Now that you’ve retired, you have more free time than ever.  What can you do that’s interesting and fun?  Take up a hobby, of course!  Some people have been enthusiastic hobbyists all their lives, and know exactly what they want to do.  For others, work, family and everyday life have never left much time for hobbies or activities.  If you fall into this category, it’s a great time to explore interests and find something enjoyable that really holds your attention. Spend some time thinking about what interests you that could be turned into a hobby.  A good place to start might be with the television.  What programs do you like to watch?  When you’re clicking through the channels, what grabs your attention?  History? Gardening? Painting?

Realize that when you first try something, it usually takes a while to become good at it.  Don’t get discouraged!  Taking a class might be a good way to start.  Many universities have continuing education departments, and offer courses and workshops on painting, photography, writing, cooking, just about anything.  You can also check with craft and specialty shops.  Many offer workshops on quilting, cake-decorating, model-making, wooden crafts, etc.  They’re usually inexpensive and can be a great way to find out how to get started, what tools and equipment are needed, and if it’s something you actually enjoy!

If you enjoy research and reading, genealogy might be for you.  How far back can you trace your ancestors?  What interesting stories can you discover?  The whole family will be interested, and compiling the records of your ancestors is something that will really be appreciated.  Another aspect of genealogy might be documenting the history you know of your family.  Stories and memories of your grandparents, your childhood, will disappear if you don’t share them. Times have changed, and it’s important for those small details of daily life to be remembered.  You can use a small digital voice recorder, and have it transcribed.  There’s even speech-to-text software that will type out your words as you speak them!

There are lots of fun crafts that can even make you a little extra money.  Wooden birdhouses, Christmas ornaments, handmade cards and wreaths, leather items, even doll clothes generate a lot of interest at craft fairs, and can be a fun way to share your talents with others while helping to cover some of the costs.  Everyone appreciates a handmade item, and at this time of year, people are thinking about unique gifts and decorations.  Senior centers and schools usually have craft fairs that are well-attended, and getting a table is inexpensive.  Baked goods and specialty foods like tamales also do well at craft fairs.

Do you have a talent or skill that others might want to learn?  Check with your local senior center and craft stores.  You may be able to offer a workshop or start a club.  Interest in knitting, crocheting, embroidery, and needlepoint is starting to grow, and more and more young people want to learn how to make useful and decorative items.  Woodworking and furniture restoration, tying fishing lures, even general auto maintenance workshops are always popular too.  It’s a great way to meet people with similar interests and keep your skills sharp.

Finding a hobby is about more than just passing the time.  It’s about having an interest in something, staying connected with the world, and bringing you pleasure.  It can be something you do with your spouse, kids, or grandkids, or by yourself.  It’s totally personal, and everyone should take the opportunity to discover what they really like to do.

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