Secret #8 Develop Your Hobby
For some of us working, volunteering or any of the previous ventures may not interest you, or you may not wish to venture out to much, however developing your hobby can be very rewarding.
I have met quite a few older retirees that find it hard to get out so they are developing their hobby weather it be building models, gardening or simply reading or listening to audio books.
Of course if your hobby can include some movement this is a double bonus.
I think if you have been reading through the book that being active some way in your retirement is good for your physical and emotional health.
So if you ever find yourself in a bit of a rut, traipsing from home to the shops and back again and doing little in the evenings apart from vegging out on the sofa, you might want to think about trying out a new pastime to help improve your quality of life.
But what hobby to go for? Most people trying something out for the first time won’t want to part with a significant amount of cash, in case it turns out not to be for them.
All you need is some paper and a pencil. But what if you’ve got no artistic talent? It doesn’t matter: anyone can learn to draw plus there are great colouring in books. So many good free online courses. I like this one:
There’s no need to shell out on an expensive DSLR camera – you’re after a hobby, not a profession – and brilliant results can be obtained with most camera phones these days. If you want a little bit more to play with I bought my Canon DSLR on Facebook Marketplace for $350 and it was almost new.
If you do use your phone there are some great apps for android and apple phones that work much better than the generic photo app.
The word “origami” is formed from the Japanese ‘ori’ meaning ‘fold’ and ‘kami’ meaning ‘paper.’ The principal is a simple one: three-dimensional shapes are made from folding a square of thin paper without scissor cuts and strictly no glue. Modern origamists call themselves ‘folders.’
To get started get yourself a pack of origami paper – or, in a pinch, a pack of Post-It Notes will do the job – and everything you need to know can be found on this youtube site.
Youtube tutorials: http://bit.ly/2GUInia
- Learn a language
As suggested on the Reddit thread by Bolcik, who points out there are all manner of learning services available for free, such as Duolingo: “So for literally no money at all you can completely change your world view and be able to talk to so many other people that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to.”
My wife is using Duolingo to learn Mandarin as we go to visit our son and his family in Shanghai.
If you can read, you can write. Try poems or short stories, keep a journal, write your life story, start a blog… the internet is full of advice and the only limit is your imagination.
Get good at it and you can offer your services to write blog posts, ghost writer and so much more.
Here is an unusual one for you which is worldwide. Geocaching is a treasure hunt with something for everyone. Using map coordinates and a GPS enabled device, you can find a geocache near your home, in the city, in the bush or in Antarctica.
Geocaches come in all shapes and sizes too. You can find a tiny little one as small as your fingernail, or a huge geocache with exciting ‘treasures’ inside. It can be as easy or as hard as you like to make it. You can drive up to your geocache and spot it from the car, or you can choose to hike for miles up and down mountains in the snow in search of that elusive container.
There are very likely to be caches hidden around your local area. To get going, simply download the free app at geocaching.com and search for caches near you. My friend does a lot of it in Saudi Arabia. It is world Wide.
Now get out there and have some fun! But beware, it can be addictive! https://geocaching.com.au/
Cooking costs a little bit of money, but you were gonna spend it anyway. You have to eat. Once you’ve got a little bit of equipment, it actually becomes cheaper than eating out. You wind up recovering your initial investment and then some in savings.
You can then do catering or just have really good dinner parties. I used to cook a lot and developed half a dozen dishes I would pull out for any occasion.
Australia is a wonderful place to go birdwatching because seeing birds is easy, they are everywhere you look.
Wherever you go, there are birds. Not just in the forests and woodlands, but in farmland and parks, on the tallest of mountains and in the driest of deserts. Even in the city streets you can see swallows and martins, falcons and gulls, pigeons and sparrows, and plenty more besides.
Birdwatchers in Australia are lucky because there are so many different birds to see (over 800 in all), and many of them are charismatic and colourful, have beautiful songs, and many of them are easy to see.
Astronomy has the largest organised amateur following of any of the sciences. Amateur astronomers observe the sky with the naked eye, binoculars, or telescopes, and often meet together in regional astronomy societies for discussions, guest speakers, telescope building workshops and night observing sessions at dark sites
Many keen amateur astronomers take part in searches for objects such as supernovae, comets and studies of variable stars, contributing significantly to the advance of astronomy generally.
The person who holds the record (over 30!) for the highest number of visual discoveries of supernovae by anyone, amateur or professional, is an Australian amateur, Rev. Robert Evans.
Many amateur astronomers combine busy professional careers in other areas with a lifelong recreational interest in astronomy.
It’s easy to assume that skills like juggling are silly or impractical. However, some studies have shown that juggling actually improves concentration, dexterity, and even helps relieve stress.
It isn’t new research by any means, but studies from Oxford University and many others showed that 30 minutes of juggling a day resulted in noticeable changes to the white matter of the brain after six weeks:
Get three scarves, or balls. Failing that, ball up some socks.
Watch a few YouTube instructional videos.
- Model railways
Model railways are not just for kids. The Australian Model Railway Association Incorporated has a broad network that spans across the country and is a vibrant community.
This website is regularly updated and contains lots of useful information. It also explains how to become a member, which will help you to keep up-to-date with all the latest developments of the hobby and also connects you to like-minded enthusiasts.
The Ulysses Club is a social club for motorcyclists over the age of 40’. It is a very friendly and well organised motorcycle club that welcomes anyone on a motorcycle or scooter of any sort. And it is not a male dominated environment with lots of women and couples as members. www.ulyssesclub.org
Chess is a fantastic ‘mind sport’ for people who already play regularly or for those wanting to start playing. The Australian Chess Federation’s site has links to details of chess tournaments and includes a very popular chess forum.
- Video gaming
Video games are no longer just for children—26 per cent of all gamers are over 50 years of age. At Gamespot you can find the latest news and reviews about games coming on to the market.
You can also use the forums to connect with like-minded people to discuss your favourite games, or to get advice as a new gamer on where to start and what to play. https://www.gamespot.com/
Fishing is a favourite pastime of many and can be done by people of all ages. Unfortunately, not all of us live close by to our favourite fishing spots so we don’t always get to indulge in our favourite hobby.
That’s what makes the Tackle Box website so great. It is a nationwide fishing forum where you can go online and talk fishing all day long. https://www.tacklebox.com.au/
One of the lesser known hobbies in Australia is bellringing. While not all of us are lucky enough to be located near a bell tower, it’s not just the major cities that offer this unique pastime.
The website for The Australian and New Zealand Association of Bellringers includes a detailed directory that will tell you where to find your nearest tower. There are towers in country towns, cities and suburbs across the country.
“There is nothing—absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats” – Ratty, Wind in the willows.
Whether you prefer lazy days paddling around on a lake or the thrill of the high seas, it’s easy to see that some of the most beautifully crafted boats on the water are the wooden vessels.
The Vintage Wooden Boat Association is a place where you can share your passion for boating, and more specifically for older wooden boats.
- Connect with like-minded collectors
Collecting, whether it’s stamps, postcards, figurines or coins has long been a pastime of children, young and old. If your collection has stood the test of time, and is maybe just a little out of the ordinary, then you can find links to others who share your passion.
19 Displaying your memories
Scrapbooking has become incredibly popular over the last few years and is a great way to display your memories, or create a thoughtful gift for someone special. Get some tips on your latest project, show off your own handy work or are looking for the best-priced materials.
- Have a rail holiday
All state country rail and coach bodies offer heavily discounted, or even free, travel options for seniors.
In Victoria, for example, pensioners receive a yearly free travel voucher for travel on VLine.
In NSW pensioners get up to four one-way travel vouchers a year.
In Queensland, pensioners enjoy heavily discounted fares on all major regional routes.
In WA seniors get four free travel vouchers every two years.
Take a walking tour
Just because you’re a local, doesn’t mean you know everything about your city.
You can find free walking tours with local guides in most capital cities run by the likes of city councils and local historical societies.
My older sister is a keen gardener and grows Bromeliads in the Adelaide Hills. She has joined the Bromeliad Society where they share ideas and have market days where they can sell their wares.
She is also a member of a Community Garden. There are a number of sites that allow you to see where they are anywhere in Australia however this is one of the most detailed.
She grows her own vegetables and herbs. I tried this and got wiped out by possums so now outsource my vegetable supply to Coles and Woolworths. LOL
WE’VE all heard that gardening is good for the soul, creating a sense of general wellbeing.
Dr Hayley Christian of UWA gets down to the root of why gardening is particularly beneficial to seniors.
Top benefits of gardening for seniors
– Gardening is a moderate intensity activity that can be done daily. It is recommended older adults be active every day in as many ways as possible, including physical activities incorporating fitness, strength, balance and flexibility, which gardening provides
– The pastime is also an effective mental health intervention and can reduce depression and anxiety. It puts us in contact with nature; nature contact is associated with improved mental health and wellbeing. The Biophilia Hypothesis suggests all humans have an innate need to seek connections with nature
– It is also proven to help alleviate stress
– It provides an opportunity to be outdoors and helps the body generate important vitamin D (a deficiency common in older adults)
– Gardens provide a number of sensory benefits such as smelling, touching, observing, listening and remembering
Top gardening activities
– Crafts and hobbies include: drying flowers and herbs, painting/drawing in the garden, making jams and pickles, collecting seeds, bark, sticks and leaves to make 3D pictures, fairy gardens with the grandkids
– Planting, watering, digging and caring for different plants that can be used for food and enjoyment. Garden spaces, tools and equipment can be modified or adapted to reduce physical stress
– Helping out in someone else’s garden and community gardens has the added social benefits of doing something you enjoy with likeminded people. Local government and gardening groups have details of community gardens and workshops.