Bush, 66, will make a rare public appearance Thursday at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas.
Bush also will host a benefit bicycle ride for wounded veterans at his famed Crawford ranch, but for the most part is "happy to be out of the limelight," he told USA Today.
"My life is obviously much simpler than it was in the past, but in many ways the simplicity creates contentment," Bush said.
Bush remains an avid golfer and has also been dabbling in painting, which USA Today said became public knowledge when a hacker group got hold of photos of his works and posted them on the Internet.
"There is a discipline required in painting that I like," he said. "It's mellowing, and there's nothing wrong, particularly for a Type A personality, to mellow out."
Bush said he follows the news, but doesn't watch a lot of television. Still, the repercussions of his eventful two terms in office go on. The newspaper said a number of anti-war protesters were expected to be on hand in Dallas for Thursday's dedication ceremony.