“And they’re always glad you came..” Remember the theme song from Cheers?
Sometimes memories from the job can be a bit like that: Being part of a team, talking about last night’s game over coffee, having the know-how needed to get the job done. Sure, things always look a bit rosier when we look back, but if we’re honest, for many folks there were at least a few things to like about being on the job.
And if the social/teamwork side helped make it worth getting up in the morning before you retired, then it’s a good bet that finding ways to have that again will make life after work more fun too.
Enter the Men’s Shed: Part Dad’s garage, part local hangout, and all community focused.
What is a Men’s Shed Anyway?
The Men’s Sheds movement began about 30 years ago. It taps into the long tradition of men getting together in sheds, garages and workshops to relax, tinker, and take a break from the demands of daily life.
Of course, not everyone has a back garden with a shed anymore, but Men’s Sheds take place in all sorts of places, including community centres and municipal buildings. They’re all different, but they’re also getting more common.
You can find new ones sprouting up in countries all around the world, including Wales, Denmark, Scotland, Ireland, Finland, UK, US, Canada, New Zealand, and Estonia. The first ones were established in Australia; the first US Shed was in Honolulu, and planning is in the works for one in Ottawa, Ontario.
Today’s Sheds are dedicated, friendly and welcoming meeting places where men can come together and work on different projects and activities. There’s still tinkering and woodworking, and chances to learn or share a skill. But now you might also find a workshop on men’s health, or cooking for one person.
More than anything, a Men’s Shed is a place for socializing. As the Irish Men’s Shed association says: “In a men’s shed we always say the greatest tool we have is the kettle, because there’s nothing more powerful than a cup of tea and a chat.”
Maybe that’s part of the reason many members say that their wellbeing and happiness have improved since they started dropping in.
How Can You Find Your Local Shed?
Currently, 1,800 Sheds have registered with the International Men’s Sheds Association, supporting an estimated 100,000 men. They are very well organized, and each country has an association you can contact to find a Shed near you.
Although they might be a bit harder to find in North America, it seems like a Men’s Sheds can become a place where someone could make a friend, and maybe even feel a bit of the fellowship they had at work. And if there isn’t one in your area, starting one up might be a fun and rewarding project, maybe for a retired guy you know?
Looking for other ideas on having a fulfilling retirement? Check out what we have to offer under Services.
©North Star Retirement Coaching