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JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

Retired people: what have you done to keep busy?

Asked by JeSuisRickSpringfield (700 points ) May 28th, 2012

I had to call customer service the other day and found myself talking with a delightful woman while we waited for her computer to look up various bits of information. She mentioned that she had actually retired several years ago and that taking calls was just something to keep her busy for a few hours a day that she didn’t have to worry about when she got home.

If you are retired, what did you take up to keep busy? Did you get a job of some kind? Volunteer work? Something else entirely?

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8 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

For a start, keeping busy is not my goal in retirement. That’s what I did for 44 years as a working person, and one of the privileges I paid for with that use of my time is enjoying some undemanding slack time.

I’ve heard plenty of people say “I love to keep busy,” but I’m not one of them. I don’t love it. I like having as much unencumbered and unstructured time as possible.

So I do a lot of the same things I used to do in my after-work hours, but I do many of them more slowly, without stomach-knotting races against the clock.

I sleep more. I read more. I take more walks. I enjoy more leisurely conversations with my husband. I idle away more time at the computer. I watch more Netflix movies.

And I do take occasional freelance editing jobs, if they interest me, if I like the clients enough to see them more than once, and if they’re not going to take too much energy. I no longer have anything to prove professionally. If I can earn a few thousand dollars a year that way, it’s enough.

Coloma's avatar

I’m with @Jeruba While not fully retired I have enjoyed only working part time the last handful of years but…I too don’t want to be busy every second of my life. I can happily spend hours and hours just being around my house and yard, reading, puttering, for lack of a more descriptive word. I agree, retirement is about relaxing and doing whatever you want no rush, no stress, no worries.

rooeytoo's avatar

I would never retire, I am 67 and just started a new business in addition to continuing to pursue my old one in a new area. I don’t function well unless my life is structured. I get fat and lazy and don’t like myself. Thankfully my husband feels the same, he is early 70’s. We will both continue to work until we drop. It all depends on your attitude and what makes you happy. I should add that we don’t work regular hours and we both have many other interests, sporting and creative, but we still need some sort of work to keep us going.

JLeslie's avatar

I wish I could @Jeruba 10 GA’s for that answer. When my mom was a couple months short of retiring my dad said, “what are you going to do? I don’t want to see you lying around doing nothing all day.” Her reply was, “so don’t watch.” He had retired a couple of years before her, and he planned it out and had a business he created for after retirement. My mom helps him with it actually, so she didn’t completely get to put her feet up.that’s what she says about retirment, that she is going to put her feet up and relax.

I am not retired technically, at least not in my mind, but I have not worked for over three years. I do whatever I want a lot of the time. I still run errands for the household, clean, plan trips, cook, take a zumba class, and various other things fill my day. I am a housewife, no kids. Funny, if you are younger you are “just” a housewife. If you are older you are retired. Don’t get me wrong I am not offended by peope who think I have it easy because I am a housewife; it is easier than dragging yourself to work every day. There are some things that are negative about it though. Earning money does feel good psychologically; in retirement people usually have social security or a pension coming in that is like getting a salary. One advantage in retirement is many of your peers are not working either, so you are able to socialize with them more.

Bill1939's avatar

Though I enjoyed my eleven years as the assistant director of our city’s theater, I am very happy to have retired five years ago. While I appreciate leisure time, I also enjoy volunteering a few hours a week. I deliver meals to shut-ins, record readings of local newspapers for the sighted impaired, am a respite and vigil volunteer for hospice, and am a member of the board of directors for the foundation supporting our city’s theater and the board of directors for its community theater company.

flutherother's avatar

Since retiring I have taken up a job working from home. I like the structure it gives to my days and weeks and I enjoy my time off all the more.

wundayatta's avatar

I think I will join a writing group. I also need to build in a certain amount of exercise each day. Two hours of exercise. Two hours of writing. And the rest of the time I can fluther or the equivalent. Oh wait. My garden. I need two hours of that each day starting in the spring.

Ron_C's avatar

I turn 65 in a few day and haven’t really decided when or if I will retire completely. I have been slowly reducing my working hours, (I used to work 60 to 70 hours a week). I am trying to train a replacement but it isn’t easy to find someone qualified to do what I do. We recently dumped an Electrical engineer that was afraid of electricity. I suspect that I will stay in my present job until I’m in my 70’s if my health holds up.

Frankly, I’d rather die on the job than linger in some retirement home.

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