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Retirement doesn’t have to be a time for rest. It’s also a timeto try out some fantastic activities you were afraid to ventureinto because of work. Take advantage of newly found free time andget more socially involved with some of these fun activities.

Ski/hiking club: Make up for lost vacations by joining a clubthat specializes in going on skiing, hiking or other outdooractivities. Organizations are most often organized by region andmany offer paid membership for singles, couples and whole families.However, appropriately estimate your physical abilities on outingsand get the most out of interactions by taking a free hearing testand having your vision checked by a professional before you leaveon club-affiliated trips.

Volunteer work: Benefit others in need and use a skill from yourcareer like tax preparation or teaching by helping people learn howto do their own taxes or tutoring children after school. Or, branchout and find a non-profit that serves a totally unfamiliar purpose.You may just make new friends and discover a hidden philanthropicpassion.

Community theater: Pursue those acting (or behind-the-scenes)dreams on the small stage by participating in a local theaterproduction. Many theater companies encourage inexperiencedindividuals to take small roles in productions and even auditionfor larger ones. Find opportunities to get involved through theAmerican Association ofCommunity Theatre or by contacting a local playhouse nearyou.

Book club: Reading a good book can be stimulating and exciting,but it’s even better when you can share and discuss it with others.Join or start your own local book club with friends. Make sure thatyou get and give the most during discussions by jotting down pagenumbers and topics for discussion. Some publishers offer officialreading and book discussion guides for titles on their websites. Ifyou find yourself having difficulty participating fully, have yourhearing checked and look into digital hearingaids.

Photography: Venture out and capture what you see to share withfriends and family via e-mail, photo albums and scrapbooks.Landscapes make for beautiful photos, but a lot of times it’s thestories that people have to tell that make for the most compellingpictures. Playing photographer at the family reunion or setting outto compile a photo essay can help preserve memories and create newfriendships.

Get an animal: For many seniors, having a pet can decreasestress and lead to a longer, fuller life. Some people find comfortin being able to care for something, so consider getting a dog orcat to help you enjoy your golden years. The benefits that comefrom pet ownership are not just limited to extra physical activityand companionship.

Courtesy of ARAcontent