I retired at 43 so that I could enjoy life as much as possible while I’m still alive and kicking on this planet. Fortunately, in my first 43 years I picked up a few life skills to help make retirement a little more enjoyable and challenging.
Some of those skills include the following: swimming, writing, business & marketing, motorcycling, drawing, and money management. With just that set of skills, I can keep myself active, creative, and financially sound.
That being said, here are five more skills I wish I learned when I was younger that would make my retirement years even more amazing…
1- Playing a musical instrument
My only experience with a musical instrument was playing the trombone in junior high school. Suffice it to say, that didn’t help me get a lot of dates.
Looking back, I wish I would’ve learned how to play something much cooler, like the guitar or piano when I was younger. I envy people who can pick up a guitar and just start jamming out a popular tune or one of their own.
Bonus Points: Learn to write songs, sing, and lay down tracks.
2- Speaking other languages
I plan on traveling a lot in my retirement years, and being able to speak with the locals will definitely come in handy.
Unfortunately in the US, we don’t put much prioritization on learning foreign languages. I can get by in Spanish, and I know a few phrases in Italian and French, but I’m totally lost with any Asian language.
Bonus Points: Learn an Asian language. If you’re Caucasian like me, you might really surprise the locals if you can break out some phrases in their native tongue.
3- SCUBA Diving
I’d like to think I’m a pretty decent swimmer. Our condo has a pool, and I try to swim laps three times a week. [Side note: I actually do a swimming HIIT workout, which makes it more fun and challenging]
I also enjoy snorkeling when Allison and I vacation in places like Mexico or the Caribbean. But I haven’t gone the next step, which is to get SCUBA certified.
I’d love to do so at some point, so we can really explore the amazing undersea world of tropical fish and coral.
Bonus Points: Learn to sail or operate a boat. This way we can go off on our own adventures when we want to go diving.
Sure, I’ve been able to build out some decent websites with WordPress, basic HTML, and other plugins and software tools.
But occasionally my lack of coding prevents me from building something more robust. Having that additional knowledge could help me create cool new features, as well as ensure my sites are safe, secure, and fast.
Bonus Points: Learn how to design and code my own mobile app.
5- Flying an airplane
I always wanted to get my pilot’s license when I was younger, but it was too expensive and time consuming.
While I have no problem driving a stick shift car or riding a motorcycle, there just would’ve been something special about flying around the world in my retirement years.
I can envision it now -- Allison and I whisking off in our small private jet to Hawaii, Tahiti, and Bali.
Bonus Points: Learn to skydive, so I can have even greater flying adventures (& save myself in the event of catastrophic engine failure).
The good news is that I still have plenty of time to learn most of these skills. In fact, the learning part is often the most fun.
I can take a class, watch a Youtube video, or find an online course to learn how to play an instrument and become fluent in other languages. Although, flying a plane is probably not going to happen (unless they come up with self-flying planes in my lifetime!).
How about you?
What skills do you already have that’ll make retirement more enjoyable and challenging? And what skills would you love to learn? How about cooking, gardening, painting, kite boarding, or public speaking? The sky’s the limit!
Whether you’re 20 years away from retirement or you’re already retired, it’s never too early or too late to learn new skills.
One skill I fortunately did learn was how to manage and improve my finances, which helped me to retire early. I highly recommend learning this skill, so you can enjoy all your other talents without worrying about money.
For tips on improving and mastering your finances, I invite you to explore all the content on Retire By 45.