You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen. P. Coelho

I realize a few weeks ago I was telling you all about how you can get into the swing of retirement well before your retired years show up – and you still can do those things! – but the reality is there are some things we do have to start now to embark on our Next Chapter later. There is a certain reality here that I don’t wish to put too fine a point on but will say none the less; none of us are here forever. If there are things you wish to do it might be wise to consider doing them.

  1. Join the Peace Corp. If you’re in good health, are looking to stay a part of something bigger than yourself and don’t mind being away from home, this might be perfect for you! The Peace Corp has evolved so now there are more options, you can take on shorter assignments and can even choose when you depart. There are plenty of organizations that bring service projects to any number of areas if you’re looking to stay local or not take on such a big commitment.
  2. Become a docent at a local museum or other cultural heritage site. If history, art, music or nature (to name a few)  interests you this is a great way to share it with the next generation. You get to see wonderful exhibits and go behind the scenes of a place that you may have held near and dear to your heart for a long time. Your energy and enthusiasm are what’s needed here and the rewards will be all the appreciative people you get to meet along the way.
  3. Get bumped off a flight! You don’t have to be back at the office, the mail can wait another day and really, what’s the rush? Volunteering to get bumped usually results in some perks so don’t let those get away from you and who knows, maybe you’ll meet some interesting people on your extended stay!
  4. Learn a new language or how to play an instrument. If you’ve never had the time sit down and learn something new, now is a great time to do that. You might be able to join a local language club or play in a small group of other new piano players but whatever it is you’ll be able to get out and about, learning something new and keep your brain engaged.
  5. Take up exercise or some sort of movement. OK, so you may not wish to start training for your first marathon at 70 (although apparently it’s not uncommon!) and movement is good for the body and the soul. Maybe start attending a yoga or movement group that meets in a local park?
  6. Perhaps engage in a discussion or get involved with a spiritual conversation. Marianne Williamson, a well known spiritual author hosts a weekly discussion each week that you can attend live or via livestream, from Marble Collegiate Church in NYC. Or start listening to Krista Tippet who hosts a podcast called, “On Being.” Or seek out a local spiritual leader in your area that you have enjoyed listening to. There are many ways to start such a conversation and attendance at a formal house of worship is not required.
  7. Set up a regular schedule to see your grandchildren or those young people in your life who will undoubtedly benefit from time with you. Make cookies with them, go to the movies together, read a book aloud or just plain old spend time together. Going to the grocery store can be an adventure if you let it be!
  8. Start a business on the side. Become an inn keeper or start a pie business or start a cooking school in your kitchen. Remember, fun is the name of game now, not “I have to make money at this.” One retired couple I know started a very profitable business of making and selling chutney at farmer’s markets!
  9. Become a camp host or work in a National Park. You will have the opportunity to live somewhere new, meet lots of interesting people and have different experiences than if you stayed home again this next season.
  10. Become a mentor. If you are a gifted business person or an engaged teacher, there are people who could use your skills, wisdom and experience. Take the opportunity to pass along some of those lessons that you might have learned the hard to form a relationship that can bring more to the table than they ever imagined.
  11. I know I said 10 but here’s the 11th and I say this because it’s just a wonderful thing to do if you can ~ adopt a shelter pet. Yes, a pet will make travel more expensive and less carefree as you will need to plan for it. Any yes, they can be expensive….don’t ask me about how much it costs to take care of a pet’s teeth… but the rewards can be enormous for both you and the animal.

So there you have it! 10 plus 1 of things you might not have expected. OK, if you know me you could have guessed I would have suggested adopting a shelter pet but hey, you’ve gotta have fun, right? What are you thinking about for your Next Chapter activities?

Wishing you the best for your week! ~ Lisa