10 Ways to Stay Young-at-Heart after You Retire

While you have some control over the physical aging process with a healthy diet and moderate exercise, the fact that your body ages as you get older is inevitable.

However, you have much greater control over your attitude towards aging. Here are ten steps you can take to cultivate a positive, youthful attitude at any age.

You're never to old to become younger. - Mae West1. Rediscover your passions

You probably have hobbies or interests that you enjoyed when you were younger but had to put aside when the demands of work and raising a family took over. After you retire, you have the time to enjoy them again or to try new things. Many older people participate in choruses or bands like they did in high school. Others pursue photography, art, writing, crafts, or taking adult education classes. Do what makes you happy!

2. Rid your life of toxic people

You don’t need people in your life who complain constantly or gossip and leave you feeling depressed. Life is too short!

During your working career, you sometimes had to endure the company of co-workers you wouldn’t otherwise choose to be around. Now, you have much more choice in who you spend your time with. Your attitude and your enjoyment of life are heavily influenced by those with whom you associate the most, so find people who are positive, interesting and fun to be around.

Pickleball has become a popular sport with boomers.

3. Stay active

If you’re able, make time in your life for physical activities such as hiking pickleball, biking, swimming, or bowling. Strive to take a 30-minute walk several days a week. Join clubs and go on outings that will give you the opportunity to interact with other people and experience new things.

Make the effort to discover the attractions in your own community such as restaurants, parks, and museums that you may not have had time for during your working years.

4. Maintain a positive attitude

There may be some things you can’t do anymore, so focus on those that you can. Look for the humorous things that happen in everyday life. Don’t complain or be resentful; nobody likes to hang around bitter people. Strive to be kind, gracious, and thankful.

Although aging is not always easy, remember that it is a privilege that has been denied to some.

Surround yourself with people of all ages who are interesting and fun to be around

5. Socialize with people of different ages

You might be surprised at how many younger people enjoy the company of older folks. To many people, age is just a number. They are more concerned with your personality, attitude, and common interests.

Younger people can bring vitality and fresh perspectives to your life. You may serve as a role model or a source of wisdom and stability for them without even realizing it.

If you live in a 55+ active adult community, don’t limit your interactions to other seniors. Venture out and enjoy the rest of the community.

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This topic is explored in greater depth in my book Smooth Sailing Into Retirement. This book will guide you from your last few months of work through your first year of retirement. It identifies the many ways your life will change and prepares you for the emotions you may experience along the way. You will learn how to design your new day-to-day life in a way that will reflect your passions and interests. You will be inspired to create a new identity for yourself that embodies the way you plan to live in retirement and frees you from the limitations of your former job title.

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6. Keep up with modern technology

Become more computer-savvy if you need to. Knowing your way around the internet will enable you to research medical issues, make travel plans, and explore almost any topic that interests you. Most personal business can be transacted online, and you can find information on almost anything.

For many people, electronic tools such as text messaging, Facebook, and Instagram have replaced letters and telephone calls as their preferred modes of communication. Even email is declining in popularity. If you hope to stay in touch with younger friends and relatives, you’ll need to use the communication tools they use.

Modern technology may enable you to stay in your home longer, too.

Become more computer-savvy if you need to, in order to stay more connected to the world.

7. Stay connected with the world

Familiarize yourself with modern culture. While you may not care much for modern music and entertainment trends, it helps to have a passing familiarity with what they are. Saturday Night Live is still as funny and relevant as it was in the 70s and 80s.

Keep up with current events and get your news from a variety of sources in order to minimize bias and inaccuracies. Keep an open mind towards fresh perspectives. Remain curious and seek out new things to learn and discover.

8. Don’t say whatever comes to mind

You have probably encountered older folks who seem to think they are entitled to say whatever they want, especially when it comes to judgments or critical opinions. You still need filters and decorum. The cranky curmudgeon act gets old fast.

You are only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely. - Ogden Nash

9. Don’t glorify the past

It’s easy to remember the good times from years past while forgetting about the difficult times you faced. Every decade had its share of corrupt politicians, social injustices, wars, and problems.

It’s wonderful to recall stories and fond memories, but avoid comparing how things are today to when you were younger. Even if the good old days were better, those days are gone. Today is what you have now. Make the most of today.

10. Avoid the “organ recital”

It’s okay to mention recent ailments or upcoming operations briefly, but don’t make them the focus of your entire conversation. Nothing says “old fart” like constantly dwelling on your aches, pains, and maladies. People will enjoy conversations with you much more when there are many other topics you are able to talk about.


What suggestions do you have for remaining young-at-heart during retirement? Please share in the comments below!

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© 2021 Dave Hughes. All rights reserved.

Photo credits:
Men riding bicycles: James Schwartz. Some rights reserved.
Pickleball players: Michael Martin. Some rights reserved.
Cocktail party: Mandy Kjellstrom. Some rights reserved.
Computer desk: Andre Theus. Some rights reserved.

8 Responses

  1. Thanks for a timely article as I find myself, at 72, starting to complain too much about the various physical changes age brings. My mother, a role model for happy aging, began a long relationship in her 80s with a man she called her “boy-toy”, with whom she had dinners and dancing out, movies and some travelling and…God knows what else. She remained vibrant , active, and interested in the world, until the end, passing away at 101.

    • Dave Hughes says:

      Hi Edward,

      Thanks for your comment.

      It sounds like your mother really had her act together with the right attitude. I hope I do as well in my 80s and 90s!

  2. Kevin says:

    To remain YAH (Young At Heart), I always make absolutely sure I am the youngest person in my group of friends.
    What I really want to add to your list, as exemplified above, is keeping or developing a sense of humor. Life is just too short not to have a sense of humor about it all. It also makes you a much better partner in love/life.

    • Dave Hughes says:

      Hi Kevin,

      I agree – on both of your points. Laughter is the best medicine, as they say.

      Always being the youngest person in the room is similar to my strategy for dieting: I always bring high-calorie food to parties, so everyone else will gain weight.


  3. William DeyErmand says:

    My wife has been volunteering at the Senior center and told me how they strive to keep everyone “young at heart and mind”. Very good article.

    • Dave Hughes says:

      Thanks, William!

      My parents used to deliver meals for Meals on Wheels. They did that until my father was in his 80s and my mother was in her 70s. Even at their age, they said they did that to help “old people.”

  4. Kevin Krull says:

    Once again an excellent view to remind us to stay positive and active.

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