Retirement Leisure Activities in Social Science – History

While there are in any number of things you can do with a passion for history, we’re going to focus and a few. The first is learning about and documenting your own family history. The other is historical reenactments.

Tracing family roots has always been an important retirement activity. As people get older, there is a desire to pass on a sense of family history to their children and grandchildren. As the holders of family histories get old and die, there is a sense of urgency to capture their knowledge.

Document your own history. Many people falsely assume their lives aren’t important because they weren’t famous or didn’t do anything grand. No one has walked exactly in your shoes. Whatever the journey of your life, you have a story to tell. There are so many ways you can document your life. Certainly, writing an autobiography is one way. Instead of believing you need to write your whole-life story from beginning to end, center your story on events that occurred to you or your time in history. Baby boomers share the common experience of the assassination of President Kennedy. Write your personal experience about the time in history. Combine your story with family photos.

In addition to your personal story, many seniors become interested in genealogy, the study of families and their history. What used to be a laborious undertaking has been greatly reduced with the advent of the Internet and family roots’ software.

In my own case, I could trace one branch of my family tree back to Roman times within a 3-month subscription to There is still a lot of work that needs to be completed to verify the accuracy. Prior to the Internet, that work would have taken a lifetime of committed research.

Another pastime for history buffs are reenactments. Around the world, people gather to stage historical events. Reenactments take many forms. Some involve living history where people portray a certain period in time, usually for public or educational purposes. Living history often involves demonstrates of cooking or other skills from the period and locations. In living history reenactments, participants wear clothing indicative of the period, as well as talk with an accent and use only tools from the era.

Combat demonstrations and battle reenactments are another popular from of reenactments. Some demonstrations may be loosely based on a particular event, while others will follow detailed plans aligning the events as precisely as possible. Finally, tactical combat are usually closed to the public and are fought like real battles.

If you don’t want to participate in reenactments yourself, there are many commercial endeavors you can visit.

If you’re a history buff, how do you spend your retirement leisure time?

This article is one of the Retirement Activity Guides. To learn more and begin at the beginning, click here.

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