'get off yer butt and do something'
One time you're getting up every day to go to work. Then suddenly
you're retired, maybe unwillingly, with loads of time on your hands. The change
of circumstance can be unsettling, not only to yourself but also to your family.
The days stretch out unendingly before you- nothing to do and all day to do
it in; that's when you need a hobby (or hobbies).
"What is a hobby?"
My broad definition of a hobby is something that is done to
pass time in a profitable manner. It may well be profitable in the monetary
sense or it may give a sense of achievement. If you're lucky it may give both.
Charities such as Age UK are always short of volunteers and
you are sure to be welcomed. Forget the image of well-meaning people doddering
about; modern charities are run on sound business lines and can be fun. It'll
get you out, part of a team, looking forward to the challenge.
Charities are a life-saver, not only for the people they help
but also for the helpers. If you have any skills, and who hasn't?, they can
be put to work. If you can do office work; answer the telephone, work a copier,
do some filing, you'll be invaluable. Car owners are always in demand to ferry
people about or if you can do simple repairs you'll be in great demand. What's
more, you'll be part of a team. If you think that working for a charity might
be for you, don't jump in with both feet straight away but treat it as looking
for a job. Visit local charities that interest you, chat with the people there
and find out as much as you can, then go for it.
Similarly to charities, many institutions such as hospices,
hospitals and schools are always short of willing hands. You may have come
into contact with one or more of these personally or through a family member
or friend. In general hospices and hospitals need volunteers to help with
distribution of food and reading matter, arrange flowers and generally help
with the social side of things. This allows nurses more time to concentrate
on using their medical skills. Despite what you may think, hospices are usually
places full of joy and hope.
If you have grandchildren, why not lend a hand at their school?.
There's always need for people to lend a hand in a multitude of ways; manning
a stall at the school fair, for example or even helping to organise it. Many
schools have dispensed with the old PTA in favour of a "Friends of..." which
allows people other than just parents to join. Helping to make scenery for
a play is also a fun thing.
"Don't be fright"
Do you remember this catchphrase? It's from a half-remembered
radio show of around the war years, but it expresses what I'm trying to say.
You may feel diffident about taking on the responsibility of voluntary work
as is outlined above, but go for it and you'll never regret it. You'll mostly
meet some very nice people but also a few that are boring, self-opinionated
or downright rude; that's all part of life's rich tapestry. If the worst comes
to the worst you can always leave and try something else, but for the most
part, once you become part of a team, you won't want to.
"Take a course at your local college"
What in? Anything that takes your fancy; most colleges have
concessions on fees for older people. Unless you have a special interest why
not try something off-beat such as self-assertion or painting on silk. It's
all good fun, you get out and you meet people.
"Visit your local leisure centre"
There you can get a swim, have a workout in the gym, play badminton
or bowls. Most leisure centres run courses in several sports where you will
meet like-minded people, with maybe a coffee or as drink afterwards.
"Support your local societies"
All localities have a wealth of societies and clubs offering
all manner of skills. There are operatic and drama societies, brass band,
dance band, jazz, organ, dancing schools, model trains, art, photographic
etc.etc. Many of these societies need financial help. Although the members
pay subscriptions this is not always sufficient to cover costs. Also, having
worked hard to achieve good results they need to display their talents. Even
if you don't want to join a club yourself, please support these people. I
know you'll enjoy their offerings.
"What do I do?"
I'm now well into my eighties. Nevertheless I help to run a
social club for elderly people and also teach at a local "Silver Surfer's"
venue, helping older people to get online and use the internet safely and
And as you will know, because you're reading this, I build websites
and have several.
After retiring from my career as a design engineer I kept myself
busy with several projects.
I repaired Amstrad PCW computers and sent reconditioned spares all over
the UK. See my website "Ron's
PCW Page" .I no longer update the website and it's hosted
for me. I still get emails about these machines so I keep it up.
My wife and I used to make colourful items for children such as clocks
and bookends ( DVD ends) at craft fairs.
- We used to sell charcoal wholesale to local garages, butchers, grocers
and other traders. The charcoal was made in Kent by one of our relatives
and was the best I've ever seen. At that time most charcoal was imported,
looked like slate and took 45 minutes to ignite. When better charcoal became
available and supermarkets began to sell it, we got out.
I'm still looking for new challenges and have recently put a family video
up on YouTube and am using Skype.
So you see, I practice what I'm recommending to you.
on this topic