When you were younger, you probably had a hobby you enjoyed. Yet aging may have caused you to lose touch with those hobbies that brought you such joy. After all, life gets busy, responsibilities increase and schedules become packed with things you need to take care of – and hobbies take a backseat. But, if you are retired and ready to reconnect with your hobbies, then here’s how you can do it:

Getting Back into a Hobby

Returning to a long-abandoned hobby can be a challenge. Lack of practice may have diminished your skills, and age may have affected your ability to pursue your hobbies of choice.

Have patience. You didn’t become proficient in your former hobby in a day. And if you cannot achieve the same level of physical performance as you did when you were younger, it’s OK. Hobbies are about enjoying yourself and being the best that you can be whatever your age.

Be wary when starting up an old hobby. If you don’t reach your goal as quickly as you want, you may become frustrated, and quit. But don’t. Look for small improvements along the way. Pursuing an interest incrementally is more motivating than setting hard and fast goals. This means maintaining reasonable expectations. You should expect that you will be rusty after a long period away from a hobby, but don’t worry, you will begin to get back into it.

Don’t compare yourself to others. If your hobby is painting, for example, don’t become intimidated or discouraged when you see someone whose mastery of painting is better than your own. A hobby is about self-development; working at improving and enjoying what you are able to accomplish. And persistence is the key to improving your abilities. Again, look for incremental gains, and take satisfaction with your efforts each day.

Do it regularly. Real satisfaction comes from its consistent pursuit. Set aside a time each day to practice your hobby. For example, if your hobby is photography, take at least 10 photos a day.

Find someone with like interests. Engaging with someone who enjoys the same activity as you will encourage you to continue. If your hobby was gardening, for example, find someone to garden with. Maybe you can join a club of like-minded enthusiasts. Hobbies can help you create long-lasting bonds with other people sharing the same passion.

Remember why you loved your hobby. As you take up an old hobby, the reasons you enjoyed it will come back to you. Use this as a motivation to continue.

Feel free to pick a new hobby. Interests change. Perhaps your old hobby is not as fulfilling as it used to be. Maybe something new has caught your attention. Immerse yourself in it.

Finding a Hobby that Fits You 

Gardening. This is a great hobby. You not only get some exercise, but you can watch your plants and flowers grow and bloom. Gardening can be physically demanding, but there are ways to make it less so:

  • A riding lawn mower can be used to tow garden carts.
  • Give yourself extra space in your garden to maneuver if you are in a wheelchair or use a walker.
  • Wheelchairs can be adapted with attachment for garden tools and supplies.
  • Garden seat kneelers eliminate squatting or kneeling while tending your garden.
  • Rolling garden benches increase your mobility and also have places to store tools and plants.
  • Garden in raised beds to reduce or eliminate having to work at ground level.
  • Try plants that do well in small containers that don’t require heavy lifting.

Cooking. If you love cooking, but find it painful to open jars, peel vegetables, or grasp and use cooking utensils, there are devices you can use to make this easier.

They include:

  • Automatic can openers
  • Rubber-grip bottle openers
  • Peelers with soft, comfortable cushioned handles
  • Lightweight kettles
  • Kettle tippers to help make pouring easier
  • Utensil holders
  • Easy-grip kitchen knives

Resuming a sport. Do you still have a competitive spirit to participate in sports? Tips for Families lists the 16 best sports for seniors. The list includes:

Swimming. This is a terrific full-body exercise that you can practice at your own pace.

Badminton. Can be played indoors or outdoors.

Basketball. There are basketball leagues with participants in their 90s.

Golf. Another sport that provides great exercise. Play as many holes as you like, and bring a friend.

Pickleball. This is one of the most popular sports among seniors. The game uses paddles, a hard plastic ball, and a net, and is very similar to tennis.

Please consult with your physician before resuming athletic activities. 

Find more articles about living life in retirement to the fullest on Bethesda’s Senior Living blog.