Now I’m Retired. What Do I Do?

Last Friday you retired. Now you’re wondering what to do. You have 40 hours or more every week on your hands. How do you fill that? At work, perhaps you were a boss. Now the only one you give orders to is you.

Your only plan was to relax, take naps, and maybe even get away on a trip. Well – that doesn’t last long. What do you do then? Imagine what you can accomplish for the rest of your life. What will you achieve next? It is your time, your schedule, your passion.

One Caution

You may have thought you would spend more time with your spouse. Frequently men have a harder time here. They fail to realize that their wives did very well without them throughout their marriages. That won’t change when they retire.

Some husbands try to change what their wives do around the home. They observe and feel they see a better way of doing things. Disagreements occur.

To restore sanity, one has to get away from the other. They get out of the home during the day. Since the husband has no place to go, the wife frequently looks for places to spend time. She may increase her involvement with church groups or local civic organizations.

In a very short period of time the retiree is bored and feels lonely. They never believed it would be this way.

How Can You Prevent Boredom from Setting In?

Take some time to figure out what your purpose is. Then start to do things in line with your purpose — things that you are passionate about. Your world is full of possibilities, new passions to pursue, part-time or volunteer work that is rewarding, people to connect with, and living a healthier life.

You may want to give back and help others. Look at volunteering at churches or with nonprofit organizations. You may also want to consult with small- to medium-sized businesses. One way is to call RSVP, a national resource for senior and retired volunteers. One call (in Knoxville, Tennessee, to 865-524-2786) can connect you to a variety of fulfilling volunteer opportunities that include driving older adults to errands in a provided vehicle, Mobile Meals (known as Meals on Wheels elsewhere), Feed A Pet (pet food delivered to homebound seniors who have pets), O’Connor Senior Center, working with adults on Medicare enrollment issues, minor home repairs and yard work with Project LIVE, fundraising efforts, and much more.

You may have a desire to learn something that you’ve never done before. Enroll in a class and do it.

You may also be able to teach. For a start, look for opportunities with local literacy groups, mentoring programs, and school reading programs. For more ideas, go to AARP’s Life Reimagined site or check out Seniors for Creative Learning at the University of Tennessee Knoxville (meets at the O’Connor Center).

Take time to visit your family more frequently. Before you retired you probably never could visit them during the day. Now you can. If you have younger grandchildren, consider babysitting for them.

If you always wanted to travel, make sure to take trips and see those places you always wanted to see.

While working, you may never have had time to develop friendships. Now, be deliberate about doing that. Look for people in your age group you like and spend time on a regular basis with them. You can meet at a fast food restaurant, a coffee shop, a bakery, or a local diner—any place that suits your fancy.

Get healthier: Wellness classes, exercise, cooking classes, meditation, tai chi, and yoga are all popular ways to get and stay healthy. Classes are also a great way to meet new people or an activity to do with friends. If nothing else, just put on a comfortable pair of shoes and go for a walk in your neighborhood or find a nearby greenway. Get out! Breathe! Move! You’ll be glad you did.


A person in relatively good health today can expect to live another 25 to 30 years. You have to make sure your finances will last that long. So you need to plan accordingly.

If finances are an issue, you may have to make adjustments in your lifestyle. You may even find it necessary to get a part-time job. That may have never crossed your mind but may be the only way to make ends meet. Get a job that you are passionate about – one where you’re making a difference.

Realize that the older you get the less likely it will be for you to find work. So try to get that job pretty soon after you retire. You may even want to talk to a financial planner to help you make a savings plan with the income from your second career.

We Can Help

The Office on Aging can help retirees get the most out of retirement. We have many programs in which you can get involved. For those who want to volunteer, we offer a wide variety of opportunities. We also work with a broad spectrum of community organizations that you might be interested in. If you want to know more about what we do, please browse this website or call 865-524-2786.