Back in October 2023, I mentioned creating a ‘curious list’ for retirement, – and people have been asking about it ever since!
A curiosity list is simply a list of things that have simply piqued your interest and you might like to learn more about. It’s not a ‘to do’ list or even a ‘must do before I die’ list. It’s simply what interests you.
Many retirees think they have to dive in and do a whole year of classes to learn something new. Or they need to join an organisation or club and throw themselves headlong into a new sport. This can often become too much focus on one thing at the expense of others (ask any non-golfing spouse…).
A curious list doesn’t require you to commit to any one activity, or timescales, or even outcomes. It’s a bit like flicking TV channels late at night and suddenly finding yourself watching programmes on forgotten engineering sites, or how they manufacture jelly beans, or ancient civilizations apart from Egypt. (Yes, one of the team watches way too much Quest.)
What keeps you watching
Your curious list can pick up on the aspects of programmes that you found interesting enough to keep you up past midnight long after the heating has turned off and even the dog has gone to bed. It doesn’t need to involve a course of study or a long-term commitment unless you want it to. For example, that spark of interest might result in booking a long-haul cultural travel, or simply finding out more about a local landmark.
That curiosity might also lead you to expand your existing knowledge in certain areas, such as using a language learning app so you can order your own pizza in Padua in Italian. You might like to refine existing experience in a particular area, such as researching and collecting 1950s Scandinavian designer jewellery rather than just antique silver.
Equally, with sport, you might like to take an introduction to scuba diving without committing to a course or all the kit. You might want to have a go at horse-riding, or try your hand at dingy sailing, without feeling the need to become the next Team GB medal winner. I loved my surfing lessons on a recent trip to Hawaii, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll see me in my wetsuit braving the cold waves off Newquay.
Look around you
One of my Hampshire-based clients uses dog walks to spark interest in what’s in their area, from spotting hidden WWII pill boxes along the Basingstoke Canal to the smell of wild garlic inspiring a foraging course for wild food. Their ‘let’s go see’ curiosity list helps shape other interesting walks and days out, and if that also involves being curious about the menu in local pubs and lunch spots, so be it!
Share the information
If you really get into a subject area, you may feel you want to do something with all this knowledge. After all, if you were interested, perhaps someone else will be too?
- Professional opera singer and long-time Gilbert and Sullivan fan Bryan Kesselman was intrigued by a lyric in their comic opera “Patience” that mentioned Victorian private detective “Paddington” Pollaky. That interest led to a book and a book deal, a Gothic opera, and talks at local libraries and writing groups.
- Author Bonnie Garmus wrote her best-selling novel “Lessons in Chemistry” after trying out experiments she found in the “The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments”. Garmus was 65 when this, her debut novel was published.
Share the passion
You can also share your passion with the world with a blog, a podcast or a YouTube or Instagram channel. Many blog writers have successfully upcycled their articles into books. You don’t need a book deal with a publisher either. You can make a digital version and sell it online either as an e-book or as a hard copy through a Print on Demand service.
- The 2009 film “Julie and Julia” was based on the experiences of Julie Powell, a New Yorker who wrote a blog about her experiences cooking each of the 524 recipes in Child’s 1961 cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in one year.
”Curiouser and curiouser”, said Alice
The internet can be the ultimate rabbit hole where you disappear down into fascinating forums and communities devoted to discussions on almost anything and everything.
My suggestion is that once you’ve got some knowledge and interest, act on it. One of our team is a member of probably one of the dullest Groups on Facebook focussing on free wood and logs. What makes the subject real is that they collect, saw, split and season free wood from legitimate sources (i.e. not just picking it up from anywhere!) that would otherwise go to waste. Their obsession feeds their wood burning stove to heat their home, and reduces their utility bills. That seems like a good result.
Struggling to find meaning in your retirement?
As a professional retirement coach, I can help you create a plan for a balanced, enjoyable and fulfilling retirement that works for you. Do get in touch.