How will you spend your retirement years? These days, those on the cusp of retiring are not looking forward to resting in a rocking chair. In fact, they may try their hand at building a rocking chair, or opening an online custom furniture store.
This trend toward active retirement is already going strong among residents at Splendido, an all-inclusive community for those 55 and better in Tucson. There, people pursue new interests and lifelong hobbies through on-site programs including education opportunities and fitness classes, as well as personal pursuits.
Here are three examples of Splendido residents who are pursuing their passions:
Traveling the World
Elaine MacDonald, 77, has lived at Splendido for seven years, and jokes that she has become a seasoned traveler since moving there. “We had three kids, and I worked hard… but now I travel,” she says. She took a six-day rafting trip down the Colorado River with another Splendido resident, and took a very rainy camping and hiking trip in Chaco Canyon.
But her big trip was this March, when she visited the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. “It was a 10-day trip, with two days spent in Quito, Ecuador, where I had a chance to straddle the equator,” she reports. “I was the only solo traveler—and one of the oldest—in a tour group of 100 people.”
Elaine says the trip renewed her confidence. “I was a little scared at the aspect of traveling by myself—I had to manage the air travel to Ecuador by myself. Now I feel more confident about what I can do—including sticking my neck out that first morning in Quito to introduce myself to my fellow travelers.”
Flying the Skies
Like many boys, Art Fuerstenberg started building model airplanes when he was in elementary school. Unlike most, he is still building them at age 81—only now they are radio-controlled. “I have a shop in my garage here at Splendido—and it’s my whole garage,” he explains. “I’m currently building a model glider that will have an 8-foot wing span.”
Art has built around 15 gas- or electric-powered model airplanes, but these days he only flies three of them.
For 20 years, Art has been a member of a flying club that meets every week. Asked about the benefits he gains from his lifelong hobby—beside the enjoyment he gets—he points to the fellowship of belonging to the club. He adds, “There are so many new things coming out, that you’re always learning something new.”
Trying Something New
It was only after Alan Jaffe retired that he decided to try his hand at art—and stumbled on a wealth of hidden talent. Four years later, his work earned a prize at the 2011 Arizona State Fair.
“I never did anything like this before,” says Alan. “Once I retired, I had the time and I was looking for a new project where I could try something new and work towards a goal.” He chose an open studio class in pencil drawing. “They don’t teach you—they just guide you. I’m basically self-taught.”
Alan finds drawing relaxing because of the concentration required. “I really enjoy it—you can completely zone out for two and a half or three hours,” he says. “It’s the best thing that people my age can do.”
He adds, “Retirement gives you the time to explore different things you never had time for. It’s the perfect opportunity to find the activities you love”—even if you didn’t know you loved them before you tried them!