Now that the kids are out of the house and there are no more clocks to punch, it’s time to pick up those hobbies and interests you’ve been putting off for decades. But it’s been so long. Are your interests still, well, interesting?
This is the beauty of the retirement lifestyle. You don’t have to be particularly economical with your downtime, giving you the freedom to unearth long dormant passions or to simply venture to new ones.
If the thought of yoga has you yawning or knitting has you nodding off, then you should consider some activities that are popular with male retirees. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve accumulated a list of some popular (and some niche) hobbies that are perfect for men in retirement.
Thankfully, there are plenty of competitive sports that are low impact. Active adult communities provide several competitive outlets that are a bit more high stakes than Pilates but also don’t require a rib-breaking tackle on your neighbor.
Love tennis but not the strain it puts on your knees? Pickleball is a perfect alternative. This relatively new sport, which is essentially a low-impact form of tennis, is becoming so popular in 55+ communities that providing courts is nearly a requirement. For an even more leisurely competitive sport, learn to play golf or join a bowling league. Going for a hike through the mountains with friends or increasing body strength through calisthenics, although not competitive per se, are other fitness hobbies popular with retired men.
The road trip is so quintessentially American that it’s basically considered a rite of passage. But if you’ve never gathered some friends and the hit the road, retirement is the perfect time to do that. Explore the Rocky Mountain National Park, peer into the dizzying depths of the Grand Canyon, or just simply drive across the country – destination unknown.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, Western Europe is very road trip friendly and many of the major cities are so close together to be within a day’s drive of each other. If you’re not sure where to start, this traveler has mapped out a perfect trip from Paris to Berlin.
Pick up the Guitar
Have you always been a fan of music but never had the time to dedicate to it? The guitar is not only a ubiquitous instrument (you can play virtually any song written in the last 100 years with it) but its low barrier to entry makes it perfect for the instrument novice. After just a few hours honing your skills you’ll be able to play a handful of songs, giving you the ability to eventually play your favorite tunes. A great social activity for musicians is to start jam bands.
Not only is learning the guitar pretty simple, but some of the most popular songs of the 20th century were composed with just three chords, which you can learn here.
What better way to impress friends and neighbors by pointing at a table and proclaiming “I built that”? Since most of your friends can probably barely follow IKEA instructions, this is a guaranteed way to give guests pause and admire your work. Not only can you build furniture at your community clubhouse's woodworking shop, you can also try your hand at pyrography, restoring vintage products, or even creating a chess board.
Before you start clearing out half of your garage, watch this series on how to get started with woodworking.
If tending to the garden doesn’t seem particularly appealing, then consider this. Gardening is the most basic form of self-sufficiency that doubles as a form of low-key exercise. You know how woodworking allows you to say “I built that," gardening lets you say “I grew that.” It also forces a more meaningful relationship with your property, knowing that your ground is putting food on the table. Some scientists and historians believe that gardening and agriculture developed out of a desire to brew beer. Which leads us to…
Instead of packing your fridge with cases of cheap beer on game day, you could fill it with your own creation. To get started all you need is some basic equipment (for around $200), ingredients, a dark corner where the beer can ferment, and some patience. Homebrewing is not only one of the easiest hobbies to start, but also one of the most rewarding.
Restoring a Classic Car
Out of all the hobbies mentioned so far, this one is the priciest but also might be one of the most rewarding. After finding your dream car, there are several websites, books, and classes you can utilize to learn the ropes. Since classic cars are more mechanical in construction, restoring them is quite simple relative to fixing up newer models, although it does take a toll on your time, money, and patience. But after it’s all done, you could have the satisfaction of a restored Porsche 911 sitting in your driveway.