Hobbies enrich our lives and motivate creativity and inspiration. Besides daily chores, errands, and meals, we all need something to give our lives a little color and excitement. Retiring means that your job is no longer centric to your day; you are on your own schedule now, so what will you do with it? Whether you’re a lover of the outdoors, or you find your inspiration from behind a canvas, it’s time to go out and find a hobby that suits your goals and lifestyle.
Gardening can be a great way to get outside, connect with nature, and maybe get some produce out of it. If you have an outdoor space, gardening can be your new favorite past-time; go ahead and take a peek at which plants grow best depending on your climate and season, and put your green thumb to the test. Are fruits and veggies not your thing? Maybe flowers and succulents are your answer. Different plants require different skill-levels, and you can surely find the best plant to suit your level of interest and ability. Beginners can likely find success in planting radishes, which do well even if your soil isn’t the best, and which are ripe for harvesting after only a few weeks. Salad greens are also awesome at the hands of even the not-so-green thumbs; spinach, arugula, or the mix of your choice can grow nicely alongside your radishes, and many companies sell pre-packaged mixes of the seeds you’re looking for.
Even if you don’t have an outdoor space, there are plenty of ways you can still try your hand at gardening. Consider maybe growing some indoor potted plants or planting some flower buds for your balcony or stoop. You can also try growing your own spices and herbs on windowsills around your home. Basil, oregano, and mint are all great examples of indoor herbs to consider growing; from making your own pesto to garnishing some homemade cooking, there’s always a purpose to your passion when you’re gardening.
The sun, the wind, the dirt under your feet; getting up, and getting out sure does the body good. Go ahead and get your blood pumping with a hike on a sunny day. There are trail options all over the place, all you need to do is take a search online to find a hiking trail near you that suits your experience and interest. Want a more active, longer hike, with inclines? Or maybe a short trot around a nearby pond? There’s always a local green space for you to spend an hour or so listening to the wind in the trees and the birds chittering from the branches. Not to mention, it doesn’t cost anything to go out and connect with the great outdoors. So go ahead, treat yourself.
Fishing can be a great pastime if you’re looking for a few peaceful, calming hours in the morning sunshine. The meditative stillness that is often associated with fishing has been drawing people to the activity for years, and you can get started whenever you want (so long as it’s the right time of year). Head out onto the still morning waters and place your line into the water—see what happens. Listen to the nature around you as the boat teeters beneath your body. No boat? Park yourself down on the shore or on the nearby boardwalk, and sit in the silence and the calm. If you haven’t been out fishing before, there’s no harm in learning something new and trying it out with your friends and family; you never know what you’ll reel in. No matter how many fish you catch (if any), it’s all about getting into the great outdoors.
Baking or Cooking
No matter if you’re a nature nerd or a total homebody, learning something new is always a great way to spend your free time. Cooking and baking are hobbies that can meet you wherever you are; from experienced chef to TV-dinner connoisseur, there’s a recipe for everyone. One of the best parts of cooking is that it only requires a few basic skills, and past that, it’s following a recipe and maybe experimenting with some different flavors. Do you know how to boil water? Beginners can start off slow by trying their hand at making a sauce from scratch to pair with pre-packaged pasta. Are you a little more advanced? It might be time to try making pasta at home from scratch. Brushing up on your cooking skills can be as rewarding as it is tasty, and it could be your next favorite hobby.
Reading is a great way to exercise your imagination, stay in touch with the world around you, and to keep your brain in tip-top shape. Whether it’s the newspaper or a novel, reading gives your brain its much-needed daily exercise, and it can be a great outlet for whatever you may want out of a hobby. Longing for some alone time? There are few things more relaxing than cracking open a book and sinking into a chair by the window. Or maybe it’s time you got a little more social. Up the ante by joining a book club and having deeper discussions, and increase your motivation to finish a new book by being held accountable by your fellow book club members.
Knitting or Crocheting
Knitting or crocheting has a wonderful way of sucking you in. Once you get into the rhythm of the needles, time flies. Go ahead and turn on your favorite radio station or TV show for some background noise, and let the calming effect wash over you. One of the best parts of picking up either of these past-times as a hobby is the physical representation you get out of your job well done. Even if you’re just a beginner, you get to watch as your craftsmanship improves with every hat or scarf you make, and you can use your creations as gifts or home fixtures.
Writing, much like reading, is an awesome way to keep your brain active. Sitting down and writing out your thoughts or channeling your daily inspiration into storytelling can be a great way to clear your mind and document your experiences. If you see yourself as someone who’s a bit more familiar with technology, then it might be time to start a blog. Blogs are online journals where you can jot down stories from your life or your everyday thoughts, and the entries are shareable with your friends and family. You can include photos and videos, and keep your loved ones up to date with what you create. But if you find that blogging isn’t for you, then feel free to grab a journal and get to writing in whatever way you feel most comfortable.
Scrapbooking is a generations-old pastime with incredibly rewarding results. I love paging through the scrapbooks that my grandmother and mother have made of our family memories. Now, there are plenty of ways to get into scrapbooking without buying expensive equipment or pens, and one of the best options is creating scrapbooks and photobooks online. Making photobooks online is possible through services like Shutterfly, Walgreens Photo, Mixbook, and many more. And one of the best parts of creating these photobooks is the ability to have multiple copies sent to all of your friends and family. The photobooks are a wonderful physical representation of your creativity and memories, and a great way to document the wonderful times you’ve had with those you love.
Reselling antiques, vintage items, and pieces you find while perusing garage sales can make for a great new hobby, and maybe make some pocket change along the way. You might even find some items in your home that you don’t use anymore that could be touched up with a bit of paint and some polish and would find a happy new home in the hands of someone else. From Facebook Marketplace to eBay, there are plenty of online bazaars where you can refurbish and re-sell the items you find in your home or in your neighborhood. Reselling items is also another way for seniors on a fixed income to make a little extra money. Here are some other ways seniors can save extra money, as well.
Painting and Drawing
There’s always more to learn when you’re working on a craft, and the arts are a fun avenue to explore if you’re looking to express yourself while learning more. Painting and drawing are a great way to connect with the artist in you. Painting and drawing can be done anywhere, anytime, and can meet you wherever your skillset begins. You can watch beginner painting videos online if you’re looking to start from a blank canvas. Or, if you’d like to start with a guide, adult coloring books have become increasingly popular, and there are all sorts of genres to choose from, from garden spaces to animals and fantasy lands. If painting has piqued your interest, you can also check out canvases where you can paint-by-number (a painting pastime where you paint a numbered section on a canvas that coincides with a color that comes with the kit). No matter where you start, the finished product of your artistic expression will be something to be proud of.
If you have a knack for 3D art and want to try your hand at something that keeps you creative, making jewelry could be just the thing for you. Most hobby stores have a jewelry section where you can pick out beads, wires, elastic bands, and pendants to create anything you might want. Feel free to follow online tutorials, or pick up a book on jewelry-making while you’re perusing the hobby stores, and see where this new hobby takes you.
If you’re the owner of any sort of camera - from the one on your phone, to a high-quality SLR, to a classic film camera - you can get started on honing your photography skills today. You can look into online classes to learn more about the technique behind taking the perfect photo, or maybe look up some free tutorials to brush up on some helpful tips. Whichever camera you have is all you need to get started, and it’s a great reason to get outside and look around for inspiration. Give photography a try around your neighborhood, and if you find that you have a passion for it, you can always upgrade cameras as your interest and experience grow.
No matter if you’re interested in learning something new, or maybe dusting off some long-forgotten skills, there’s a hobby out there for you. Color your days with more creativity and action by exercising your brain and passion, and give any of these hobbies a try.
Article by Rhianna DeVries