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Is retirement life boring? A picture of Roman ruins in Rome with columns at the Roman Forum

Is retirement life boring? This is without a doubt one of the most often asked questions as l continue to enjoy early retirement life. I will attempt to answer that in this post. The short answer is that yes, retirement can be boring, certainly at the beginning, and it can be permanent boredom if you let it.

Table of Contents:

Is retirement boring?
The financial goal in retirement
Retire early lifestyle
Recharging in retirement
Reinvention post-retirement
Avoiding boredom
Brain sharpness retainment
Retirement and health
Volunteering as a retiree
Leisure in retired life
Entertainment
Final thoughts

Is Retirement Life Boring?

Throughout working life, the aim is to prepare yourself financially for the future. Everyone talks about the 4% rule as one of the gauges of retirement. You might have also heard about the rule of 25x in retirement.

Financial freedom goal:

This rule means that upon retirement, you should have 25 times the amount of money you plan on withdrawing yearly from your funds. For instance, if you anticipate spending $40,000 per year, your net worth should be 40,000 x 25 which is exactly 1 million dollars in savings. The point is we are all in a rush to reach that number that we dedicate our whole lives to it, and when you finally achieve the goal, you are at a loss as to what to do next.

is retirement life boring? Three women in a selfie, white woman, Latina, and black woman.
Find your tribe in retirement, be it early or traditional.

Early retirement now: The retire early lifestyle

If you’re lucky enough to be able to retire early, I highly recommend doing so. If life has taught us anything in the last few years, and especially with Covid, it’s that life is indeed too short. All those lost lives, people who thought they had more time.

More time to travel, more time to spend with family and friends, more time to do their favorite things, only to find out that life had something entirely different in store for them. You should live life with no regrets in my opinion.

The fear of the unknown is a huge thing that keeps people from enjoying their lives. Very few of us have the luxury of quitting the rat race before the normal retirement age, so do it if you can. So back to the original question, is retirement boring? So far, my answer is a definite no.

One thing you need to realize is that it takes a bit of time to decompress after your hectic working life. Personally, it took just over two years to adjust to retirement life. My former working life was as a pharmacist, and it was a high-pressure job that required a lot of dedication and attention, after all, people’s lives were literally in my hands, and a simple error could lead to dire consequences.

Recharging post-retirement

It is important that you do not rush this step. You must let it wash over you and just take things slowly. This is a crucial step that l think people skip out on when they retire early. The fact is that you have lost your previous identity, one that you had for 30, 40, maybe even more years. You just don’t get over that in a month. You need to recharge, so relax.

Reinvention in retirement:

Retirement is a chance to reinvent yourself, Have you harbored desires to try new things? It doesn’t have to be something earth-shattering either. It could be ordinary things such as cooking or sewing.

A lot of retirees ease into retirement by picking up part-time jobs. This allows for an easier transition for the fearful. Others will jump in with both feet and tackle things head-on. Retirement is a good time to take a good look at yourself and change the things you want, or need to about your life. 

This is also right about the time when thoughts of immigration pop into mind. Thanks to social media, it’s easy to find out what life is like in other countries or even cities. The snowbirds have been doing this for years with ongoing success within their countries.

Others, like me, take it further and actually move to a different country for a better quality of life. This is not a decision to be taken lightly, and one must be ready for change.

Budapest view of the Buda castle from the Pest side. Is retirement life boring? Nope!
Travel is a big part of retirement life, and nope…not boring at all. This is Budapest.

Avoiding boredom in retirement:

The possibilities are endless as far as what to keep yourself occupied during the day, even the night if you happen to be a night owl. Is retirement life boring you still ask? Nope! Here are just some of the activities to try:

Travel:

I picked this first as it is a favorite pastime of so many people without a doubt. You will find this to be true about a lot of ex-pats. There is something very exciting about discovering new places and people. Note that this doesn’t necessarily mean great distances, discovering things in your own backyard counts.

Planning for travel is of course essential and can keep you occupied for hours on end. Finding the best time to travel, how to travel, be it plane, train, or automobile, maybe even a ship will keep you enthralled, and your mind sharp as you try to navigate the waters.

Needless to say, covid has definitely added a few more layers to travel planning. What vaccine is acceptable for your destination? Is a PCR or Antigen test required before departure? There are so many other facets of travel these days. Of course, there is also immense satisfaction in finding the best prices. It’s always surprising to me how much time it takes to arrange a trip.

Hobbies:

I have mentioned cooking and sewing above. There are also so many, many other things to do to prevent boredom in retirement. Some are:

is retirement life boring. man on bike green and black in an old town in Europe with walkers on street.
Take up exciting new hobbies in retirement.
  • Running. Could a marathon be in your future?
  • Hiking. I have so many other retiree friends who have picked up this healthy habit and have become passionate about it. Most log the hikes for posterity.
  • Bicycling. This is another favorite sport of retirees. While l am a casual cyclist, there are more serious athletes, and it’s easy to find a community to align with to share the passion for long rides.
  • Golfing. While this sport has most traditionally been associated with old men puffing cigars, it has caught on with younger people and it’s something that a lot of retirees do, so much so, that communities and subdivisions are built around golf.
  • Working out. Yep! You can find your tribe when it comes to working out too. Social apps such as meetup make it easy to find others like you.

Cerebral stimulation to overcome boredom in retirement :

Learn a new language:

For me for instance, this has meant taking classes in Spanish as l try to adjust to my new home in Spain. I think as an ex-pat, it is important to try and fit in, as opposed to having the country adapt to you. Your life will be more satisfying. Keeping your brain sharp is important to ward off diseases such as Alzheimer’s. In addition to two classes weekly, I also self-study and yeah… it takes up a lot of time. I refuse to be one of those that tell themselves the biggest lie.

Learn a new skill:

From someone who was positive she couldn’t draw anything but stick figures (which were quite bad to boot), retirement has afforded me the luxury of learning how to draw. I am not Monet or Van Gogh, but l get immense happiness from drawing and painting digitally, and watching my progress over the past year is pretty cool.

life in retirement is not boring. A digital painting of a blode's head with makeup
A work in progress, but it keeps me busy and happy.

Others take up ballet in retirement. Find local junior colleges or universities offering classes and join up. Pottery, ceramics, woodworking are just some ideas. Most of the associated fees are often greatly discounted for retirees.

Take free college courses:

Nowadays, a lot of top universities offer free online classes on a variety of topics. I have retired friends who take financial classes (because you can never know too much), coding, making their own apps, even learning how to start their own blogs to document their lives or whatever, like yours truly.

Arts and crafts, word puzzles, Sudoku, and jigsaw puzzles are just some of the other things to occupy your time. Retirement might be a perfect time to enroll in school.

Word search puzzles are great for mental stimulation.

Write:

Are you a budding writer with stories to tell? Retirement allows you to unleash your creativity. It’s never too late to write your first novel. Frank McCourt wrote Angela’s Ashes at the ripe old age of 66. Nowadays, self-publishing is quite acceptable, thanks to companies like Amazon and Ingram Sparks.

Reading:

You may not like to write, and prefer reading. Reading is another popular favorite with retirees. There are so many different genres of books, fiction, biographies, fantasy. The offerings are endless. Join a book club, a great way to socialize and meet new friends.

Health in retirement:

It should come as no surprise that good health is crucial in retirement. What’s the use of retiring only to let bad health shorten your life? A lot of retirees will engage in such activities as Yoga, and adopting better eating habits, or take it up a notch by taking cooking classes to unleash their inner chefs. Some become avid gardeners in their backyard and find new life as horticulturists. Could that be in your future?

Adventurous pursuits in retired life:

I will be the first to admit that this is not my idea of fun in retirement. However, different strokes for different folks. Retirees may find that having the kids all grown and able to take care of themselves afford them to try death-defying escapades such as bungee jumping, extreme surfing. Growing older gives you a sense of fearlessness and courage that is missing from youth.

Check out the video of this senior sky diving.


Volunteer work in retirement:

Volunteering is a great way to give back to the world by donating your time and knowledge. There are plenty of organizations to volunteer for. A popular one with expats all over the world for instance is animal rescue work. You can also work at charity shops, teach children English or your native language. The need is great.

Leisure activities to do when retired:

Three-hour lunches? yes, please. This is one of the greatest things about retirement. Your time is your own, and you can choose to sleep late, get out, or stay home if that’s what pleases you. Once you figure out what your interest is, you can bet there are others like you with group names like “ladies who lunch”, “lunch bunch”, “backgammon buddies” “golf crew”, and more. How much or how little you do is strictly up to you.

Is retirement life boring? A glass of red wine being poured by a hand in a wine tasting session in Bordeaux.
A booming passion for many retired people is wine tasting, such as this in France.

Wine tasting is another popular pastime that l have recently picked up. Living in Spain where wine is an important part of life and with so many varieties, it’s hard to keep it all in my head, so my trusty wine tasting book makes life easier. It’s a fun hobby.

Entertainment in retirement life:

A retiree should not feel shame about spending a lot of time in front of the television if that’s what pleases him/her. Nowadays, with streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix, you can catch up on old shows and movies that you missed out on when they originally aired.

Video gaming is also a passion for retirees of all ages. Did you know that the highest percentage (43%) of people playing video games are aged between 50 and 59? A further 32% are aged 60-69. It’s not too hard to find virtual video game-playing teams. Playing daily increases social and cognitive skills, and wards off loneliness, so play on without guilt.

So, is retirement life boring? A wrapup

Only if you want it to be. It’s important to live your best life. Now. No one wants to look back and regret things left undone. Yes, it can be hard to fit these other things into your day while you’re still working, but you should slowly incorporate them into your life as you head towards retirement.

Is retirement life boring? how to prevent boredom

The goal should be to look at retirement as both doing less (working), and more (living). Someone who is retired, bored and depressed did not do their homework. Let the adventure begin. After all, If retirement was so boring, why are so many people striving to retire?