Curiosity is a wonderful thing. It is what allows us to learn, grow and thrive. Whilst often assumed to belong to the domain of children, curiosity is a valuable characteristic to possess at all stages of life. Particularly as we step into retirement. Put simply, curiosity makes life more fun. It’s great for the brain in that learning new things ensures that our neurons stay healthy. This, in turn, helps to prevent or delay the onset of insidious diseases such as dementia.
Additionally, curiosity is also a positive antidote to anxiety. You may feel fearful about moving to a new town, downsizing your family home, or meeting new people. But when the excitement and anticipation that curiosity inspires outweighs our fear (e.g. the possibilities that life in a small town will afford), anxiety is quelled.
Not only that, but curiosity is fantastic for ensuring retirees develop and maintain strong social connections. People who are interested in others tend to be perceived as interesting themselves. As social beings, we tend to be drawn to people who are interesting and have a sense of energy about them.
“Curiosity is one of the great secrets of happiness”
– Bryant McGill
How can you inject more curiosity into your days?
1. Ask questions and be curious about other people.
It never ceases to amaze me how intriguing peoples’ lives are, and that until you ask questions they remain hidden treasures. Over the years I’ve been privileged to learn:
- the (assumed) stay-at-home mum in fact launched her own successful small business
- the reclusive neighbour escaped a war-ravaged country leaving his beloved mother behind, and
- the ex-librarian has run a marathon on every continent.
These are just a snapshot amongst countless other fascinating life stories.
Be brave and ask questions of others – you never know what you may find you have in common, how they may (unexpectedly) inspire you, and how they may become an integral part of your life!
2. Give it a go!
Rather than assuming that you won’t like a new hobby or club, go along and test it out. Too often I hear retirees grumbling about the ‘silly yogalate-fandangled classes’ or ‘darn cyclists – taking up all of the road’, only to find they haven't even tried it themselves!
You don’t need to sign up for life, and my recommendation is to say ‘yes' to everything once! That particular activity may not be the one for you but at least you will know from first-hand experience! Furthermore, if you’re like me and join a gym class only to find that you are way out of your league (how do you make your body do that?!), the one thing it does provide is an entertaining story to share!
3. Learning something new
What is that one thing that you muse over and think ‘I’d love to learn that, if only I had time…’. Why not make the time? Join a book club, learn a new language, or learn how to compost. There are fantastic groups and beginner classes both in your community and online. Better yet, keep it really simple. Cook that new recipe, google ‘deepest lakes of the world’, or read a new book.
If you are curious and open to new experiences, you are bound to create the retirement that you will love to live! Who wouldn't want that!
Megan Giles Retirement Transition Consultant supports those approaching retirement to successfully transition and create a retirement they will love to live! For more tips, advice and practical resources visit www.megangiles.com.
To truly rock your life after work, be inspired by the Rock Your Retirement podcast.