How To Learn In Retirement Without Going To Class

I consider myself a lifelong learner. I just can’t imagine not being interested in learning something new.  It’s amazing how retirement opened up so many opportunities to explore new ideas and interests.  While working, my learning had a career-focus.  It’s been such a welcome relief to get away from role-playing and management 101 classes. I will say it really took some effort to embrace how to learn in retirement without going to class.

Just like you, I had plenty of practice in regularly attending classes, listening to teachers and trying to excel so that I could advance. Advancement meant getting the right college degree that would lead to the right career.

I put my interest in teaching aside so that I could find a job in “business.” At the time, my understanding of business was minimal but I knew that job opportunities existed. Since there were no jobs in teaching, I decided it sounded like a winner.  Besides, I was good in math and I thought that was relevant.   Like it or not, a degree in business became my goal.

This path definitely worked.  Jobs came and went. I was successful in corporate life.  I continued to learn by going to management and  leadership classes.  In my world, ongoing success meant studying about how to be successful in your career.

Retirement gave me the gift of time and the opportunity to learn more about  things that interested me as well as time to explore interests I’d put aside long ago. I recognized that there was plenty to gain by both learning and doing.

Often learning in retirement is experiential and doesn’t involve a traditional classroom setting. What’s key, is putting yourself in new situations to learn and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.  I’ve learned a lot about things I want to understand better and do more of.  Just as valuable is learning  about what doesn’t interest me.

Lately I’ve been learning all that I can about social media and creating a brand for myself.  In addition, I’ve taught myself different art techniques and found a way to teach art to kids. I’ve explored Improv and learned how to give leadership support for non-profits.

As a result, I’ve explored a variety of interests that I wouldn’t have had time for if  I had not retired. Nothing that I’ve learned has been in a classroom setting.

On a side note, what I thought would be interesting to learn more about was tax law (remember, I like math) and doing pro bono HR work. Despite successfully mastering tax basics, I discovered taxes were not for me.   I also found that I had too much personally invested in my HR career to give my advice for free.

Whether retired or considering it, take advantage of this life stage to learn more about yourself. As well as what may become a new activity or passion.  Do all that you can to learn from your new every day life.


People of all ages struggle to live a more meaningful life, but the struggle to identify a meaningful retirement is very real. Working with a certified retirement coach can help you frame what’s important to you and how to work towards it in order to find a meaningful life in retirement. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your journey and how we can help.

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3 Myths About RetirementHow to describe a meaningful life in retirement.