What To Do After Retirement?

What will you do after retirement? Hour after Hour - Day after Day - we all need to be active in our retirements!

Retirement is a joyful place to be -- we all wait for the freedom of retirement during all those long working years. Then we retire -- and guess what? We often don't know WHAT to do with all that free time! What types of retirement activities might appeal to you? What will you DO all day?

The following is from my "Born in the 1940s" Group... a simple conversation between members that I thought I'd share here for the wisdom it contains!

I hope this helps someone out there (I KNOW it will!)


Ann Dyer from Texas:

I worked for 37 years in public education in Texas as a teacher, consultant, instructional coordinator, and the final twelve years as an elementary principal.

I haven't gotten to the scrapbooking hobby yet, but I do enjoy a little crafting. I'm more of a piddler than anything else. How do I spend my time? Let me count the ways.

I'm a member of a garden club, a retired teachers club, and a professional teachers organization. I do volunteer work for our local MARC Center (week-long day program for mentally challenged adults -- we have 22). I also volunteer to tutor school children for the state TAKS test. Starting July 21st, I'm volunteering to help a friend who is having hip surgery with driving, exercises, etc. I teach English Composition part-time in the fall and spring at Temple College (community college). I read a lot, and I write short stories and memoirs (I've even had a few published in small magazines, and once in Grit). I write to about 20 pen pals, and I am a member of three chat groups online. Every day I do 50-55 minutes of exercise and walking. I used to have two more clubs, but I had to cut back a little bit.

If you just retired recently, I'm not surprised that you feel a little lost and a little confused about what to do in retirement. I've been retired since June of 2001 and it took me about two years to get into my retirement "routine."

I did the same as you. I tried different things, met people, etc. Just keep doing what you're doing, and don't be afraid to try something completely new that you've never done before. You're retired now, and you've got the time to learn new things. Don't limit yourself. You'll be amazed at how much fun you can have and how many interesting people you will meet. It won't be long and you'll find some things that you absolutely love doing, and those will comprise your own personal retirement activities.

Don't rush into anything, Mary. Take your time and enjoy those grand-babies and try things every so often. As I said, it took me two years to really get my mind to "retire."

I know it might look like I am very busy, but here's the deal. You can say "no" whenever you want to and if you're doing something and find out it's too taxing or you don't like it anymore, stop.

This is completely opposite of what we had to do when we worked. We were assigned many unpleasant tasks (or at least, I was) and I couldn't say "no." I had to do it and I couldn't quit just because I didn't like it.

Now that I'm retired, I never make appointments before 10 a.m., I go to bed early and sleep late if I want to; or stay up late, late, late and get up late if I want to. Also, I don't know about you, but I haven't worn pantyhose since I retired -- except to a few funerals and weddings which I can still count on the fingers of both hands.

Take your time. Enjoy the grandbabies. Think about what you might like to do. Try out a few things. If you don't like them, no biggie. Just quit them and try something else.

The main thing that you will find out about retirement is that you are your own boss and can decide what you do and don't do and when and how you do it. Enjoy life, Mary. You've worked your whole life on somebody else's time clock. Now you're on your own.

Mary Mansfield, Florida:

I appreciate the good advice and suggestions. I guess I did not want to volunteer too soon after retirement. I have been committed for so long, I am hesitant to get involved on a schedule. Spend as much time as I can with my grandbabies on the weekend. Maybe during the week, I shall look into seeing if there is something to get me more motivated in doing some good for someone else in the community and/or visit the Senior Friendship Center in Sarasota or Venice to check them out.

Sounds like you are busier than when you were working full time. I hear people say that after retirement they have less time than when they were working, and I see you are a great example and inspires all of us who are lagging behind.


I echo Joyce's words. I wish I had read Ann's words two years ago. I had to retire end of December 2007. Was not ready and did not expect to have so much time on my hands. Still a little lost about what all to do. But you are right - I can do what I want when I want!

(Wendy's two cents: and THAT is why I made this website page! "I wish I had read Ann's words....." My thoughts exactly, Susan! I hope Ann helps many others too!)

Marge Sallee from Kansas:

I retired a decade ago, so I know how you feel now. I taught school, and the first summer felt like every other summer vacation. When it was time for school to start without me, that's when I felt like a loose cannon on deck. I was involved with our church and I always found plenty to do there. Then I started having various health issues that kept me from doing the many things I loved and enjoyed so much.

Ann gave you some excellent advice, and I know if you can travel and do those things you enjoy, retirement won't ever be boring. Though I don't leave home a lot these days, my hours are full of writing projects, e-mail, family and friends. Sometimes this seems to be the best time of my life because I have the time to do almost everything that comes my way -- usually without watching the clock or feeling rushed. It is definitely time to take time to smell the roses.

Joyce in Kansas:

Gosh, Ann, I think I will save your good e-mails about retirement to refer to in a year or two, or whenever! Sounds like really great advice. I've always been pretty good about saying "No" and not getting overbooked but I'm looking forward to retirement and being able to try some new things and get back to doing some of the old (crocheting). No matter what, books will continue to be my companion, even if I have to listen to them.

Thank you ALL for contributing to this topic! Great thanks to Ann for her wise words! 

What Will YOU Do In your Retirement Years?

What will you do with your day when you retire? You spend 8 hours a day at work (or more), and suddenly you have 8 free hours every day. You can't just sit in a rocker, no way, so what now?

Tell me what you do to keep busy (mentally and physically fit) on a daily basis! Help others to keep grounded, and live happy and productive retired lives!

Thank you!

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