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For many of us, retirement conjures up images of older people living in retirement homes, sitting on their rocking chairs, or spending the whole day watching television.

While this may be the case for some people 65 and older, it is different for those that view retirement as a new chapter in their lives. For these folks, retirement is a time to pursue new goals and hobbies and acquire new skills.

If you’re at a loss about what to do to fill your days or if you need some ideas on how to stay busy during retirement, you may want to try the following options.

1. Freelancing or Part-Time Work

Freelancing is on the rise with about 53 million Americans currently taking on these types of positions. Working part-time or as a freelancer is certainly another way of staying busy while earning an income to fund your retirement.

Almost everyone has skills they can parlay into freelancing or consulting (if you are a specialist at something). You can continue to work flexible hours in retirement or take up seasonal jobs. Studies show that people who remain active in retirement tend to enjoy retirement more. Staying busy can help prevent depression and isolation.

2. Volunteering

Retirement can be a time to pursue your dreams and lend a hand to a cause you believe in. Maybe you have a favorite charity you would like to support or you wish to be more active in religious or local organizations.

Volunteering will keep you stimulated and help you stay connected to your community. Social interaction is very important for older adults and can help you stay healthy. There are thousands of volunteer opportunities out there, so there’s a good chance you will find something you like to do.

3. Traveling Locally or Internationally

Do you dream of traveling to distant lands, meeting new people, and eating exotic foods? You’re not alone. Lots of people would like to travel the world, but are constrained by lack of time or finances.

Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive. Even if you can’t travel internationally, you can become a tourist in your city or state. Many of us live in large cities with lots of things to do and places to see, but we never take the time to explore our neighborhood. Traveling is popular with retirees who may not have gotten the opportunity to visit many places during their working years.

4. Work as a Film or TV Extra

If you’re reliable, live in or near a big city, and would like to meet some celebrities, consider working as a film or TV extra. It’s a good way to stay busy and earn some money while having lots of fun. Being an extra will probably not make you rich and famous, but you get to interact with other people and go behind the scenes.

If you think this is something you will enjoy, do some research and find out what casting opportunities may be available in your city.

5. Take a Class

With so many free online courses today, it’s easy to take a class or learn about a topic you’re interested in. Learning a new language is another fun way to stay busy in retirement and there’s a ton of resources (free and paid) online that you can use to get started. Being bilingual is a very desirable skill to have and you’re never too old to start learning a new language.

Do you like making music? Consider learning how to play an instrument or sharpen any pre-existing skills. It’s easy to give up hobbies when life gets so busy and you’re stressed from work. Retirement is a perfect time to pursue old hobbies and interests and to pick up new ones.

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Image: Stewart Sutton

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