You mention to a working person that you’re “a little bit bored” and you get a look. You know, the one that saysWhat? You get to do anything you want 365 days a year! Their longing for that kind of freedom is palpable. Or, you may notice the immediate, knowing head nod. This one says Of course you’re bored. How many times can you walk around the block, read the newspaper and take a nap? You can almost hear the silent “Tsk-tsk” of disapproval.
Here’s the thing: whether you painstakingly planned for retirement or arrived unexpectedly, you may sometimes find that, yeah, you’re bored. It’s not a crime! Remember that you are a capable person who can hone skills and take concrete steps that will help you to “banish boredom.” Consider these:
Acknowledge your experience for what it is
If you are feeling bored – and maybe discouraged, frustrated, or guilty about feeling this way – practice self-respect by owning it. You can’t change something that you’re hell bent on denying. The faster you honor what you are experiencing, the sooner you can get on with doing something about it.
Start by reminding yourself that YOU are the boss. Then work on creating some structure and building in some routine. Maybe you first decide to get up at the same time each day because it’s a healthy habit to adopt. You then consider building in some necessary movement like a walk around the block, or a yoga class three days a week. Decide which days you’ll do the food shopping and so on. Before you know it, you will have the beginning of a routine that you can add to and subtract from because you are in charge.
On the other hand, your boredom remedy might look more like this:
Embrace the freedom from routines
As a baby boomer, I grew up in an age when parents let their kids out the door on a summer’s morning and said, “Be home in time for dinner.” Without formal playdates, we were on our own to make what we would of our unstructured time. There’s something pretty awesome about that, so why not relish it once again in retirement? This approach can be especially effective for people who have a passion they may have put on the shelf during all of those working years. Now is the time to give it its due.
Make dates with people – lots of them
Staying connected with others is vital to both emotional and physical well being. Take the initiative to make “play dates” and lunch dates. Don’t rely on the flimsy, non-committal “We should get together sometime.” Schedule specific times to talk and to see each other in person.
Try new things – and often
Dip your toe in the water and try something new. I know people who have taken dance classes and art classes; others who have taken up birdwatching, joined a hiking group, and even someone who decided to learn how to build her own greenhouse. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by experimenting because you now know that if you change your mind, the boss won’t mind!
There’s a very specific sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that comes from giving of yourself. When you think about it, everyone can use some type of help. Start with your friends and family, move on to your church, or simply pick up the phone and offer to volunteer somewhere. There is so much good you can do!