Volunteering is an excellent way to get out and meet new people – you can do interesting things and be part of a community.  This is particularly important if many of your friends up to this point have come from work.  Find a cause you can commit to and make an offer of help. You will find a list of charities in the library. 
One thing you should definitely do is to create a “Bucket List“, a book list, a travel list or any list of your choosing.  But it is something you then work to complete adding to it as the whim strikes you, of course.
I think it really helps to have some goals and some structure to your days once you retire. It is very easy to become depressed and just sit at home watching day time television.
You may need to manage a partner or spouse’s expectations as well.  Of course retirement should mean more time to be together if that is what you wish.  But you will be more interesting for each other if you have some interests of your own as well.
I would welcome you views on all this and the thoughts and tips of those who are already out there enjoying a full and happy retirement.

I am Wendy Mason and I work as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger.  I have worked with many different kinds of people going through personal  and career change. If you would like my help, please email me at or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439.  I will be very pleased to hear from you. I offer half an hour’s free telephone coaching to readers of this blog who quote YHF1 – email me to arrange.


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