Retire Like a Shark – 8 Ways to Keep Swimming

Today sort of tied my brain in a knot.  As part of my Encore Voyage, I’ve been doing some contract work as an administrative assistant.  In my What Am I Now post, I talked about finding new ways to use your skills.  Well mine, it turns out, have allowed me to start my own small business doing all sorts of writing, editing, production and organizational types of tasks.  Seems there are some folks out there who really value my teacher’s wicked red pen and my ability to juggle lots of items at once – who knew???


One of my friends is working as a project manager on a grant to assist and encourage high school students to go on to a postsecondary education (now there’s a leap from teaching kindergarteners, huh?)  We met today to discuss a whole bunch of projects that needed to be done.  As I sat there with him taking pages and pages of notes, it occurred to me how exciting it is to be thinking about all of these new things and working in an entirely different realm.  And there was so much to think about that it was just a little overwhelming, but so much fun!  We were finishing up, talking about “retirement” and all of the new things we are exploring, when he made the following observation:

You must be like a shark – 
If you stop swimming, you’ll die!


Wow!  He is exactly right!  The Encore Voyage is about continuing to swim, changing course and moving forward in such a way that your life makes a splash!  Here are 8 strategies to keep in mind when navigating the retirement ocean:

1. Be curious – Take time to pay attention to your mental wanderings, and notice those things that pique your curiosity!  There’s no time like the present to dig deeper and explore things that fascinate you!

2. Read, read, read – As the saying goes, “So many books, so little time…”  Well now you have time to read not only books, but newspapers, blogs, poetry, articles.  Several of my elderly relatives read daily newspapers from cover to cover and stayed mentally sharp well into their nineties!  A coincidence?  I think not…

3. Maintain contact with friends and colleagues – During my teaching years, I would see other adults on a daily basis, and formed lasting friendships.  What I’ve learned is that it takes a deliberate effort to keep those relationships fresh.  Now you must seek out opportunities to stay connected. 

4. Get Unplugged – Especially from the TV, but also from other screened electronics. It would be easy to sit at home playing Candy Crush for hours, or staring at the TV, but really?….Examine your habits – just sayin’!

5. Learn new things – Listen to your heart when you hear yourself saying, “I’ve always wanted to…”  Well now’s the time!  First I learned how to knit, then I learned InDesign, and next I believe I’ll take a crack at Photoshop.  Oh yeah, and I’m going to take up the saxophone!!  So what’s that thing that you’ve always wanted to try – There’s no time like the present!

6. Volunteer – There is nothing that makes you feel more alive than to give of yourself to someone else.  What are your skills and talents?  How can you give them to others?  Or just look around you and pay attention to the needs that you can fill.  Need I say more?

7. Travel – And no, it doesn’t need to be a big expensive trip.  Jeremy and I are trying to find roads in our state that we’ve never traveled on!  We pack a sandwich and take off to go ‘splorin’ – you should try it!

8. Seek out new experiences – The hubs and I have created what we call Our List.  If either of us starts a sentence with “I wanna….”(and it is an activity, not ‘stuff’) then we write it on Our List.  The rules are simple.  It doesn’t matter how big or small the activity – from going to a nearby winery (his wish), to going on a zipline, somewhere where there are monkeys (mine).  We have created a long list of things we’d like to experience and will spend the rest of our lives trying to cross things off the list!

So I’m curious.  Are there other strategies you’ve used to keep swimming after retirement?  I’d love to hear from other sharks!



2 thoughts on “Retire Like a Shark – 8 Ways to Keep Swimming

  1. patwdoyle11

    Lynn – Not sure I would call myself a shark, but I love your 8 items. I have my Possibilities list – over 150 items on it. Someone else calls it his “never be bored list”. I did a bunch of brainstorming activities after I retired to help create the list. It’s not an “our” – hubby is not into anything that has to do with list making – but it does include anything he mentions about “that would be cool’ or “I’d like to try”. I’ve picked a few things on it to start – items that I have higher passion for and fit my vision.
    I also just keep my eyes open for possibilities…. 2 in the past 2 weeks are 1) taking a pottery making class with a potter who’s pottery Ive purchased. You know – pottery wheel ala Ghost. I made 2 not perfectly round bowls yesterday! Other possibility (#2) to write (pro-bono) for a technical blog site.
    One idea I got from the book The Artist Way (Julia Cameron) is to do a weekly “artist” date – a date with your inner artist. I’ve taken mine to a spirituality conference, a yoga class and a sewing store.
    For connectivity (one of my challenges as well), I started a “mid-week foodies club”. It was a friend ask a friend ask a friend until we got to 8 people. We meet monthly, mid week, to try out new restaurants in town. I also linked with a couple of “old friends” and do weekly walks – various parks around town. These links were serendipitous – it is about keeping your eyes open for possibilities.
    I haven’t linked into this one yet, but our local college has a Life Long Learning community (OLLI) that offers all kinds of classes and seminars. A friend of mine does it regularly. I have too much stuff going on to tap into that yet!
    And I’ve created a seasonal bucket list – Fall had things like fall leaf looking hike and corn maze. Winter I’ve got make stew (!) and see a hockey game (among other things)
    So much stuff to do!


    1. Encore Voyage Post author

      I Love, Love, Love your “Possibilities List!” Cuz that’s exactly what it is! I think it would be awesome to take a pottery class, I also practice yoga, and am a quilter! And on Our List is “eat in all the not-yucky restaurants in our town!” So much to do, so little time!

      Liked by 1 person


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