The Top 50 Things to Do Before You’re 50

If you want to make the most of your first five decades, you better get busy travelling, learning and loving, say Brits.

A new study has revealed that, while many expect to have fallen in love, got married, bought a house and had children by the time they reach the big 5-0, Brits aged over 50 also think the Northern Lights are a must-see, while quitting your job and skinny dipping are essential experiences.

Other things everyone should have done before they reach their fifties include staying out all night partying, having sex on the beach and jumping into a pool fully clothed.

It also emerged less than four in ten over 50s have accomplished all of their life aims, with another 39 per cent believing life really does begin at 50.

Ian Atkinson, director of marketing for over 50s insurance experts SunLife, which commissioned the research to mark the launch of its ‘Welcome to Life After 50’ campaign today (March 11), said: “For many, 50 is a milestone age when you may start to look back and take stock of everything you have done or achieved so far.

“And while most people want to be married and settled down in their home with a family, there are also a host of other activities and experiences they want to have tried.

“But with many believing 50 is the point where your life is just getting started, there is still plenty of time to tick more things off the list if you are coming up a little short.”

The study, of 2,000 over 50s carried out with OnePoll, found buying a house is top of the list of things to do before you turn 50, followed by having children and getting married.

Falling in love came fourth with eating fish and chips on the pier at number five.

Donating blood, reading 100 books, seeing your favourite band or musician live, learning a language and attending a music festival completed the top ten.

Other things every 50-year-old should have experienced include travelling somewhere alone, sleeping out underneath the stars and swimming with dolphins.

Travel features heavily in the list including seeing a volcano, riding a gondola in Venice, backpacking across Europe and visiting all seven continents

But there is also a rebellious streak in many Brits with taking part in a protest, getting a tattoo and trying drugs all in the top 50.

Some over 50s have gone one step further with the experiences they have had in their lives so far with one being among one of the first female priests to be ordained while another has foiled a bank raid.

One adventurous over 50 also described how they got a ferry to France with just a sleeping bag and spent three years travelling around Europe while another got engaged the day they met their partner.

Having sex in usual places are also among the weird things over 50s have done, including at a bus stop, in a cave and even at a rubbish dump.

Researchers also revealed 47 per cent of over 50s feel they still have so much more to achieve in their life.

And 62 per cent say there have been times since turning 50 they have worried they’ve not done as much as they would have liked.

And almost nine in ten have at least one regret, with not seeing enough of the world the most common.

Other regrets include losing touch with old friends, marrying the wrong person, not starting a pension soon enough and spending too long worrying about what others thought of them.

SunLife’s Ian Atkinson added: “For Big 50, we’ve interviewed 50,000 people over 50 so that we understand better than any other insurance company what people over 50 want and value. And our research shows that people over 50 are enjoying life more than ever before.

“Far from winding down, many over 50s are busier than ever, trying new things or taking up new hobbies and just generally living life to the full.

“We want to celebrate this with our ‘Welcome to Life After 50’ campaign because currently, this is not how people over 50 are being represented.

“In fact, nine out of ten over 50s say brands aren’t interested in them, and three quarters feel the portrayal of over 50s in the media is an outdated stereotype that does not represent them. With ‘Welcome to Life After 50’ we want to change that.

“Our campaign aims to show what life after 50 is really like, because we recognise that for many, it can be the best years of their life.”


Buy a house
Have kids
Get married
Fall in love
Eat fish and chips on the pier
Donate blood
Read 100 books
See your favourite musician/band live
Learn a language
Attend a music festival
Own a dog
Learn to say no to your mother
Stay out all night partying
See the Northern Lights
Visit Stonehenge
Be able to remember which side of your car the petrol cap is on
Travel somewhere alone
Sleep underneath the stars
Watch a meteor shower
Dance in the rain
Become an expert at something
Quit a job
See a volcano
Visit all seven continents
Throw a coin in the Trevi fountain
Take a helicopter ride
Have sex on a beach
Swim with dolphins
Go skinny dipping
Ride a gondola in Venice
Make a snow angel
Take part in a protest
Own your own business
Go in a hot air balloon
Ride an elephant
Climb Snowdonia
Jump into a pool fully clothed
Backpack across Europe
Perfect a signature dish
Drink beer at Oktoberfest
Run a marathon
Get a tattoo
Ride a Vespa
Watch comedy at Edinburgh Fringe
Write a novel
Write a journal
Spend a month technology free
Try drugs
Have a threesome
Go to an airport and pick a random flight

Top 20 regrets

Not seeing enough of the world
Smoking too much
Losing touch with old friends
Putting on too much weight
Marrying the wrong person
Not starting my pension soon enough
Not learning a new language
Spending too much time worrying about what others thought of me
Not learning an instrument
Not following a career direction I wanted
Living to work rather than working to live
Not looking after my health properly
Not being able to say ‘no’
Not learning more about my family tree
Having children too old
Not having children
Not owning my own business
Not taking up more hobbies
Having children too young
Never living in the countryside

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