Why do some people get bored in retirement and others don’t?
Let me start by describing what many Americans do in their first year in retirement.
They travel (which includes, in most cases, the long-awaited “dream trip.”) They spend time with their grandchildren. They clean out the closets and the attic. They have a few lunches with former colleagues. And then the day comes when they look in the mirror and ask: What now?
So – the problem, if there is one, isn’t so much the initial plunge into retirement. Most people enjoy their newfound freedom. It is what happens after the first year that typically leads to problems — and boredom.
A fulfilling retirement, for the most part, has three ingredients: good health; a purpose, something that gives meaning to your days; and a good financial plan. Yes, “find your purpose” or “find your passion” might sound a bit trite. But it works.
So, how does one get this “passion?”
My suggestion: Forget the kids. It’s your turn to go to summer camp!
A growing number of travel groups are offering adults an opportunity to relive an experience that many regard as one of the best parts of childhood. Camps for adults have grown an estimated 10% a year over the past decade, to about 800 in all, says Internet Brands, owner of grownupcamps.com. A tally by the American Camp Association says a million adults went to camp last summer.
“It appeals to the inner child in all of us,” says Nancy Diamond, a marketing consultant to camps.
What defines an adult camp can be somewhat different from marshmallow roasts and sing-a-longs. Most let campers explore a hobby or live out a childhood fantasy. Accommodations range from rustic to luxurious.
“These programs remind us of summer camp,” says Ms. Diamond. “We participate in activities, develop new skills, and cultivate new friendships.”
What can I expect to do or learn?
How about analyzing a crime scene for possible clues, or jamming on stage in a rock ‘n’
roll band. What about digging for undiscovered treasurers of the past.
For many of us, summer camp evokes memories of long, carefree days of fishing, swimming, crafts and campfires — not to mention all the new friends we’d meet. But who says we have to let go of those experiences as we age?
Here are some other ideas to get you thinking:
Master a new craft:
If arts and crafts was your favorite part of the camp experience, why not make them the focus of your vacation? Road Scholar has a full complement of hands-on programs focusing on a particular skill or art form. Most programs are seven days and six nights and all meals and accommodations are provided. Go to Road scholar for a variety of bucket list check-offs.
The Welded Projects and Sculpture for the Home and Garden program in Williamsburg, Massachusetts teaches you how to make practical and decorative items that will stand up to the weather. After a full day of expert-led courses and studio time, enjoy evening activities like movies and artist talks.
Programs start at $749, and include most materials and gratuities. Other options include fiber arts, glass bead making, drawing, painting and woodworking (to name a few!) For a full list of programs, visit roadscholar.org.
Train to be an astronaut:
Who didn’t want to be an astronaut when they were young? You don’t have to cash out your retirement savings for a $200,000 ticket on Virgin Galactic to make that dream a reality — there’s a Space Camp for adults too. For a more modest $549, you can spend three days and two nights at the Adult Space Academy at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
During your stay, you’ll get to train on Astronaut Simulators — including a 1/6th Gravity Chair and Multi-Axis Trainer — plus build and launch your own model rocket. Of course, learning more about space is also part of the fun. (You are in one of the world’s largest space museums, after all.) Tuition includes all meals and onsite accommodations — you just need to worry about getting there.
Dig for dinosaur bones:
What if dinosaurs were more your style when you were a kid? You won’t just be pretending to be a paleontologist in Road Scholar’s Digging for Dinosaurs: The Jurassic Experience program. You’ll earn a Basic Field Techniques Certification as you excavate bones and identify specimens in Wyoming’s Wind River Canyon. You’ll learn the techniques and tools of the trade from experts and conduct fieldwork in dinosaur quarries. (Your dinosaur education also includes tours of dig sites and the Wyoming Dinosaur Center.)
Expect to pay $749 for this six-day, five-night adventure. You won’t have to rough it in a tent — the fee includes hotel accommodations and restaurants.
And this is just an extremely short list of ideas to help you find your purpose in retirement. I personally would look at Road Scholar suggestions to start your journey. That should lead you to the internet to look for specifics. With this in mind…you will never be bored!
So, have you been bored in retirement? Join the dialogue…let us know your solutions or experiences.
As always, I am…the Boomer Explorer.