Pursuing your passions in retirement

ingredients for mole negro

This morning I found myself thinking about retirement and how it provides the time to pursue your passions. Obvious, yes, but it’s another example of something that you can’t truly appreciate until it is upon you. I have always had a lot of interests and hobbies. When I take time to reflect, I realize just how many of these pursuits that I largely or wholly set aside during my busiest work years. This is something that I looked forward to changing in retirement!

One of my passions has always been cooking. I worked in restaurant kitchens during college, consume cooking shows like they are going out of style, and own many cookbooks. But when I think about it, the last ten or so years of my career were largely bereft of cooking. Even when I did cook, it was very simple dishes (thank you for your service, Instant Pot!) and largely heating up things without a lot of effort. Thankfully my amazing wife took up the charge and ensured our family always had good food to eat.

I’m happy to say things have completely changed in retirement. I now cook two meals most every day and ensure that at least one dinner a week is something special. We are following our budget, so don’t think I mean caviar and vintage champagne! Rather, I mean preparing a dish that is made of simple ingredients which prepared thoughtfully, results in something great. My latest passion is Mexican cooking. I’ve owned a wonderful cookbook for years: Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen: Capturing the Vibrant Flavors of a World-Class Cuisine. It’s a fantastic resource that I can’t recommend enough. In particular I am enjoying making the famous moles of Mexico. I’ve even started a simple Notion database of the moles I’ve made to track them, one I’m happy to share with you. Please be sure to let me know if you make any of these – and share your tips!

One point of caution: I have found that even in retirement it is all too easy to be distracted by chores, things that have to get done around the house, etc. All too quickly, the hobbies and other pursuits can be put out of mind as if you were still in your career. I’ve caught myself on this already, particularly when we were organizing the garage. Whether you are retired or not, I think it’s vital that you remember to create space to follow your passions – cooking or otherwise. It is always so fulfilling, no matter how little time you may be able to allocate in a given week. And if you are retired, you have no excuse! You worked hard to get to this point and you should ensure you enjoy it!

What are the passions you intend to pursue in retirement, whether they are things you already do or not?

image credit: my own photo of all the ingredients needed to make mole negro (black mole)!