As appealing as no longer having to go to work sounds to some people, many others can be surprisingly ambivalent about retirement, including those who were previously looking forward to it. Often, many find that work loomed much larger in their life than they imagined, and they feel disconnected from others and as though they have lost their sense of purpose. Sometimes, the solution to this can be as simple as going back to work, but when that doesn't seem like the right move either, there are still plenty of other options.
First, it's important to know how much money you have and how much you can spend. Doing a real assessment of what you have versus just looking at your retirement account and doing some quick math can be revealing. You might have assumed that you would continue living in your house, but how much would you get for it if you sold it? Another thing to look at is your life insurance policy. You may have considered canceling it if the kids are grown and there no longer seems to be a need for it, but this may not be the best option even if your policy has a cash surrender value. Before you cancel your policy, you should find out whether you could get a life settlement, which often pays more. This can substantially boost your retirement savings and open up some new possibilities.
Even if you didn't like your job, you may find that after a few weeks at home, it did give you a sense of purpose in a way. Now that you don't have to keep working, what about pursuing something that you really do love? A new business doesn't necessarily have to mean setting up an LLC or filing formal paperwork. There are plenty of business startup ideas that are less formal. You might want to finally do some of that freelance writing or watercolor painting that you always longed to have time to do, and you might be able to sell it. However, you can also set up a business in the field where you have worked all your life or in another area where you have expertise.
There are many myths about older people and learning, such as claims that you can't learn a new language. In fact, this can be a wonderful time to go back to school, whether you are simply taking some classes that interest you or you're pursuing a degree. Some schools offer free or reduced tuition for older adults, so be sure to find out if you are eligible.
Another pursuit many older adults have taken up is traveling the world. For some, this is partly because of the realization that their retirement savings goes a lot further in some other countries than it does back home. For others, it's the fulfillment of a lifelong dream of adventure that they were never able to realize while working and raising a family. Some keep a home base, but others fall in love with sailing or RVing and end up embracing the lifestyle of a nomad.