Ways to Make Life More Exciting Again.
Retirement is something for which many of us spend years dreaming about and longing. We plot and plan what we are going to do with all our free time once we leave the hustle and bustle of the 9-to-5-life behind.
Then it arrives – and we find ourselves mired in the same old routine all over again. Retirement becomes boring and predictable. Sure, there may be moments of extreme exhilaration. Maybe you have finally planned that trip to Europe; or maybe you signed up for that painting class you’ve always wanted to take.
But what happens during the moments when you’re not taking a big trip, or engaging in a new hobby? Most of us cannot afford to live in the lap of luxury for the entire length of our retirement, regardless of how well we plan. Instead of thinking about the big events, take time to think outside the box, and plan for ways to make every day new and different to maximize your retirement enjoyment.
Shake it Up
Sometimes, even in retirement, we find ourselves engaged in old habits, mindless chores and boring tasks. As a general rule, people don’t like change. Some will accept it, while others fight against it. There can be a sort of comfort in the familiar, and breaking out of some of these habits can be difficult.
While familiar can be comforting, it also can be boring. Be deliberate in shaking things up a bit – from your normal breakfast routine to the clothing you wear. Even the smallest change can make things feel exciting and new again.
Get up at the same time every day to the same bowl of bran flakes in the breakfast nook each morning? Rise 10 minutes earlier or later, make yourself an omelet and enjoy it – and nature – on the patio instead.
If you sit and read the newspaper for an hour before starting your day, consider leaving it folded for enjoyment later. Sometimes reading about the problems of the world can get us off to the wrong start in the morning. Instead of filling your mind with all of the bad things happening in the world, focus on enjoying the beauty in life instead. Meditate and focus on positive thoughts, or take a 10-minute walk outdoors to enjoy the natural beauty around you.
Normally wear conservative clothing in neutral colors as not to draw attention to yourself? Today is the day to get bold, to dress in brighter colors. Not only will it make you feel cheerier; it will help those around you to see you in a new and different light, changing the way they interact with you.
There are a number of ways you can mix things up, so don’t be afraid to experiment each day.
Live Each Day Like it is the Last
As we age, the reality of our mortality can be front and center each day. Sometimes, to our detriment, we may focus a little too much on the natural order of things, fretting so much about the end of our lives that we are too afraid to live.
If you are someone who focuses too much on your own mortality, take control of it. Each morning, when you wake, take a piece of paper and ask yourself, “if today were my last day on earth, how would I want to spend it?”
Make yourself a bucket list of sorts, and include at least three items. Make them reasonable items. Obviously, you can’t take a trip around the world every day. But you can do things like enjoying a meal in a restaurant you’ve never tried before, or trying a new hobby.
By living each day with purpose and intent, you will be able to find happiness around every corner.
Ever received an unexpected compliment from a total stranger? Maybe someone liked your new outfit or haircut. Maybe someone gave you their seat on a crowded bus or train. Even the smallest of kindnesses can change our entire outlook on the day.
A February 2016 article in Psychology Today outlined a number of ways to express random acts of kindness to strangers. Research has indicated that those who experience random acts of kindness often are motivated to engage in acts of kindness to others, keeping the cycle going. Research also has indicated that engaging in, and benefiting from, random acts of kindness have a positive effect on the health and well-being of both the giver and receiver.
You never know what is going on in a person’s life. Something as simple as a smile or a cup of coffee from a stranger can make all the difference in the world.
The People You Meet on the Street
Human interaction is something we all crave. It is human nature to want to connect with others. Sparking a conversation with others can not only help us to feel connected, it can help us to discover new and exciting things we may not have otherwise found.
Each day, make it a goal to talk with three to five people you don’t know. That’s right – perfect strangers. See someone sitting on a park bench? Sit down next to them and strike up a conversation. See someone sitting by themselves on a bus or train? Sit next to them and introduce yourself.
I’m not just talking about making pleasantries, either. Saying hi and asking how someone is doing is not really getting to know them. We’re all pre-programmed to make those kinds of pleasantries, and we’re also inclined to answer in an untruth. How many times has someone asked you how you were, and you said “fine,” when you really were having an awful day?
Make an effort to ask the kind of questions that will tell you something about the person. What are their hobbies? Employment? Do they have a favorite food or color? Would they recommend an activity or hobby where you also might find enjoyment? Ask meaningful questions. You may make a new friend or brighten someone’s day.
Have some tips to share about ways to make each day special? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section. Try any of our tips in this article? We’d love to hear how they worked out for you!