Ask the grumpies: Post-retirement activities?

chrisinny asks:

Contemplating retirement in 12 months. It is recommended to have a plan for your life when work no longer fills so much time. Well, work (and raising a child) pretty much filled most/all of my spare time, with a little left over for reading and quilting (neither of which can I really use to fill a day). So any recommendations for new interests to take up? I may try some volunteering (which had done at the library in the past) but need to find where I can make a contribution (but have no interest in being in charge, of anything). Live in a rural area with access to a tertiary city- so apps like “meetup” are ok for occasional, but not daily activities. I do have a spouse but he has been retired for years so he already has his own routine(s).

Have you considered political activism?  If you live in the US, there’s a lot of work that needs to get done.  Click up on our activism tab for ways to get involved.  I know it’s not the most fun thing in the world, but it’s so important right now.  Living in a rural area means that your voice is especially important because you’re likely to have representatives who are not 100% blue and can be swayed with some effort on your part.  Being in charge can really suck, but you might be able to nudge those who are in charge into being a little bit more active.  This is especially true with state and local politics.

Your library is a great place to go not just for volunteering directly (or for reading books)– they can also connect you.  For example doing people’s taxes for free at the library is a popular volunteer activity and one that can be done in rural areas.  Ask your local librarian about that and about other groups in your area– the library is a place that many groups meet, particularly in small towns.  Your parks and recreation center may also be able to help you but they might think the request is odd whereas librarians will totally think it’s normal.

#1 recommends anime.  :)  #2 recommends your local animal shelter.  Other popular retirement activities include taking continuing education classes, doing exercise classes with parks and recreation or the YMCA, gardening, cooking, hunting, hiking, etc.  And, of course, travel… or working part-time.

Good luck with the next stage!

What recommendations does the Grumpy Nation have?

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11 Responses to “Ask the grumpies: Post-retirement activities?”

  1. Bardiac Says:

    Birding is great, and you can do citizen science through E bird and such.

  2. Leigh Says:

    I got certified to volunteer to prepare taxes at a local library. A lot of the other volunteers at my site are retirees! I would search “volunteer income tax assistance YourCity” to find info on the program – it’s IRS run – because my local library’s website has more info on how to get your taxes prepared for free than how to volunteer.

    • Rosa Says:

      the program is called VITA and the best way to find a local is probably to Google VITA and your town or county name – libraries host them, AARP often runs them, but there are other groups that do too – the one I volunteer for is called Prepare and Prosper but there are actually several in my city.

      For people who are intimidated by actually doing taxes (don’t be! It’s surprisingly easy!) there are usually other roles, too – greeters and translators and people who help organize things.

      • Leigh Says:

        The program is called Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). I suggested googling the full name plus the city because the acronym might mean something else in your city.

        The greeters seem really key too when things get busy. My city’s program has a robust training program and tons of other resources to help figure it out too.

  3. J Liedl Says:

    My mother-in-law has been my guide in this. She found that a local museum had many volunteering opportunities from data entry that you can do at home to cataloguing and inventory review on site. She even got to research some artifacts that were recently donated. Many small museums or galleries or local libraries have interesting collections and never enough staff to push through the work.

    If you’ve got a car and like an excuse to drive, check and see if a senior services centre in your area has need of drivers for other seniors to get to appointments or do their shopping. They’re often pleased to have volunteers just for a half day or two in a week and you can make some other friends, sometimes.

  4. Practical Parsimony Says:

    deliver meals on wheels, Foster Grandparent Program, Senior Companion, tutor at victim services, mentor battered women, join a book club, form a book club, write a book, study your family genealogy

  5. chacha1 Says:

    My intention is to retire to a rural area (if the stars align) and finding things to do is on my list as well. Obviously there will be more outdoor work (finally I can have a garden!) and recreation (maybe I will learn to snowshoe!), but there are things that I can’t do here that I probably can do there. Including work as a volunteer at several local, poorly-funded museums; play around with the community theatre; teach art or dance or literature or history or whatever as a volunteer at several poorly-funded schools; play around with the local rockhounds club (there are great rocks in the Sierra!); do parks maintenance at several poorly-funded local, county, state, and national parks (you are sensing a theme here no doubt); do some serious birding and related citizen science, as Bardiac commented above (there are great birds in the Sierra, too).

  6. Debbie M Says:

    Think about what you used to do for fun when you had more time. Like in junior high! Some of that or related activities may still be fun now.

    I like to make sure I’m doing things that satisfy wants in different areas of my life: health and other physical stuff, social and family stuff, intellectual stuff, creative stuff, spiritual/charitable stuff, and even domestic stuff.

  7. ChrisinNY Says:

    Thanks so much for all the suggestions. Some I had thought of- others not. The question was written before November and I am certainly going to go the activist route. My local US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants has a lot of M-F opportunities. I tried to volunteer at my local museum/historical society but they repeatedly failed to respond. Ah well. I also facilitate a long running women’s book group- 15 years! Our numbers have dwindled but we still meet most months. Thanks again.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That’s great re: activism! My DH is meeting right now with our local Dems prior to their meeting with the local Refugees and Immigrants group. The Dems leader asked him to see what one of our local cities is doing on that front and their Indivisible group hooked him up with their city’s refugee and immigrant non-profit.


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