What will get you out of Bed when you Retire?

When I retired I really looked forward to being able lie in bed every morning, reading a book or newspaper  with a cup of coffee.  That took just  a few weeks to lose its appeal. Then I lay there looking for a reason why I should get out of bed.  It was only when I decided to embark on a project of painting part of my house that I found it easy to jump out of bed each morning!  I now had a purpose, and a reason to start the day.

When we are working full time, most of us don’t even think about it, we lie till the last minute, fly out of bed and out the door because our purpose is outlined in our job description.   But when you retire that motivation has to come from within.

Maya Angelou the famous poet and author, said on her 70th birthday, “I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life”.   Now is the time to dust off your ‘bucket list’ and make a list of the ‘100 things I want to do before I die’.  It is about prioritizing what is important to you.  You cannot take assets, and belongings with you when you die, so it is time to create memories that you can cherish as you grow older.

It is important to live without regret – so spend time doing the things you want to do, rather than getting caught up in the things you feel you have to do.  You can simply start with making a list of what you enjoy doing, followed by a bucket list of what you want to do!

In the British Journal of Occupational Therapy (August 1988, 61/8), Ann Wilcock states that, Occupation is a natural human phenomenon, which is taken for granted because it forms the fabric of our everyday lives.  It is a primary organizer of time and resources, enabling humans to survive, control and adapt to their world.

So when we reduce or simply cut out the structure provided by work (occupation in its literal sense) we need to find something to fill that space or keeping to the idiom, ”re-place the fabric”.  In essence, finding the reason for getting out of bed in the mornings.  For so many of us life outside of work has consisted for years of relaxing, unwinding and preparing ourselves for the Monday treadmill.  Many of us have forgotten how to find things to do that stimulate us and keep us interested and absorbed outside of work.

So what will get you out of bed in the morning?:

  • Hobbies

Do you have hobbies that can expanded or developed?  For example    taking Art Classes, joining a                                    group of  Quilters,  woodwork projects for your grandchildren, making miniature furniture,  playing bridge or golf.  I could carry on forever .  Some of the newer retirement  villages are creating spaces for their      residents to pursue their hobbies in a social setting.


  • Senior-preneurship or an Encore career

Do you want to start a new business?  Senior Entrepeneurship brings with it a new set of challenges, but it can also become a wonderful adventure.  Reaching out through the world of social media, meeting new people through networking and igniting your passion can be exciting.   I studied to become a Life Coach at 60.  It has been a steep learning curve and not without its difficulties, but it is exciting and so rewarding.

Sage advice from Richard Branson on how you should use your age to your advantage: 

“Many people do not find their true calling until later in life. Some business leaders who have done well at a steady job for many years feel the urge later in their careers to start up their own businesses. Those who lose their jobs in cutbacks turn misfortune into opportunity and follow up on a brilliant idea that they never had time for before. If you find yourself in this situation, my advice is to go for it! You’ll find that a lot of the skills entrepreneurs need are acquired through experience: real-life, on-the-job expertise.  Older employees who have learned how to inspire and lead people, and how to remain persistent and optimistic despite changes in circumstances, will have an edge. Senior entrepreneurs can bring the best of both worlds to new ventures – experience and the contagious enthusiasm of a youthful mindset. Remain flexible and look around yourself for inspiration, and you may soon find that you’re on to a winning idea”

  • Volunteering

If you are lucky enough to be amongst the 6% of South Africans who retire with sufficient funds to maintain their lifestyle, there is the whole arena of volunteering.  You can do this in your home town, or alternatively you can incorporate it into a desire to travel and explore the world.  I heard a wonderful story of a woman in her seventies who volunteered to work on the Mercy Ship, (a ship that docks in 3rd world countries with a full hospital on board).  She was given the job of welcoming and showing newcomers round the ship as she didn’t have medical skills to offer!

  • Mentoring

Mentoring is another possible route. Most of us have 40 or more years of work experience that we can hand on to the younger generations.  There are many non-profits offering mentoring to young entrepeneurs, but some people feel  strongly this will be appreciated far more if some financial contribution is made by the mentee.  Therefore I have not included it under volunteering.

  • Reinventing yourself

By making a list of the work skills that you already have,  edit out the ones that you particularly enjoy doing, and then see how you can bundle them into a package to offer into the work space.  For example Ann is an Office Administrator.  Her skills are focused around organizing people, things and events.  In Retirement she has  offered her services as a Wedding Planner to her church community.  This enables her to pick and choose her work, work flexi-time/work cycles around visiting her grandchildren abroad and earn  money to supplement her pension.


It is not easy starting out again, but it is so gratifying, especially if you can find something that you really love doing.  When I left my job at 60 I certainly wasn’t ready to sit at home.  Financially I could possibly have scraped by if I limited my lifestyle to the bare bones and removed all the luxuries I really enjoy!  In order to  complete my bucket list which includes travel, I need to work to supplement my pension!  Take heed, we baby boomers are not yet ready to be put out to pasture!

Let’s face it – most over-60s have the right work ethic, the staying power, the skills, knowledge and experience to make something work.   As Branson says – Go for it!!!