100 Things You Can Do After You Retire

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.

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 here, 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?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you won’t be able to do all these things. But there are still at least 50 things you can safely do!
Read 50 Things You Can Do During the Pandemic to learn more.

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. Operate 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 website 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

~~~~~ continued below ~~~~~

This topic is explored in greater depth in my book Design Your Dream Retirement. This book will show you how to visualize your retirement in an optimistic, possibility-filled light, and provide you with the knowledge and tools to help you create a plan for achieving your retirement dreams. You will learn how to fill your life with a balance of activities and pursuits to keep you happy, healthy, and fulfilled.

Click here to learn more | BUY IT NOW!

  1. Redecorate your home
  2. Listen to everything in your music collection and create playlists
  3. Attend sporting events
  4. Compose music – or write funny lyrics to existing music
  5. Go fishing
  6. Get a pilot’s license
  7. Compile a collection of jokes or funny stories
  8. Record a CD
  9. Plant a garden
  10. Learn mixology
  11. Make your own beer or wine
  12. Compile a collection of your favorite quotes or bits of wisdom
  13. Work crossword puzzles
  14. Plan day trips to nearby places, and take photos and write about them
  15. Learn some magic tricks
  16. Create a performance (music, poetry, magic, ethnic dance, one-act plays, etc.) and perform at area nursing homes or anywhere else
  17. Invent things
  18. Start a new charity
  19. Start a business
  20. Be a pet sitter or a dog walker
  21. Go to concerts at local schools or colleges
  22. Take bird-watching trips (near or far)
  23. Watch art films
  24. Be a secret shopper
  25. Visit local tourist sites
  26. Start an internet radio station
  27. Join Toastmasters
  28. Create a comic strip
  29. Start a new club for some common interest
  30. Become a wedding officiant
  31. Take ballroom dancing lessons
  32. Go camping
  33. Learn how to sew, or how to sew new things
  34. Learn more about investing
  35. Learn, or get better at, woodworking
  36. Volunteer for a cause you’re interested in
  37. Mentor someone
  38. Play bingo
  39. Visit people who are confined to their homes, or who live in nursing homes
  40. Reconnect with a hobby from earlier in your life
  41. Learn calligraphy
  42. Update Wikipedia with things you know about
  43. Join a gym
  44. Take a pottery class
  45. Find something you can make that you can give to others or sell
  46. Become a wedding or party planner
  47. Write a play
  48. Volunteer at a food bank
  49. Serve on a board (HOA, non-profit, school board, church, etc.)
  50. 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 below!

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© 2014 Dave Hughes. All rights reserved.

Photo credits:
Couple playing golf: SalFalko. Some rights reserved.
Appointment book: Steve Buissinne

25 Responses

  1. Angie Moynes says:

    I worry about retiring because i dont have any friends or family.Going to work everyday is the only time i get to talk to anyone.But after i go home i am alone and isolated.The thought of not going to work terrifies me.

    • Dave Hughes says:

      Hi Angie,

      As you contemplate what you would like to do with your life after you retire, perhaps some of your options should include opportunities for you to be with other people, such as volunteering, joining a club (such as a book club or Toastmasters), taking classes, etc.

      Your concern is a common one. Many people rely on their work colleagues for their daily human contact. Socialization just kind of happens automatically. After you retire, you’ll need to be more intentional about how socialization happens in your life.

      Best wishes,

    • Nil says:

      I totally understand. Not having a hobby to take your time is terrible. All I did was work, now I have no purpose.

      • Dave Hughes says:

        Hi Nil,

        A lot of people find themselves in this situation. I look at retirement (a.k.a. renaissance) as a time when you can re-define yourself and re-structure your life the way you want. It’s never too late.

        Good luck!

  2. Rick Morgan says:

    Thanks for this posting. Found while contemplating weekend decision to retire or continue working. Already started my analysis list, even though the decision seemed very clear-cut. Current opportunity continues to afford opportunity to leverage the aspects of my career experiences that I enjoyed, without the negative components. While the retirement date may be pushed out another year, my analysis should help me get better positioned for the eventuality. Thanks again for the insights!

    • Dave Hughes says:

      Hi Rick,

      Thanks! I’m glad you found the article to be helpful. Best wishes for your upcoming retirement!


  3. Mick says:

    You have “play bingo” but not “play bridge”? I’d put bingo right up there with “watching paint dry” and bridge is the most amazing game there is.

    • Dave Hughes says:

      Hi Mick,

      There are certainly more than just these 100 things to do after you retire. I suppose “play bridge” falls under “play card games,” although I’m sure most bridge players would argue that bridge isn’t just any card game!

      Bridge certainly provides a good source of mental stimulation.

      Thanks for your comment!

  4. sean says:

    thanks for the article is great list

  5. Vicki says:

    Wonderful suggestions, but I have limited walking ability. I can drive most anywhere with hand controls, but standing and walking for extended periods of time is difficult. I have worked for the last 46 Year’s, and am ready for some relaxation, but I tend to be a couch potato. Would appreciate some thoughts,!

    • Dave Hughes says:

      Hi Vicki,

      Thanks for your comment. It’s true that some of the suggestions on this list would be prohibitive for someone with limited mobility, but others are definitely still do-able. And this list is by no means the only 100 things you could possibly do.

      Ultimately, it comes down to how much you want to be a couch potato vs. how much you want to do other things – even things that can be done without much physical activity (such as writing). It’s a matter of balance.

    • LBL says:

      If you could volunteer @ a library there are kids who need someone to read to them. You could teach adults to read. Look into recording audio books for guide books for the blind. Work as a greeter or in an information desk at a hospital. The ASPCA can always use people to work with dogs or cats in their shelters.

    • Joseph Gadberry says:

      Elliptical and recumbent bike are what I used after having both knees replaced. Low impact, and the elliptical will give you a great workout if you get one with bars for the arms to give the skiing motion for upper body.

      • Dave Hughes says:

        Thanks for the tip! Those recumbent bikes look interesting, and most people who ride them really like them. I’ve also seen bikes where the foot pedals are little platforms that simulate the motion of an elliptical machine or skis.

  6. Vanda says:

    You have listened many great activities, but I’m not quite ready to choose one just yet, maybe soon, my husband is already retired, he really needs some thing to pass his time besides just going to a gym all the time!

  7. Nancy Miller says:

    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 ancestry.com. 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.

    • Dave Hughes says:

      Hi Nancy,

      This is an excellent suggestion! Thank you!

    • Alan Smith says:

      One idea: Record some of those conversations with your parents – either by audio/video or transcribed. I’m sure those stories will be memorable for you and your family. My dad used many unusual, but true sayings that I wish I could remember.

  8. Debbie Baize says:

    l see a lot of things that I would love to do in retirement my problem is where do I start

    • Dave Hughes says:

      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.


  9. William DeyErmand says:

    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.

    • Dave Hughes says:

      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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