Prior to my retirement, I dreamed about all the things I could do with my freed-up time. In addition to travel, creative pursuits, and enjoying friends and family, I was looking forward to vast amounts of time that I could fill up with anything I wanted. Reading, writing, gardening… whatever.
After being retired for a while, I started to explore the many emeritus programs and lifelong learning opportunities offered in our city. I always enjoyed school and learning new things, so this seemed like a great way to keep my mind engaged without the stress of grades.
The Oasis organization offers interesting lectures on a range of subjects and a variety of courses and workshops, all for a very reasonable price.
Our local Community College district has an Emeritus program that offers courses on an array of subjects as diverse as art, effective communication, writing, law, and music.
We also have robust Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) programs at two local universities. Joining Osher is more expensive than the other programs, but the quality of the offerings is top-notch. Not only are most of the lectures presented by college professors, but membership also includes the ability to audit many of the regular university courses.
In addition, smaller organizations, clubs, and businesses offer art classes, craft lessons, photography workshops, writing groups, and other learning opportunities for just about any interest.
Pre-Covid most of these classes and lectures were held in-person but the pandemic moved them online. Now, some remain 100% virtual, some are 100% in-person, and others offer hybrid, in-person and virtual attendance.
Not only are there a tremendous number of quality offerings, but the ability to attend many of the courses and lectures from the comfort of home makes it so convenient.
So, what’s the problem? I have found that it is too easy to overschedule myself.
I’m the type of retiree that gets twitchy when I have too many commitments on my calendar in one week (too many being more than one or two). I prefer to space out doctor appointments, get-togethers with friends, and anything else that requires me to be at a specific place at a specific time. I like my calendar to have lots of blank days. Now, with so many interesting classes and lectures, I’m suddenly scheduled just about every day, Monday – Friday. Granted, most of the classes only last 2 – 3 hours but they are usually in the middle of the day, making it difficult to do anything else, like going for leisurely walks or enjoying relaxed lunches with my husband. I have found that I am starting to look forward to weekends again.
On one hand, I want to sign up for everything that sounds the least bit interesting (which is a lot). On the other, I want more unscheduled time to do other things, or do nothing. I’m not sure what the right balance is, but I’m trying to find it.
Although I was never worried that I wouldn’t have enough to do in retirement, I know it’s a concern to some. My advice: don’t stress. After being retired for a little over eight years, boredom is the least of my worries.
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