My Limits

Image courtesy of olovedog /

Image courtesy of olovedog /

I’m retired – know my limits

What are your limits in retirement? Surely you can’t expect to do all the things you did at twenty when you are looking at three times that age or more! On the other hand reading all the literature about retirement might lead you to believe you can do anything, and maybe you can! Let’s explore limits.

Do I really want to do it?

Step one to looking at your limits is to ask yourself what is being limited and do you even care. We all approach retirement with ideas of what we want to do and things we want to accomplish. In some cases those ideas formed many years ago. Maybe twenty years ago you decided you would climb Everest as soon as you were retired and had time. Add to that what the media and advertisers say retirement should be. Everyone needs to take a round the world cruise as soon as they retire, right?

Well what happens if you now could care less about climbing Everest? Or what if being cooped up on a cruise ship for weeks on end gives you hives just thinking about it? The point is that what is important now to you is your decision, and advertising or baggage from your past should not enter into the picture.

Am I really limited?

Once you really know what you want to do the next step is to take a first pass at deciding if there is any limitation that would stop you. Let’s say you really do want to climb Everest and decide that is simply impossible due to your age. Do some research. You would find that the oldest person to climb Mt Everest was Yuichiro Miura, at the age of 80. (By the way I’m not saying climbing Mt Everest is a good idea – Mr Miura almost died during the descent!)

Can I do it slower?

Sometimes you really do have some real physical limitation. If so ask yourself the simple question can I do it, but only a little slower. Often the answer is yes. Maybe that backpacking hike can be spread over 4 days instead of 2, and it even might be more enjoyable that way.

What parts can I do?

Sometimes that impossible goal becomes possible if you break it into more manageable parts. Consider an around the world trip. Maybe you say that is financially impossible right now, and it really is. Maybe you can do part of it this year and then the rest spread over the next ten years. A side advantage would be that it gives you something to look forward to for years to come. Or maybe you think the coolest part of an around the world trip would be visiting Japan and you decide that part is doable and you do it.

Are limits only in my mind?

The bottom line is that most limits are mostly limits in our imagination rather than real limits. Get that imagination muscle working and most limits are either not really that important, or simply do not really exist!

Until next time…

How to find a hobby

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Everyone needs a hobby

Everyone needs hobbies. Even when working full time we need interests that keep us thinking and learning and that we just plain enjoy. In retirement, or even semi-retirement, this is even more important. A hobby can even allow you to fill in that blank space in life where maybe you say “I wish I had tried this or that!”

So how do you go about finding a hobby? Like a lot of things it starts out with some research and a list. Here are some ideas to get you started.

What hobbies did you start previously but abandon?

Let’s start with something really simple. Make a list of all the hobbies you started in the past but abandoned. Don’t skip anything, even those pursuits that now seem really dumb. Did you collect Beanie Babies or Pet Rocks? ( If you don’t know what a pet rock is look it up on Wikipedia.) Just make the list for now, don’t judge or pick anything yet.

What activities did you enjoy as a kid?

What kinds of things did you enjoy doing or reading about as a kid. Did you like trains, dolls, or making models? What were some of those ideas for careers that grown ups told you were not practical. I’m talking about becoming an astronaut, or a musician. Well, some of those youthful ideas can make great second careers and some can make great hobbies, so add them to your list.

Browse Amazon Books

A search of “Hobbies” on Amazon brings up over 143,000 results, with many sub-categories. Spend an hour or two browsing and add anything to your list that sounds promising. Don’t be too tempted by all those cool books! Wait until you narrow down your list a bit.

Browse the Internet

In a similar way to browsing on Amazon do a little surfing on the Internet. Try different search terms and categories like “Retirement Hobbies” or “Free Hobbies”. Use your imagination and add anything that grabs your interest to your list.

Look at magazines

Take a look at magazine racks – both those in stores and those on line. If there is a magazine for it then it is likely there are quite a few people that enjoy that hobby. Add any that interest you to your list.

Look at Blogs

Finally take a look at blogs. Take a look at some of the entries on Technorati ( or others. A search on “hobbies” brings up over a million blogs! Again just add ideas to your list.


Finally, try a little old fashioned brainstorming. Just write any ideas that come to mind, again without judging or considerations of practicality.

What hobby will you pursue?

Now for the fun part. Hopefully by now you have a pretty big list. Time to start categorizing and doing some eliminating. Maybe try some categories like “Great Ideas”, “Free or Low Cost”, or “Hobbies that could turn into an income source” Then give your ideas some time to settle for a few days and decide on a few winners. How many hobbies can you have? I would say it depends on you and the hobby, but you probably should start one at a time.

I hope this article has got you thinking about a new hobby. Give it a try and see where it leads.

Until next time…

10 Volunteer Ideas

There are hundreds, if not thousands of volunteer organizations that are desperate for your time and experience.  Retirement is a good time to give back a little to the world around you.  There are also obvious benefits for you.  Volunteering keeps your mind active, gives you another purpose in life, and keeps you in contact with other human beings.  All of those things have been identified as necessary to a healthy and fulfilling retirement.

Below are a few volunteer ideas to get you started.  Hopefully they will jog your brain to think of many more possibilities.

Your church

If you belong to a church you may have wished you could have helped out more earlier in life.  Retirement may be a time when you have more time and less responsibilities and you can now help.  Even if you don’t belong to a church local churches may provide opportunities.  For example in my home town a local church runs a food bank, and they are always looking for help.

The Peace Corp

Ever since the days of John Kennedy people think of the Peace Corp when they think of volunteering.  Retired people in the Peace Corp are becoming more common, and there is even a program called the Peace Corp 50+ Initiative that seeks to recruit retired volunteers.


Animal Shelters always have a need for volunteers.  If you love animals then volunteering in an animal shelter may be just your thing.

Your local library

Do you like to read?  Libraries are changing but they still need volunteers for everything from caring for books to keeping their computers running.  Many run special presentation programs and are looking for new ideas and people to make the presentations.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army has a need for lots of people beyond those Santas ringing the bells.  Their website says they had 3.4 million volunteers in 2012.  I am sure they have room for one more!

Meals on Wheels

These programs deliver meals to senior citizens and others who may have difficulty making all their own meals.  Some are free and some charge a reasonable fee, but they all need volunteers.  I have personal experience here.  My Dad and Step Mom used a service a few years ago.  Both were in their nineties and they lived a couple hours away.  I was very grateful that I knew they were being delivered at least one good hot meal every day.

Red Cross

The Red Cross website says that 94% of their work is performed by volunteers.  With all the recent natural disasters they certainly need lots of volunteers.

National and State parks

If you like the outdoors then volunteering in nearby state and national parks may be the way to go.

Habitat for Humanity

What a worthwhile organization!  Can you swing a hammer or carry a two by four?  Their website shows all kinds of opportunities.

Your Own Cause

Last but not least do you have a cause you care about?  Is there a need where you think you could help?  Are you a good organizer and can you start a small organization around your cause?  You can probably start small with just a few friends.

How will you volunteer?

So how will you volunteer?  We’ll explore many other possibilities in future articles.

Until next time…