Filling leisure time in retirement.This is not the first time I have written concerning the aged. I have been very fortunate, I have a number of interests, I still have most of my health, and I still have Sophie. So many of my friends are no longer here, or in homes, and so I have seen what can happen to those of us whose resources have been seriously reduced. In consequence I want to stress to those in their 50s and 60s, that before they retire they should expand their interests, if they haven’t already got a number. I have seen the effect on people who were so wrapped up in their work, so dependent upon those people they worked with for company, and I mean in a general sense not necessarily within a company, that when they retired they were lost, no idea what to do, with all that free time twelve hours a day, seven days a week.
Some of us, myself included are not totally gregarious, we like the company of others, but we like time to ourselves and so it is necessary for the individual to take this into account, to decide whether he is a good club man, is a joiner, prefers his own company more than being in a group. This type of man will need to find interests that are fully individual, or those that don’t require constant association. Sports clubs are great, or should be, providing one doesn’t become too involved. Some charities, like taped newspapers for Blind people, are both interesting, and useful, and bring one in touch with other like-minded people. Individuals must make their own choices, within their own opportunities, and it is a chance to test maybe unsuspected interests and talent. Some outdoor pursuits are essential, even if is only walking; one’s health, and by the same token mental stimulation are needed to keep the brain alive and inquisitive
Thinking about this, I researched the trends over the period between 1991 and 2002 of lending by public libraries which included audio and visual. The borrowing of audio and visual, was the only category to increase, and that by 100%. The trends all followed a similar pattern for children’s books, adult non-fiction and adult fiction, by the fact that the first five-year period was diminished by a lot less than the second period, and adult fiction had dropped, overall, by 41%. I under took this research because I have found that among my friends and relatives, while a lot of them surf the Net, and watch documentaries on television, a lot fewer of them read as much as I and Sophie do, and most used to do 40 years ago. Clearly the electronic age is partly to blame, plus the fact that a lot of families have two wage earners, so life moves faster and there is less urge for relaxing pursuits like reading and board-games as there was years ago. The corollary of this of course, is that retirees might have fewer interests outside the computer and television, with which to occupy their time. Whether this matters or not, may not be discovered until too late. Perhaps those soon retiring, while they are still employed, might wish to make a concerted effort to at least try interesting pastimes that they might take up once they do retire.. Evening classes, short day or weekend courses, and other forms of adult education were a great source of interest years ago for adults wanting to broaden their horizons and to meet people.