What’s on yours?
A recent survey by Age Partnership has revealed that only 20 per cent of people over the age of 50 have a ‘bucket list’ of things they’d like to do once they’ve retired. This figure might be somewhat surprising, given how many of us dislike our jobs and spend a great deal of time fantasising about what we’d rather be doing. So, if you’re one of the 80 per cent of the population without a plan for how you’re going to spend all that free-time once you’ve retired, here are some ideas…
See the Northern Lights
The Aurora Borealis or ‘Northern Lights’ are notoriously elusive: this swirling swathe of green across the night sky tends only to be seen in Iceland, Scandinavia and Canada between September and March. But, perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to experience the curtain of green, snaking through the stars. It’s a sight that’s truly soul stirring, and something you should make a point of experiencing if you’re able to.
Gamble in Vegas
Whether you’ve come to prefer the hustle and bustle of a city or the serenity of a village, many people dream of visiting Las Vegas at least once in their life. And why not? With luxurious hotels, neon lights, glitz and glamour, and world-class casinos to gamble in (if only with small amount of money – just to say you’ve done it!), this desert destination unlike anywhere else on earth.
Go on Safari
If you’re yet to observe rare and beautiful creatures in their natural habitat, there’s no better way to do so than to go on Safari. Explore the bush with an expert guide, experience the thrill of tracking exotic animals on foot, and fall asleep in your tent to the sound of nature.
Doubtless you’ve become adept at saving for holidays throughout your working life, but consider following this advice if you’d like to make sure you can afford to go to all these exciting places once you’ve retired.
Learn a foreign language
Learning a new language has never been easier thanks to the availability of educational apps and other forms of technology. Studies have shown that learning a new language can slow up cognitive decline, keeping your brain sharp and active for many years into your retirement. And, your new skill may also come in handy if you decide to relocate or travel abroad at any point in your retirement too.
Take cooking lessons
Whether you’re a dab hand in the kitchen or have always been a heat-and-go kind of cook, a cooking lesson could be great fun. Not only is it a great way to learn new skills, try new flavours and mix up your repertoire of dinner party dishes, it’s also a good opportunity to meet new friends and socialise.
Learn a craft
Learning something new or polishing up an existing skill is a great idea in retirement: from pottery to painting, and knitting to needlework, there’s great pleasure in making order out of chaos and creating something with your own hands. Express your creativity by learning a new craft and see where it leads.
Learn to play an instrument
Always wanted to play the piano or join a choir? Well, there’s no reason you shouldn’t do so in your retirement. There used to be a belief that if you didn’t begin learning an instrument in childhood, then you’d missed your chance but that’s simply not true at all – you’ll need plenty of enthusiasm and discipline.
Volunteer at a local animal shelter
If you love animals and want to do something truly meaningful with your time, consider volunteering for your local animal shelter or another animal charity. You might have experience with your own animals – something that could be very helpful to a charity in need of your skill – but even if not, you’re bound to learn something new and enjoy giving back.
Work in a charity shop
Charity shops are always in need of volunteers to help run their stores – from manning the tills to managing stock, there’s plenty that needs doing. Get to know your community better by serving the customers that come in or make donations and know that you’re giving to a good cause.
Support a charity close to your heart
There are other ways to support important causes without needing to spend time at an animal shelter or charity shop. For example, if you spend some of your time volunteering with the Rainbow Trust Charity, you could find yourself providing support for families with very ill children by doing chores such ironing, gardening or shopping. You could also provide social support for child’s siblings while parents are visiting in hospital, making a huge difference to the quality of life for these families.
Health, fitness & sport
Take up yoga or pilates
It’s very important to stay active once you’ve retired, with exercise providing tremendous physical and mental health benefits. Yoga and pilates are two forms of exercise that are both rather more challenging than they look, but you can push yourself as far as you’re comfortable to remaining strong, supple and flexible. Of course, you could really take it up a level if you wanted to… Kenneth Jones has run every single London Marathon since 1981, and this year he ran the 2017 London Marathon at the age of 83 (in 6 hours and 45 minutes).
Take up golf
Spending your retirement on a golf course is a bit of a cliche, but don’t let that put you off. The gentle exercise, the fresh air and the friendships you’ll form are all brilliant fun and a great way to stay active – and there’s nothing quite as refreshing as that first drink in the clubhouse after a day on the green.
Get a dog
If you’ve always wanted a dog but found it a commitment you couldn’t juggle with working, then getting a four legged friend should feature on your bucket list. They provide marvellous companionship, plenty of exercise and lots of routine and structure too. So, think about adopting an older dog – they’re often overlooked in favour of puppies, but you’ll be doing a good deed and making a friendship with a dog that’s thrilled to be yours.
Renew your wedding vows
If you’ve been married to your spouse for some time, consider renewing your wedding vows. It’s a lovely way to acknowledge the commitment you’re still happy to have to one another, and it’s also a good opportunity to celebrate your love with family members who may not have been at your wedding, such as children and grandchildren.
Spend time with grandchildren
Finally, if you’re lucky enough to have grandchildren, you’ll doubtless want to spend quality time with them. Studies have shown that babysitting grandchildren could lower your risk of Alzheimer’s, and other studies have shown that children are happier if their grandparents are involved in their upbringing. So, plan Sunday dinners, afternoons baking in the kitchen, or more permanent childcare arrangements if it suits you.
Which of these activities will feature on your retirement bucket list? And do you have any others to add?