1. Develop a Relaxing Schedule.
If you’ve reached the magic age of 66 and you’re able to retire, now is the time to relax and rejuvenate. Most of us have been taught a strong work ethic which has served us well. But the vitality of 8-5 with only a two-week vacation belongs to the past season.
Nap when you feel like it. Stop setting your alarm. Sleep in on Monday mornings, which used to be the most stressful day of the week. Spend time watching the sun set or the sun rise if your circadian rhythm is set for early morning.
2. Declutter Your Life.
Many of my friends are downsizing and moving to senior living apartments. Garage sales flourish as soon as spring arrives. A more simplistic life declutters the soul.
Although it’s important to keep some of the things that give us joy, much of our stuff can be given away — to share joy with someone else. Heirloom jewelry and antiques belong with the next generation. How many books do we really need and how many of them will you re-read?
As a writer, I have discovered how each week brings more clutter. One of my Saturday evening chores is to clean off my desk, throw away what I can and prep for a clean slate after the Sabbath.
3. Make Wise Financial Decisions.
No longer receiving a regular paycheck can trigger fear. But if we’ve planned well and simplified expenses, we can do it. Most of us can live on the income we have — no matter what that amount — as long as we don’t give in to useless cravings.
Even though it’s important to live within our means, it’s also enjoyable to take that special vacation you’ve always longed for. A trip to Europe? Sure, why not. A cruise to Alaska? Many seniors enjoy the wildlife and raw beauty of our 49th state.
Last year, I spent a week in Santa Fe, NM. Because I attended a writer’s conference, my expenses were deductible. It was several days of strolling through the history, art, and creativity of the region while adding to the resume of my craft.
The money I spent was worth every penny.
4. Dress As You Want.
More of us mature women are going gray yet keeping our eclectic outfits.
We love our varied colors and the textures that bring comfort. One of the joys of being single is that we don’t have to dress to impress anyone else. Many of us are growing our hair long. We no longer cater to the notion that older women look younger with short hair. And what if we do look older? We’ve earned every wrinkle.
Cowboy boots and a long skirt? Why not? Chunky costume jewelry? One of my favorites. No makeup? Who’s to judge?
These days, I rarely shop for new outfits, choosing to wear out what’s already in my closet. But if I decide to visit the mall, my one rule is “Comfort First.” No more stilettos for me.
5. Volunteer Somewhere Fun.
Even if you’re still working part- time, you can add your expertise to a volunteer assignment. My mother devoted much of her retirement years to volunteering at a soup kitchen for the homeless. She loved meeting the people and even enjoyed the cleanup of washing dishes.
A friend of mine cuddles babies in the NIC unit of a local hospital. Animal lovers might enjoy walking dogs or signing up to foster kittens whose mother has died. Another friend bakes pies for a Christian coffee shop. The library utilizes numerous volunteers. Or how about helping with Bingo at the assisted living facility? Schools needs mentors and reading partners for students who struggle.
Nonprofits and churches depend on volunteers. Last Christmas, I joined the decorators at my church to help prep the trees, hang wreaths and loop greenery around the foyer. For a couple of hours of my time, I added joy to others. Every Sunday during December when I entered the building and saw the decorations, my own joy was multiplied.