10 Mini Hobbies that can be done in 1 hour a week

Model railroadingYou might ask “Isn’t the idea with retirement that I have lots of time to do the things I enjoy?” “Why do I need hobbies that only take an hour a week?” Well, think two themes – variety and adventurism.

It is great that you can take a hobby that you did before retirement and expand it using some of the free time that retirement hopefully provides. However studies have shown that variety creates the mental stimulation that we all need as we get older.

And we need new adventures with our hobbies. Who knows where a hobby that takes one hour a week can lead. Maybe it will become your biggest hobby because you simply love it. Perhaps it will enable you to connect with new friends. It might even provide a side income someday.

So, let’s start looking at some possibilities to give you some ideas:

Astronomy

Astronomy can be as simple as going out on a clear night, sitting in a comfortable lounge chair and looking up. Then you do some internet research and buy some books to learn about the constellations and movement of the planets. Eventually you pick up some binoculars or even a telescope. Be careful, this hobby can be addicting!

Coin Collecting

You can start this one just by looking at your loose change. Try saving a penny or a nickel for each of the last 25 years. Check out the internet and books and learn about mint marks and the history behind your coins. Surprise yourself when you find all the 100 year old coins you can purchase for very little money. Some coins might even be an investment.

Writing

If you are reading this on a computer chances are you have everything you need to become a writer. Start a blog on a subject you like and write a short post every week. Write a short article on anything and offer it to another blog. Of course you might get the writing bug bad and start that great new novel!

Getting into Nature

This can be as simple as taking a walk in a peaceful place once a week. Are you traveling somewhere? Why not add a nature component with a short hike or wildlife viewing. Do some research on an environmental concern and see how you can help.

Music

Try listening to some unknown performers and find one you like. Find them on YouTube or other online services. If you don’t know where to start talk to a young person. They are probably an expert even if they don’t have your same taste in music!

Crafts

Make something small, clever and easy. We’re not talking an artistic masterpiece here. Anything that is fun!

Collect Something

Stop at one or two yard sales and find something collectable. Or renew an interest you had years ago. I’ve heard Beanie Babies are pretty cheap these days!

Reading

Browse Amazon and add a couple books to your wish list. Figure out where your local library is and pay it a visit. You may be surprised how much they have changed but most still let you borrow books for free. And while you are there drop off a book you have already read as a donation.

Travel

Search the internet and build your own wish list of places to visit. Make a list of all the places you can visit for $1000. Make a list of weekend trips. Or make that travel bucket list and start researching destinations on the list. If you do this a little every week you are sure to turn some of your research into concrete plans.

There are many other hobbies you can begin exploring with very little time. Do some research and use your imagination!
Until next time…

Maybe you shouldn’t retire

Retired Guy ThinkingSociety traditionally has said you should retire at 65 (or some other age.) But how dare society tell you that! Only you know what is best for you.

Many of the most successful people in the world never retire

Some of the financial titans you read about every day seem to never really retire. You see them running companies and dispensing advice well into their 80s and even their 90s. Many of them are mentally sharp and sought after by the media for their thoughts.

You see the same in politics and academia. Jimmy Carter really hit his stride after his presidency was over. Many college professors continue their research well after the traditional retirement age.

What will you do?

Let’s not even think about retiring until we know what we’re going to do with ourselves! You don’t have to plan every minute but basic questions like where will I live and how will I spend my days need to be answered.

How is your health?

You can look at this question from a couple different angles. If your health is good you may want to retire to take advantage of that fact while you can. If your health isn’t so good you may want to retire to enjoy yourself before it gets worse. Or you may decide to keep working to keep health insurance in force until any health problems are resolved. Only you know the answer for your personal situation.

How about partial retirement?

For those that can’t stomach the idea of retirement a “partial retirement” may be the answer. This seems to be getting more popular. And it’s not always for financial reasons. A partial retirement may allow you to try new things while still keeping the social connections of your old job. And the income from working may fund some new ideas.

A variation on partial retirement might be “mini retirements.” I first read about mini retirements in “The Four Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferris. While the author promotes mini retirements for any age I think they work well for those that are on the fence regarding retirement. The basic idea to take an extended mini retirement with the full intention of going back to work. This allows you to try some new things without fully committing to permanent retirement and all that it means.

What if money wasn’t a consideration?

It may help to temporarily forget about money when deciding about retirement. Obviously money is always a consideration, but first think about whether the idea makes sense. Money has a way of clouding the decision making process. So first decide if retirement for you works as a concept, and then work at fitting your budget to your retirement plans. There are lots of ways to do that and other articles in this blog talk about it.

Volunteer Work

While we’re on the subject of money, what if you really don’t need to continue working for financial reasons? Volunteering may be the answer to put your life skills to work, keep you busy and mentally sharp, and provide great social interaction. The right volunteer work might just be the best job you ever had that you don’t get paid for!

Some people end up loving retirement that never thought they would

We have all heard these stories and I really do believe them. Many of us will do anything to prevent change. Retirement is definitely one of those big life changes. Once over the hump of indecision you may just find retirement really is for you!

Will life be more exciting and fulfilling with or without retirement?

I guess that is the central question. Maybe it’s time to get out that pad and pencil and start listing those pros and cons. And don’t forget to include your spouse in your deliberations!

Until next time…

Electronics as a hobby

Picture of Multimeter

Image courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hobbies are very important in retirement and electronics is one of my favorites so we’ll talk about it here. Hobbies are so important in fact that we’ll be doing a whole series of hobby posts.

Why hobbies?

Hobbies are a much better use of your time than say, watching TV. In retirement you finally have some time to pursue hobbies that you started years ago, or that gained your recent interest. They help mental sharpness and social interaction. Some can even turn into part time jobs.

I fooled around with electronics when I was a young up until the time it was no longer cool. Do you remember Heathkit and when going to Radio Shack for parts was a blast? Well electronics is still fun and with the Internet ideas and suppliers are just a click away. Most parts are accessible and generally reasonable.

Where to start

You can start at least two ways. One is by learning through experiments and the other is by building kits.

MAKE magazine sells some excellent learn electronics books and sells kits with all the parts to do the experiments in the books. Kits are available through many sources. Here are a few to get you started:

Maker Shed (associated with MAKE magazine.)

Spark Fun Electronics

Jameco Electronics

Adafruit

You can also do projects from scratch and collect ideas and parts yourself. Check out Instructables on the web. Parts are available from the sources above as well as Amazon, Newegg, and Ebay. Just do some Google searches on the company names we have mentioned. The ideas are limitless!

Arduino

There are two special classes of electronics that I’ll mention here because they are so popular. One is called Arduino and other is Raspberry Pi.

Arduino is programmable board containing a microcontroller that can be programmed using an open source development language and environment. Hobbyists and experimenters have used it for hundreds of different projects.

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi is a little one board computer developed in the UK. It sells for under $40 and has taken the hobbyist and experimenter’s world by storm. It is used for all kinds of projects and a simple Internet search will give you all kinds of ideas.

With electronics the idea is to keep learning and keep trying new things. There is an almost limitless number of ideas to keep you busy and yearning for more. I suggest you keep a journal of your projects and experiments. Often you will re-use parts of project ideas long after you forget about them (and the journal is real handy for that.)

Some websites

Some websites mentioned in this article:

www.makezine.com

www.instructables.com

www.sparkfun.com

www.adafruit.com

www.jameco.com

www.ebay.com

www.amazon.com

www.newegg.com

www.arduino.cc

www.raspberrypi.org