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100 Things You Can Do After You Retire


After you retire, what will you do with all of your new-found time?

Are you concerned that you’ll be bored?

I’m always bewildered when I hear people say that they think retirement will be boring.  I’ve heard many people say they don’t want to retire and they would rather keep working, because they have no idea what they would do with all that leisure time.

This is totally foreign to me.  I never seem to find enough time to do everything I want to do.

In my Retirement Visualization Guide, I ask you to list things you really enjoy doing, things you have enjoyed doing in the past, and new things you want to try.  If you have undertaken this exercise, chances are that there are more things you just haven’t thought of - yet.

The list below will stimulate you to come up with some more possibilities for activities you might pursue after you retire.  It is by no means a complete list, but it should provide some good starting points for brainstorming and possibility thinking.

I firmly believe that in order to be truly happy and healthy in retirement, your life should contain a mix of activities that provide physical activity, mental simulation, socialization, and fulfillment.

That fulfillment may come from realizing lifelong dreams, satisfying your sense of purpose, or helping others.  Or maybe they just make you happy in the moment!  There are plenty of items on this list that will cover all of these categories.

2014-12-18 Charles Monroe Schulz

This list can help you visualize everything that your retirement can be, and convince you to look forward to your retirement more positively, which should motivate you to plan and save more.  If you’re already retired, this should re-energize you.

But there’s another reason to consider a list like this.

One of the most important decisions to make concerning your retirement is where you would most like to live. 

The internet and magazine articles are full of lists of ideal retirement locations.  Amazingly, they are all different!  I discuss this more in another article, but one of the most important considerations to take into account when you think about the places that are best suited for you to live is whether a locale offers the amenities that are most important to you.

Couple playing golf

If you’re an avid golfer, does a given area offer good golf courses and a climate that will allow you to play for most of the year?

If you enjoy attending concerts, are the performers that you enjoy likely to stop in your city when they’re on tour?  Are there local performers who can deliver concerts that you’ll want to attend?

My parents chose to remain in Springfield, Ohio, the city in which they spent most of their adult lives and in which I was born and raised.  I would never want to retire there, but for my mother it was a perfect choice.  She was a talented artist.  Springfield has an impressive art museum for a city of its size, and it offers art classes and member art shows.  This was perfect for my mother.  Larger cities with more prestigious, high-profile art museums probably don’t provide such a meaningful outlet for local talent.

Art Supplies

Here are 100 potential things you can do after you retire:

  1. Take art classes
  2. Join a community band or chorus
  3. Learn a new instrument, or rediscover an instrument you used to play
  4. Visit art museums
  5. Attend theatre
  6. Participate in community theatre
  7. Play golf
  8. Play tennis
  9. Go for long walks
  10. Ride your bicycle
  11. Attend concerts
  12. Play card games
  13. Play board games
  14. Volunteer as an usher
  15. Volunteer as a museum docent
  16. Become a tour guide
  17. Sew or knit clothing
  18. Write a memoir or autobiography
  19. Take up photography
  20. Learn a new language
  21. Organize tours for seniors
  22. Volunteer for Meals on Wheels
  23. Volunteer for a non-profit agency
  24. Create crafts
  25. Go to flea markets
  26. Have a flea market booth
  27. Join a book club - or start one
  28. Join an investment club - or start one
  29. Go to movies
  30. Host movie nights
  31. Write a novel
  32. Take adult education classes
  33. Host wine tasting parties
  34. Take aerobics classes
  35. Practice yoga
  36. Swim
  37. Volunteer for political campaigns
  38. Join a local service club (Lions, Kiwanis, etc.)
  39. Start a web site or blog
  40. Visit local restaurants and review them
  41. Join a discussion group - or start one
  42. Volunteer to teach English as a second language
  43. Research and document your family tree
  44. Research and document the history of your town
  45. Take cooking classes
  46. Visit or write to your friends on a regular basis
  47. Invent a new game
  48. Write poetry
  49. Attend poetry readings - or participate in them
  50. Restore old furniture
  51. Redecorate your house
  52. Listen to everything in your music collection and create playlists
  53. Attend sporting events
  54. Compose music - or write funny lyrics to existing music
  55. Go fishing
  56. Get a pilot's license
  57. Compile a collection of jokes or funny stories
  58. Record a CD
  59. Plant a garden
  60. Learn mixology
  61. Make your own beer or wine
  62. Compile a collection of your favorite quotes or bits of wisdom
  63. Work crossword puzzles
  64. Plan day trips to nearby places, and take photos and write about them
  65. Learn some magic tricks
  66. Create a performance (music, poetry, magic, ethnic dance, one-act plays, etc.) and perform at area nursing homes or anywhere else
  67. Invent things
  68. Start a new charity
  69. Start a business for fun
  70. Be a pet sitter or a dog walker
  71. Go to concerts at local schools or colleges
  72. Take bird-watching trips (near or far)
  73. Watch art films
  74. Be a secret shopper
  75. Visit local tourist sites
  76. Start an internet radio station
  77. Join Toastmasters
  78. Create a comic strip
  79. Start a new club for some common interest
  80. Become a wedding officiant
  81. Take ballroom dancing lessons
  82. Go camping
  83. Learn how to sew, or how to sew new things
  84. Learn more about investing
  85. Learn, or get better at, woodworking
  86. Volunteer for a cause you're interested in
  87. Mentor someone
  88. Play bingo
  89. Visit people who are confined to their homes, or who live in nursing homes
  90. Reconnect with a hobby from earlier in your life
  91. Learn calligraphy
  92. Update Wikipedia with things you know about
  93. Join a gym
  94. Take a pottery class
  95. Find something you can make that you can give to others or sell
  96. Become a wedding or party planner
  97. Write a play
  98. Volunteer at a food bank
  99. Serve on a board (HOA, non-profit, school board, church, etc.)
  100. Go to monster truck rallies

What things on this list appeal to you?

What things that you would like to do should I add to the list?  Please share in the comments!

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© 2014 Dave Hughes. All rights reserved.

Photo credits:
Calendar:  photosteve101.  Some rights reserved.
Art supplies:  See-ming Lee.  Some rights reserved.
Couple playing golf:  SalFalko.  Some rights reserved.

8 thoughts on “100 Things You Can Do After You Retire

  1. Nancy Miller

    This is a very good list. One thing I would definitely add is: researching family history, organizing family photos, etc., planning and participating in family reunions. A recent retiree, now 64, I have become addicted to tracing family connections on My research gives rise to great conversations with my parents, now 88 and 90 but still sharp. I know many retirees who share this interest.

    1. Dave Hughes

      Hi Debbie,

      This is a good problem to have! The great thing is, any choice is a good choice.

      Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the things I want to do, but I take heart in knowing that I don't have to do them all this year. If I'm lucky, I have 20-30 years ahead of me.


  2. Pingback: 100 Things You Can Do After You Retire – Stonewall Seniors

  3. William DeyErmand

    I have copied this list of things to do. I believe in trying anything once, then I know rather I like it or not. I know I want to take classes, and have a garden where I can grow my own salad makings. A job has always gave me the feeling of being needed. I don't know if I can completely retire away from work. I will be looking for work of a part time nature before I do.

    1. Dave Hughes

      Originally, I thought that when I retired, I would have nothing to do with anything that resembled work ever again!

      As it turned out, I now have a successful business as a wedding officiant. That's not quite the same thing as a part-time job, but it does bring in money, it puts things to do on the calendar, and I still feel like I'm doing something productive.

      Thanks for your comment!

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