For years, I heard co-workers, friends and family wish it was time for them to retire. I started to work in my parent’s retail clothing store at the age of eight, then never stopped working. I didn’t know any other way of life, except to work. Planning for retirement did not exist. I expected to work the rest of my life.
When the owner of the insurance agency came into my office to say he had to let me go due to the recession, my hearing turned off. The position of office manager had to be relinquished. After that, all I remember was packing up my seven year accumulation of personal belongings and driving home.
How do retired people spend their time, energy and intellect? And how do they live an active life with just a limited income and no chance of a job due to the circumstances of the times?
Armed with my new title as a retiree, I set out to learn how to be retired. There was no doubt that I earned the freedom from the stresses of a job, but I didn’t know what to do with so much independence. A mental review of past decades reminded me about the many creative hobbies I pursued with great enthusiasm and success. Every summer vacation, when I was teaching, I learned something new like how to crochet, paint, sew, decorate cakes, write stories and on and on. Going back to those projects again would not give me forward motion to learn and enjoy new things. I would meet new people, that’s true. What else can I do, continues to be an ongoing question.
My “ah ha” moment was born out of the anger, fear and frustration of being lost without a job. After yelling, screaming, crying, kicking and banging my fists on the desk, I turned on the computer and typed question after question on to a bank page in Word. As depressing as those pages appeared during a recent hindsight reading, I recognize they became my catharsis that led to beginning a journey of daily writing, which has not stopped for five years.
The daily writing habit is definitely an ingrained part of my current life. Fortunately, I can use my excellent research and problem solving skills to find answers to a multitude of questions. And I do have many questions about life. So far, I’ve published two books and written four more, which led me to write articles for senior magazines, become an elected organizer of a writing group and most importantly return to my roots and true calling as a teacher. I teach writing to local seniors.
The writing habit has turned into my daily hobby. Hobbies are not free. Writing is not free when I’m prodded to go to various places to do marketing sales work. The act of actual writing is free and the most rewarding when I’m writing for myself. I court my pastime, not for the financial gain, but for pure pleasure.
Hobbies are forms of play, much like the make-believe games that fill the days of childhood. They cultivate creativity as a path to open up imaginative thinking. Learning and creating by way of a hobby is a choice within each person’s control. Hobbies are fun!
In days gone by, I agonized over finding a hobby I could call my passion. The harder I looked, the worst I felt about myself for failing to find the right past time. Becoming a silver sage (aka senior) has enlightened me with a new point of view. I’ve taken the emphasis off the processes of working at a near perfect hobby. The important aspects are finding friendships, social activities with those who have a similar interest, learning something new every day, keeping up to date on today’s technology and much, much more.
It is the journey of attending to a hobby that is important, not always reaching the destination of the final product. Although, I will admit I thoroughly enjoy reading my finished writings and appreciate knowing that others gain a better understanding of themselves and of others from my writings.
I also know it’s time to spend less energy being an introverted writer. Teaching is part of the process of being an extroverted author. My passion now is teaching writing classes for silver sages. Writing is healing. Writing is fun.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Finding new hobbies is an ongoing project for retirees. Try it, you might like it! Then go for another hobby, you might like that too.
“They say a hobby can help to develop a positive attitude.
A positive attitude may not solve all of my problems,
but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort!”