Now that I am retired, I, like everyone, need to keep busy.  There is nothing wrong with lounging around for a day or two and , in fact, that’s one of the great perks of retirement.  However, you can’t really do that day in and day out forever, especially when you are as young as I am.  You need to plan things to do.  Your mind and body must be challenged to stay healthy.  If not, you will likely become depressed and maybe even begin to think retirement isn’t for you.  God forbid!!

Staying busy doesn’t mean you have to go 100 miles an hour all the time.  That’s another benefit of retirement.  You can be busy, but on your schedule.  If you’re particularly energized one day, you can go nuts.  If your tired or sick, you can lounge.  The rest of the days, you can just do things a leisurely pace.  It’s that freedom that makes being retired such a great thing (and why you should begin planning for it now!)

So how do I plan to stay busy?  Well, while reading Ernie Zelinksy’s book How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free, I came across his mind mapping exercise.  I had already started a short list of things to do, so I adapted his technique to my outline style list and just went crazy expanding it.   I have headings for daily routine, work (not necessarily employment), leisure, travel and miscellaneous.  I even have a section for things I never want to do again, like wear a tie!

A really cool example of a mind map I found at

To give you some ideas to start your own mind map, to do list, or whatever, here’s a little taste of mine.  Remember, its your map/list so don’t worry how it looks or what format you use.  Do whatever is easiest for you.  Mine continues to grow as I remember things or think of new ones.  Here is my Miscellaneous section:


This is kind of an idea register. Things I want to do, try or learn. Some may become hobbies or businesses, others are just for self improvement. They are here because I can begin researching or learning now without a full commitment right away.

  • Build guitars. If nothing else just for me or to sell casually. Even if I only build one or two it would be fun.
  • Wilderness survival. I want to take a class in survival skills. Probably a 3 day kind of thing. More practical skills than making arrowheads and tanning hides.
  • Graphic arts course. If I could find a course that teaches the basics, I would take it.
  • Photography. Again, a short course that gets into the basics would be cool.
  • Guide school. I still haven’t given up on the idea of being a fishing guide. Guide school would be fun and if nothing else a good personal growth thing.
  • Stand up paddling (SUP). I want to learn to do this and buy a board. This will hopefully lead into the next bullet.
  • Surfing. I want to learn to surf. I likely need to lose a little weight, but once that is done I will look into lessons.
  • Fishing Video. Shoot some Survivorman style fishing videos for the blog just for fun.
  • Tennis. An easy, cheap way to get outside and get a little exercise. Only need a ball and rackets.
  • Motorcycles. I may not be able to get Jen on one, but I would love to get a nice cruiser and start riding. We should take a course and see where that goes.
  • Build a potato gun. Self explanatory. Just for fun.

That ought to get you going.  Having stuff to do that you enjoy, find fulfilling and satisfying and is in line with your personal values is important to a happy retirement.  Some folks might want to climb mountains, others read the classics and still others write a book.  Its really up to you.  Your ideas don’t need to be stressful or require tons of money, they just needs to get your motor revving, so to speak.  Start yours today, and if you aren’t planning the financial side yet, start one for that too.

Thanks for reading!