By Melissa Davidson
When we’re young and still employed full time, we probably aren’t thinking about what hobbies or activities we will be doing in our spare time as we get older. But how many people do you currently know who only developed a few interests and now don’t have much else to fall back on?
I often hear about people who were once extremely active, who then became crippled by the sports they love, and so they find themselves wondering “What else do I really enjoy doing?” For some, the answer is “not much.”
It’s never too early to branch out. There are plenty of hobbies to take up, especially things that stimulate the brain and promote physical coordination.
Here’s a sampling of ideas to get you thinking about new passions and interests:
Digital cameras or smartphones make it easy to capture beautiful moments. Wouldn’t it be cool to have an album of family portraits with genuine moments of people who matter most to you? Check out these helpful tips on portrait photography.
2. Write your memoir
Your legacy is important. Think about all the amazing things you’ve done so far and put pen to paper. Sharing your unique life experiences with family is a way to honor yourself and them. There’s a story inside all of us. Share your journey so far.
3. Metal detecting
People of all ages enjoy treasure hunting with metal detectors. It’s a great way to spend time with a grandchild or friend. You’d also be amazed what you can find. I once lost a ring on the beach and borrowed a friend’s metal detector to try and retrieve it. I went back to the spot I lost it, but never found the ring. Some lucky person probably discovered my treasure buried in the sand. The fine art of metal detecting even has its own show. Detectorists is a British sitcom set in the small fictional town of Danebury in northern Essex. The plot revolves around the lives and detecting ambitions of Andy and Lance, members of the Danebury Metal Detecting Club.
4. Join a Meetup
There’s a Meetup group for everyone and every interest out there. By joining a group, you are participating in what matters to you with like-minded people in your community. If you’re a runner, for example, you can go on organized runs with others who run at your pace. Or maybe chess is your thing and you’re looking for other players.
You hear of people skippering boats into their 80s. Granted these people probably started learning at a much younger age, but sailing off into the sunset could be considered a better metaphor for discovering inner strengths and deep desires. The decision of how and where you want to retire is an open question. Who knows, maybe being on the open water might help find the answers.
Creative expression takes many forms. Studies show the positive effects art therapy has on healthy brain functions. Physical, mental, and emotional health improved in the group who participated. Painting and art therapy groups are also a social outlet for seniors.
I still remember my grandmother taking advanced cooking classes. She was a good cook already, but she wanted to further her knowledge and techniques. She went on a “cooking vacation” to a warm locale. It would be fun to come back, throw a dinner party, and show all your friends what you learned.
8. Dancing, singing
Dick Van Dyke – famous for dancing and singing his way onto the big screen in Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – wrote a book a few years ago for his 90th birthday with tips on how to stay young. His advice? Keep moving!
“Everyone should dance. And everyone should sing,” he said in an NPR interview. “People say, ‘Well, I can’t sing.’ Everybody can sing. That you do it badly is no reason not to sing.”
Even if you can’t play on your basketball team anymore because you have a bad back and a hip replacement, you can still find sports that will keep you active. Most of the things listed above are physical activities. Obviously there’s no stopping aging, but living as well as we can for a long time will lead to a much happier, fulfilling life.
Melissa Davidson is a freelance writer with a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Montana. She covers health, wellness, business and social issues. When she’s not hovering over a keyboard, she can be found running and riding on dirt with her dog, Romeo.
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