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How do you fill your time?

(205 Posts)
Sadiesnan Sun 10-Jan-16 18:25:41

I've had a very busy life, what with work and raising children. Now I'm retired I'm finding filling my time difficult. I've never been a craft/hobby sort of person and I'm not into groups where you go and chat. I like talking and discussing things but it has to be something meaningful. I'm not good at small talk. Has anyone got any ideas to help me find something to fill my time. I get down this time of year and I need something to lift my spirits.

numberplease Sun 10-Jan-16 18:30:44

Apart from spending about 4 hours a day on the computer, I like nothing better than a good read, with a bit of TV here and there. Boring to some, maybe, but suits me!

M0nica Sun 10-Jan-16 18:43:34

Have you considered working for a charity as a volunteer? The range of opportunities goes way beyond standing behind the counter in a charity shop, enjoyable but not everyone's cup of tea. In my area the range of voluntary jobs ranges from helping look after the donkeys in a donkey sanctuary,to caring for redundant churches to running helplines - and that is only ones I know of. My county council has a voluntary work opportunities page on its website and some areas have Volunteer Centres.

If you enjoyed your work and have skills that could be useful in the voluntary sector look for a suitable opportunity. Some years ago I was made redundant into early retiremment, after a year trying to find work I took my skills to the voluntary sector and quickly found a suitable opportunity.

cornergran Sun 10-Jan-16 19:00:23

Agree. Voluntary work can be a new beginning. It doesn't matter if the first attempt isn't right, just see what else is out there. It can be as taxing or not as you prefer, as little or as much time as meets your needs. I would suggest it is best if you believe in the ethos and aims of the organisation. It's ok to check organisations out. This is a dire time of year for many of us. Good luck with finding something to cheer you.

Charleygirl Sun 10-Jan-16 19:04:36

There are insufficient hours in the day for me - mainly because I spend too much time on this gadget!

chelseababy Sun 10-Jan-16 19:06:48

Don't U3A have debating and discussion groups? That might suit discussing meaningful things.

Grannynise Sun 10-Jan-16 19:06:57

How about learning a new skill? I'm trying to learn Spanish via adult ed classes. I never have enough time to do my homework properly so clearly my days are full!

Pittcity Sun 10-Jan-16 19:39:32

Gransnet fills many hours!

Sadiesnan Sun 10-Jan-16 19:47:33

Thanks for all the replies. I tried briefly helping at a horse rescue place and did my back in, carrying stuff. I've tried U3A but everyone wanted to go for coffee all the while and kept inviting me. I felt embarrassed in the end refusing their kind invites but I'm not good in groups chatting. I do like learning but I can't seem to find anything I want to learn. I have a degree and a post-grad in teaching and I feel I've been there done that. I feel I'm coming across as very negative, perhaps that's the problem.

annodomini Sun 10-Jan-16 19:56:55

Some primary schools welcome volunteers to hear children reading. Schools also need governors although as you've been a teacher this might be like a return to the coal face. U3As seem to be very variable. Ours has many interest groups and always welcomes new ideas. You could volunteer to lead a current affairs discussion group.

cornergran Sun 10-Jan-16 20:22:01

Don't give up. It is hard to find the 'right' thing. If you have a volunteer bureau in the area it could be worth a chat. Tell them what you don't want to do and see what's left? I didn't get on with U3A. It seemed hard to integrate. I didn't want to return, unpaid, to my profession but eventually found a good balance of it's fair to say relatively solitary activities. I'm now on the look out for one more thing that will give me some sense of social contact. Didn't think I needed it. Now know I do. Guess our needs change. Good luck. Keep hunting, the right thing is out there somewhere.

bikergran Sun 10-Jan-16 20:22:07

there is a website "" you type in your postcode and tick the lists that you are interetsed in and it comes up with all diff stuff. Not just charity shop work but allsorts.

granjura Sun 10-Jan-16 20:23:06

Do you have a National Trust property near you? If so you could volunteer to be a welcomer or even a guide. And if you are interested in wildlife and nature, most areas have volunteer groups too.

Learning a new language is also a great way to keep the mind active. You don't have to go to a class- but could ask your local forum, or put an advert at your Uni for a tandem- you teach English in exchange for ... French, Italian, whatever.

Bellanonna Sun 10-Jan-16 20:29:04

As Anno says. And some groups' members take it in turn to present an aspect of their subject, for example an Art Appreciation class member will research an artist or an art work and talk about it. As indeed they do with other subjects. The presentation need not be too onerous or lengthy. I have not participated in this type of class as I wouldn't enjoy the presentation aspect. Lots of other groups, Philosophy as one example, have general discussions.
I have never been invited to coffee with any groups as we just get into our cars and drive home. Look up your local branch and see what it has to offer.

LullyDully Sun 10-Jan-16 20:36:28

I volunteer for Homestart and I really enjoy it.

The charity is very successful and helps by befriending mothers with under 5s who have a variety of difficulties.

I visit 2 families for up to 2 hours a week, it's one day's work.

Both women have totally different needs, but have an older relative missing who is on their side. So that's how I play it.

Most of the work is done through chat and a cup of tea. I also go to a I enjoy the work, such nice women.

(I am going to try U 3A but our local one isn't so good. )

f77ms Sun 10-Jan-16 20:46:37

It is hard to fill the time once you have retired . I find I get down in winter so now work for a charity 2 mornings a week . I also sew and this Christmas made and sold on line making about £3-400 in November December , it has dried up now but wiil do it again next year.

I have done lots of charity work over the years including training to be a helpline volunteer for Sane ( like Samaritans except for mental health)
working at my local hospital being with people who were coming in for procedures , working the till at a charity shop, manning a drop in centre for youngsters with problems to name a few.

There is SO much you can get involved in and the good thing about charity work is that if you don`t like it you can leave and try something else.

mumofmadboys Sun 10-Jan-16 20:51:51

I have enjoyed joining U3A. I have learnt Mah Jong, play table tennis twice a week, do water sports in the summer, and joined cycling and fell walking groups. Lot on offer in our area. I like to keep quite busy.

LullyDully Sun 10-Jan-16 20:53:49

Can I join a U3A group nearby rather than in my own area?

Bellanonna Sun 10-Jan-16 21:00:53

As long as you pay the annual fee and can get there, you can join any group.

Thebeeb Sun 10-Jan-16 22:55:01

Have a routine is my thing then I don't 'think' too much.

The gym is my next thing. It was scary when I first went but if you look around there is usually someone who goes regularly to say hello to.Aqua fit is a good ice breaker. I started at 55 years after being the fat kid at school who no-one picked for team games. I progressed from 3 mins on treadmill(and nearly passing out) to trying a variety of things. Like you I'm not a chatter but a do stop for coffee after classes and sometimes that leads to other things like the cinema, book club or discussion group etc.

Looking after grandkids for 2 days, picking up from school on another.

Then volunteering for the RVS at the hospital.

Not much time left for the chores. Thank goodness.

M0nica Sun 10-Jan-16 23:09:32

Sadiesnam I am afraid, as you say, you are coming across as very negative, but any activity outside the home is going to require some effort on your part. No activity is going to come to your door and welcome you unless you are prepared to come forward and be welcoming to it. You need to start thinking about things you would like to do. Does having a degree and a professional training really preclude you from showing an interest in learning about anything new?

I have several degrees, but last term I did a course on William Morris, this term I am studying the Bayeux tapestry,over the last five years I have done literature courses and language courses and craft courses. Why not consider developing an interest in a craft or an entirely new subject that tickles your fancy when you see it in a day or evening course brochure

You seem obsessed by not being good at small talk, but casual conversation among members of an organisation is the oil that helps it operate well. Going to a coffee morning doesn't mean you have to talk the whole time, many people rather enjoy having a listener. Just being there means that people get used to having you around and begin to see you as part of the group.

I assume you worked as a teacher. Did you really go through your whole teaching career without ever exchanging any words with colleagues and pupils that was not directly work related or meaningful?

Elegran Sun 10-Jan-16 23:52:18

Sadiesnan I think you are seeing "learning something new" as being a formal course of instruction with an exam at the end. Why not instead consider just "having a go" at something you have never tried before but which sounds interesting, whether it is it macrame or mountaineering?

And don't miss out the cups of coffee. You don't need to say anything, just sit there with your cup in your hand and keep taking a sip. Obviously no-one expects you to talk while drinking, so you can sip for an hour if you don't gulp. You might be tempted to add something to the conversation after all, if you are relaxed about not HAVING to.

Nana3 Mon 11-Jan-16 00:47:21

I'm in the WI. They have a web site for you to find out what they're all about.
I also belong to a book club, we meet once a month. A friend and I instigated it by asking 6 more friends to join and we take turns to choose the book and host the meeting.
I'm also in a wine society but that's really DH's thing, it's a good evening out though.
I keep up with my women friends and arrange cinema trips, walks etc and find they include me when they arrange things.
Good Luck shamrock.

Sadiesnan Mon 11-Jan-16 01:17:13

It's amazing how some people can assume so much about someone from just a couple of posts, lol.

I'm not obsessed about not wanting to engage in small talk, it's just something I don't do, I'm just not a big talker. I'm the one who listens and after 10 minutes with someone I can know everything about them and I find that quite draining to be honest. I do have friends but it takes me a while to open up, I'm quite a private person. We're not all the same you know.

Thanks for all the suggestions, I'm giving them all some thought.

Sadiesnan Mon 11-Jan-16 01:29:33

M0nica I didn't need a lecture thanks. Your post has irritated me to death.