You’re sitting there, staring blankly ahead and thinking to yourself… Where do I go from here?
Your so-called retirement years can either be a true sense of the phrase “golden years” or, sadly, the stereotypical boring bust.
To steer you toward the more exciting (and healthy) path, I’ve laid out four simple ideas to help you be more adventurous after 60.
#1. Immerse yourself in a new culture
When you think of “adventure,” travel likely pops into your head, right? Well, traveling is a popular item on bucket lists for a reason – it allows you to deep-dive into an entirely new experience.
Which means, it’s time to get wild and crazy and tap into your sense of adventure as you plan your globetrotting. There are several options here.
If you’re an outdoorsy adventure-type, you can go all out like Art Huseonica, who, at age 68, conquered the 1,600-mile rugged (and snow-capped) Arizona Trail.
Volunteerism is a hugely important factor for living a healthy and active lifestyle. Giving back is one of the five key ingredients that make up a fulfilling retirement life, which I call the “5 Rings of Retirement.”
So, it’s worth marrying the two.
And if you’re determined to go the classic cruise route and hop on a ship that sails the seven seas, be sure to go beyond the standard tchotchke shops as you dock at each port, and embrace the local lifestyle.
The main takeaway here is to get creative and immerse yourself in a completely new environment. Which means dive into everything new (and non-touristy) as you travel – from the language and culture to the people and food.
If you do, not only will you learn profound things about entirely different lifestyles, but you’ll also gift yourself new experiences that come with amazing memories and relationships.
#2. Learn something new
If traveling isn’t your speed, lifelong learning is a must-do. Even if you can’t imagine yourself re-entering a classroom, you can still participate in continuing education by taking an online course.
These days, you can learn nearly anything from the convenience of your own home. And online education is only going to become more accessible. In fact, the e-learning industry is expected to grow beyond the $300 billion mark by 2025.
Whether it’s learning how to knit, speak a different language, play a sport, write a book, make digital photos, sing and dance, or play a musical instrument, all new topics that you take on and learn present their benefits.
Major ones, too.
For instance, playing a musical instrument is like a full-body brain workout with long-term positive effects.
Music stimulates more parts of your brain than any other human function, which is why music memory is the last part of your brain that Alzheimer’s touches.
Take knitting and digital photography, as other examples. According to a University of Texas study, they’re both considered high-challenge activities that enhance your memory.
So, if you’re into Alzheimer’s prevention, lifelong learning is the way to go.
The moral is: Learning a new skill is not only stimulating and challenging, but it’s also excellent for your cognitive health. Online education makes it super convenient, too, so no excuses.
#3. Start a side hustle (aka new business)
There’s no time like the present to create an online business. Plus, you have decades of wisdom to impart on the world.
Why not turn your years of knowledge and experience into a passion project that earns money?
You can start a small online business based on virtually any topic, skillset, or interest. Which means the online world is your oyster.
Once you have your chosen topic, package up your knowledge and consider deploying bits of it in these formats:
- Start a blog and monetize it
- Become a freelancer or consultant
- Educate and book speaking gigs
- Sell digital info products
The beauty in starting a side hustle is that it’s not designed to eat up full-time hours and you can base it on your expertise or a passion of yours.
Plus, if you do it online, you can run your business from your home. Doesn’t get better than that, right?
The important thing here is to work because you want to, not because you have to.
#4. Expand your social circle
Another adventurous path you can take is to expand your social network and meet new friends. And I don’t mean Facebook friends.
Take the effort to get out of your comfort zone and engage face-to-face in new meaningful relationships.
Which is something not a lot of people do. In fact, new research says 45% of people struggle to make new friends and the average American hasn’t made a new friend in five years.
While it may not be the easiest task – seeing as how we’re creatures of habit — meeting new friends is a worthwhile one. A number of studies indicate that being social keeps you mentally active as you age. It also lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline.
Bonus Tip: Figure out your core values and meet new folks who share the same values.
For example, if you value health and fitness, try joining a kayaking club, hiking group, or other Meetup group to meet new people.
Along the same vein, if you value creativity, get in touch with your artsy side and take a class where you’ll likely meet other creatives.
Put another way, be picky with the people you let into your circle of influence and disassociate from the people in your circle of concern.
Your adventure awaits
The key to all of these ideas is to get out of your comfort zone. The more you stretch yourself, the more adventurous your experiences will be.
Extra Bonus Tip: Look within yourself to truly find your sense of adventure.
As silly as it sounds, self-reflection – and I mean the patient kind where you very carefully consider your deepest desires – is super powerful.
Yes, it actually works. In fact, a study of UK commuters found that drivers who practice self-reflection are happier, more productive, and less burned out than people who don’t. What’s more, is people who self-reflect perform 23% better than those who don’t.
Which is why I put together the Ultimate Purpose Finder – so you can ask yourself the right self-reflecting questions that will shortcut your way to a truly adventurous lifestyle.
How will you be adventurous? What really makes you tick? Are you willing to travel out of your comfort zone to seek adventure?
The adventurous experiences and memories are yours for the making. I’m rooting for you.
(This post has also been published on Sixty and Me)