Avoid Boredom In Retirement

“I don’t think I’ll ever retire.  I don’t know what I’d do all day.”

Have you ever had anyone say that to you?  I suspect you have, given how common this sentiment is among people of retirement age.  Many people love their work and worry that they’d be bored without the daily activity their job provides. Unfortunately, even if you love your work, there will likely come a day when you’ll retire, whether by choice or by circumstances outside your control.

Even for those who are excited about the prospects of a life without the obligation of work, you’ve likely asked yourself the question, “Will I get bored?”.  I don’t know too many people who were more excited about retirement than I was, and yet I found myself asking myself the same question.

It’s a normal worry.

Life in retirement does not have to mean a life of boredom sitting in your recliner watching T.V. all day, every day. However, it’s up to you to decide how you want to live your life of freedom.  Without any effort to plan ahead and develop outside interests, it’s certainly possible that yours will be a life of boredom.

It happens.

If it happens to you, you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.  Perhaps that’s a tough message, but it’s true. Unlike the workplace, where you have a boss who tells you what to do, retirement is an entirely different animal.

You Are The Boss.

You set the rules.  You set the schedule.  You set the agenda. Isn’t that exactly the freedom that excites you about retirement?  It’s also the reason you probably worry about being bored. You’ve never had this level of freedom before, and you’re not sure how you’re going to handle it.  Don’t worry – there are thousands who have walked this journey before you, and there are lessons you can learn if you study the things that have worked for others.

To minimize the risk of boredom in retirement, start working now on finding new activities to pursue during your retirement.  However small the interest, start writing down ideas for things you’d like to try. Build a bucket list of things you’d like to accomplish, and stretch yourself to go beyond the obvious “travel” ideas.  Build a list for personal development. Throw in a few ideas to stretch your artistic side. Think about physical activities that have interested you but you’ve never had time to pursue. Look online for clubs in your area, and sign up now for their e-mail list.   Check out volunteer opportunities, and test out a few during an upcoming weekend. Focus on creating as large a list as possible, and look it over if you ever get bored in retirement.

In our case, the best thing we did was to create a “Retirement Activity Jar” a year before my retirement date.  My wife and I each filled out slips of paper with activities we wanted to do in retirement. We each tried to come up with one new idea every week, and we never shared our ideas with each other.  By the time I retired 52 weeks later, we had two years’ worth of weekly activities stuffed in our jar, half of which were a complete surprise for each of us. It’s been fun pulling out a slip of paper every week and trying a new activity, and it’s kept us from getting bored.

Will you get bored in retirement?

After all, you’re the boss.


Are you worried about boredom in retirement?  If so, you’re not alone.  Many people worry about finding activities to fill the time that becomes available when you no longer have to go to work.  There’s a reason I included the topic in my new book and there are things you can do now to minimize your risk of facing boredom in retirement.

Like many things in retirement, avoiding boredom is something that’s within your control. No one will do it for you. If you’re worried about boredom in retirement, start taking steps now to mitigate the risk. I’ve been retired for two years, and I can honestly say I haven’t been bored a single day.  Given my personality, that’s saying a lot.

There’s hope.

But it all depends on you.

About the Author: Friiz Gilbert worked for 33 years in Corporate America, in various roles within the aluminum industry. An aspiring philosopher and a lifelong financial “hobbyist”, writing has become a passion in retirement. Fritz Gilbert is author of: Keys to a Successful Retirement: Staying Happy, Active, and Productive in Your Retired Years.

Here are more articles on how to avoid boredom in retirement.

Note: this article originally appeared at retirementmanifesto.com. Republished with permission of author.


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