Throughout most people’s lives, finding time to do the things you love often takes a backseat to the necessities — going to work, caring and maintaining your home, raising a family. But what happens when you take away the job and the kids? What happens when you decide it’s time to sell your home, downsize and retire to a community like The Knolls? For some, that’s the time they’re truly able to pursue many of the exciting activities they couldn’t when responsibility ruled the day. For others, it can be a time of discovery. Either way, finding new passions and interests after retirement is a great way to keep one’s body and mind active, helping residents remain healthier longer.

At The Knolls, we believe the pursuit of passions goes hand-in-hand with our holistic approach to wellness. That includes encouraging socialization, as well as helping residents take advantage of all the activities available both on campus and off. Whatever your interests — from gardening to making arts and crafts, going to the theater or swimming laps in the pool — The Knolls has a wealth of activities to pursue. And if you’re interested in events or activities off campus, whatever Westchester County doesn’t offer, you can bet NYC — just a short train ride away — does.

Many residents come to The Knolls with interests they’ve had for years but might not have had the opportunity to pursue before retirement. Others find that retirement affords them the chance to try their hand at any number of pursuits, as they discover new passions along the way — like poetry.

The Knolls’ Cultural Arts Director, Mila Levine, understands how discovering one passion can lead to others. “I now do poetry classes with the residents,” she says. “I’ve introduced a couple of versions. In one, we discuss different poets. Then I started bringing in my own poetry, which led to them bringing in their poetry and talking about our favorite poets. It’s exciting to be able to share all that material.”

Mila also started giving residents in her classes assignments like writing autobiographical pieces, which they would read to each other. “I was just trying it out to see if it worked,” she says, “because if it did, the next step would be to have them create short, one-person plays of their own. We already have a play reading group, so I think of this as a natural next step.” 

The Knolls resident Astrid N. agrees that discovering a new passion — even one you never knew you had — can be a surprisingly wonderful gift. A retired nurse practitioner, Astrid found herself voted into The Knolls Residents’ Council where she was asked to lead a subcommittee. She figured it would probably be for a group that focused on health-related matters. Astrid was in for a surprise. “I was asked to be chairperson of the library committee,” she says with a laugh. “I didn’t know anything about running a library!” Thus, new passions are born.

Passions come in many forms, and nature offers an abundance of opportunities. Our campus is beautiful and perfect for a walk or an activity like birdwatching. How about nature — not your thing? How about our Creative Arts Center? The Knolls has several very talented painters, some of whom had never applied paint to canvas until they moved to The Knolls.

Continuing education also offers an incredibly diverse array of opportunities for our residents to engage in or develop new passions. Located next to Westchester Community College, residents at The Knolls have the opportunity to delve into any number of exciting classes that stir the imagination, from cooking to photography to fashion design. Or how about a class in psychology where you can discover the beauty and fascination of the human mind? All of this is within walking distance when you live at The Knolls.

One passion many residents at The Knolls share is exercise. In terms of maintaining physical and mental acuity, physical activity has to be near the top of the list. At The Knolls, we believe exercise is a key ingredient to maintaining a happy, healthy lifestyle. That’s why our fitness room is so popular with many of our residents. Additionally, our heated indoor pool allows residents to swim year-round. We also have a personal trainer on staff, Sara Morales-Martinez, who can help residents develop an exercise regimen that’s perfect for them.

Sara also teaches an aqua aerobics class that not only helps keep residents remain active and fit, but also is fun. “I love being creative with the residents,” Sara says, “so I added Hawaiian dance to my aqua aerobics class. I do the hula with them. But instead of just moving their arms from side to side, I gave them something to think about — the mountains, making a flower — something fun and sweet.”

When you no longer have to worry about things like home maintenance, it’s amazing how the ability to pursue passions you never had the time to pursue before opens up. At The Knolls, whatever your interests may be, chances are you’ll be able to pursue them. As one resident said, “I relish being able to spend time doing things I’ve never done before.” Therein lies the recipe for an active and enjoyable retirement — the opportunity to keep learning and trying new things that continue to enrich your life.If you’d like to learn more about The Knolls retirement community and how you can discover new passions for yourself, contact us at (914) 461-4518 to schedule your visit.

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