Think of Dear Ellie as your very own kitchen table, where you can discuss the things that are on your mind. Now that the boomers are turning 60 and those in the Greatest Generation are in their 70s, 80s, and 90s—we are all blazing new trails in the third third of life. So, have a cup of coffee and let’s talk about life: the past, the present, and the future. [Editor's note: Dr. Greenberg no longer contributes to Silver Planet, but we have made her archived blog entries available as a service to our readers.]
I have recently retired from a university where I have been on the faculty for more than 20 years. I was always involved with my students and faculty committees and never had time to develop any outside hobbies. My wife still works. I am home alone and really bored. What shall I do? John B.
I have been on a number of university faculties and know how students, campus life, and committees can eat up all your time. The university has a life of its own and tends to create one’s social circle.
Now that you are retired, you must look around your community and see if you can find some individuals and groups that may interest you. First, you will have to cultivate new friendships and involvements, unless you want to just spend time with your old friends and your wife. I suggest that you invite some potential friends to lunch, one at a time, and cultivate some new friendships. Women do that more often than men, so you may have to develop a new habit.
Second, look around your house and make a list of things that need to be done: repairs, gardening, renovation, interior decorating. Think about which task you’d like to take on. Discuss this with your wife. Then, put yourself in charge of a home-based project and make a list of what you need to do to complete the project.
That’s the social and home areas. Third, think about where your professional talents can be used. This is very important. You may have to volunteer your time to do what you have been paid to do at the university. This project may take some time. Are there young people to whom you could be a mentor? Are there community organizations that could use your talents? Are there churches and synagogues that would be interested in your services? Can your city use your talents?? Your state? A federal agency?
These 3 steps will take some time to execute. Keep a journal of what your have done and what the outcomes were. Take stock weekly and monthly.
If you do any or all of these things, let me know. Please write again and keep us posted. Others will be interested. Keep in touch. Good luck! Ellie
By Elinor Miller Greenberg, EdD