Retirement Life

Tue, 26 Jun, 2018Danielle McCarthy

Why you should learn one new thing every day in retirement

Why you should learn one new thing every day in retirement

Megan Giles, Retirement Transition Consultant, supports those approaching retirement to successfully transition and create a retirement they will love to live!

Learn one new thing in retirement, you say? Why on earth would I want to do that, you muse to yourself. I’ve worked hard over the years and now it is finally time to kick back, relax and enjoy the fruits of my labours.

Why is it important to keep learning, especially in retirement? There are a number of reasons.

  1. Curiosity is fantastic for ensuring strong social connections in retirement. People who are interested in others tend to be perceived as interesting themselves. As social beings we tend to gravitate towards people who are interesting and have a sense of energy about them. The friendships established during our working life start to (naturally) drift away as routines change in retirement and so this becomes all the more important.
  2. As the saying goes ‘use it or lose it’. The most effective way to keep your mind sharp and prevent mental decline is to keep using it!
  3. Set yourself up for success. Learning requires us to challenge what we thought we knew and be willing to try different things. This in turn makes us more adaptable to new situations and more confident in how we step into the world. In acknowledging that retirement can be a time of transition and upheaval, wouldn’t it be great to know you were stepping into it on the front foot.

What is that one thing that you muse over and think ‘I’d love to learn that, if only I had time…’. Why not make the time? Rather than thinking of learning as an arduous journey, such as a three year (full time!) university degree or learning a language fluently, why not start small and commit to learning just one thing each day. Perhaps learn just one new Spanish word each day (and practice using it!) or read one article about a topic you are passionate about. Imagine what you can learn over the course of a year!

After ideas for one new thing you could learn each and every day? 

Here are 20 ideas to get you started!

  • The name of your neighbours (particularly if you’ve recently moved)
  • The one thing your grandchildren enjoyed most at school today
  • Your significant other’s greatest wish for retirement
  • How to take better care of your health (and ensure you are able to live out your retirement dreams)
  • A new recipe for dinner
  • How to compost
  • How to grow your own vegetables
  • The names of the plants in your garden
  • Trace your family tree
  • The history of your local area, particularly the indigenous history
  • First aid
  •  How to SnapChat or tweet (and keep up with the grandkids!)
  • How to blog
  • Join a bookclub
  • How to stand-up paddle board / yoga/ cycle
  • How to drive a 4X4
  • To play the ukulele
  • To sing (why not head along to one of the many Pub Choirs popping up around the country!)
  • Build your own pizza oven
  • Creative writing
  • Up-cycling furniture (and update your home to reflect your new lifestyle in retirement)

Where to start?

There are fantastic interest groups and classes both in your community and online. Browse the web or pick up a copy of the local paper and see what’s on near you.  

You don’t need to spend the whole day learning, or even one hour. Commit to just 15 mins of focused learning each and see where that takes you.

‘You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream’ – C.S. Lewis