If you read Dixie’s last blog about volunteering, you’re probably full of ideas. One of the best ways to fulfill your desire to volunteer in retirement is to mentor a young person. You’d be surprised at the number of younger people who would benefit from your insights and your attention.
You might be able to mentor even before you retire. You’ve probably noticed in your workplace that there are fresh employees who seem a little like “deer in the headlights” when they first join your employer.
Instead of being a spectator to their discomfort and floundering, make yourself available as a “big brother or sister,” a mentor to gently relay information that will make their transition into the seduction of work a little easier.
Mentors Make a Difference
A good friend of mine, recently retired, became involved in her church women’s group. She had reached the pinnacle of her career by working hard and then working harder and harder still. The big recognition reward in her company in addition to salary was earning the coveted pink Cadillac. She notched 11 of them on her company belt while taking care of her husband and two children.
After retirement she attended a Bible study for herself which allowed her, in retrospect, to examine her life, to look closely at herself and to begin to understand “Sisterhood.” The “volunteer gig” part of her church relationship in retirement was to spend her time in the “Mom’s Session” with the young mothers to partner with them and validate the importance of the time they were spending with their children while sometimes yearning for the postponed professional life.
My friend’s greatest contribution to these young moms was to remind them how valuable was this time spent with their children and to remind them that this too would pass. There was ample time left for them to meet their career goals.
What are other options besides work? Explore Volunteerism!
Find a volunteer gig – not something to fill time, but something that really fulfills you.
Volunteerism is an area that is wide open. Places where you can make a difference both for those you are helping and for helping yourself. Visit this link offered by the Corporation of National and Community Services. Whatever your passions are, whatever touches your heart, there are many places that welcome volunteers.
How can you help?
Think about our own life span so far and you will be able to picture the life spans of those who may need some type of help. For example:
There are babies to be rocked, and toddlers to be watched.
Children need tutoring and teens need mentoring.
College kids need a surrogate ‘family-like’ place to regroup.
Nurseries need helpers and senior centers need caregivers.
Blood banks need donors
Missions need teachers.
Libraries need storytellers
Hospitals need folks ready with a quick smile and a reassuring hand.
Election headquarters need campaigners.
School field trips need chaperones.
Warm meals need delivered.
Those disabled need transportation.
Lonely folks need company.
The list, like the “beat of the Sixties” that we Boomers are so familiar with, just goes on.
Most of these volunteer opportunities don’t require special skills. They require the precious gift that you now have, time. Time is the same commodity that is in short supply when you’re working 40 hours a week.
Research shows there is as much benefit to you from volunteering as there is for those you are helping.
You might be counting down the days to retirement. I know I was, but I always knew that I’d want to do some kind of work when my “career” came to an end.
You don’t have to rush into it. Take some time to bask in the joy of ignoring the alarm clock. Remember when you were a kid and the early days of June heralded the long and wonderful summer ahead? That’s how the start of retirement is. The world opens up before you with endless possibilities.
But if you decide you want to work, how do you get started? You might want to make a list of all the things you’ve been interested in doing over the years. Maybe you want to remain in the field where you’ve worked, or maybe you’d like to branch out and try something completely new.
You may be able to turn your current skill-set into a consulting job or a part-time teaching position, either on-line or in a classroom. If that’s what you want to do, then finding part time work in those field might be easier while you still have your career position and contacts. Dixie worked for several years as a marketing consultant when she retired, and I’m still teaching online. It’s wonderful to get up and work in your pajamas.
If that isn’t feasible and you want to try something you’ve never done like flower arranging or working at the golf course, then a time lapse after retirement shouldn’t hurt your choices. Go for it. It should be fun.
“According to US News, 60% of workers over sixty look for a job in retirement.”
Say yes invites you to do new things for the whole first year of retirement. You can pare down and be selective after that.
Before retirement, our lives are pretty much consumed by the time on the job and the ancillary time required to get to and from the job, prepare meals, oversee the household responsibilities and carve a little time for immediate friends and family.
In today’s rapid-paced fast lane, most opportunities not directly related to “the career” are categorized as “back burner.” Sometimes that burner never gets revisited while the front burner gets “burned out.”
Now you have the luxury of time. If you plan thoughtfully, you will have the absence of “hurry.” That formula should result in life fulfillment and self-actualization. You can try on different shoes to see what’s the most comfortable fit for this new phase of your life.
Your neighbors, friends, and family are used to having you available for snatches of time before or after work. They have been conditioned to respect your constraints and not bother you for what may be trivial. They have a routine in their lives that hasn’t included you, their too-busy friend. Host a little “getting to know you” brunch at your home to get reacquainted. It would be fun!
The good news is that you are available now! Go to an unhurried lunch. Take a relaxed shopping trip. Play a round of golf. Attend a class. The list is endless. This is the time to reach out to friends and neighbors and let them know that you would like to be included. Continue reading Retirement 2: Say Yes the First Year of Retirement
Valentine’s Day – though unbelievably commercial – can be nice. Hearts and flowers and candy. What’s not to like? That’s all well and good if you’re getting hearts and flowers and candy. But what if you’re not? Positive aging means more than just being positive about other people!
Okay, so you have this precious new gift. 40-60 hours a week that you haven’t had for the past several years. How will you fulfill your life?… not your work life, your retired life? How will you use these 60- minute gifts?
Take a couple of “vacation weeks” and decide. If you want to sleep for two weeks, do it. If you want to lay on the beach with your toes in the sand, do it. These hours are YOURS!
After decompression from a workweek filled up by others, decide how to arrange this next very important phase of your life? Your expanded life. Your freed-up life!