Three seemingly unrelated items:
- I have found someone to replace myself at my part-time consulting gig, so I should be back to full-time retirement within a few months!
- I have seen the trailer to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, four times now and I really want to see the movie. I might even want to visit India.
- A couple of years ago my father-in-law wrote this post about traveling and learning with Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel).
One of the things I have learned about myself while working at my part-time consulting gig this last year is that it’s important for me to do things that are hard. I don’t mean all the time, but I need to intersperse periods of leisure with periods of challenge. I’d prefer to find the balance that doesn’t cause undue stress, but I know that I have to do this for myself now that I won’t be consulting anymore.
In a job situation, it comes naturally; the challenges present themselves without much effort to find them. In retirement, you have to set the challenges up yourself. They don’t generally present themselves on their own. After I’ve had a chance to unwind from this last working gig, I’m going to be looking for something to do where I feel like I’m contributing, like I’m part of a team, and where I am challenged. I’ll be looking for a volunteer gig.
My strongest passion, when contemplating volunteering, is working with dogs. I am happiest when in the presence of dogs. Yet, I’m not quite ready to commit to a canine member for our family. I’m enjoying the freedom to travel and make spontaneous plans too much to adopt a dog. And I fear that if I volunteer at an animal shelter, I’ll fall in love with too many dogs and I won’t have the willpower to resist bringing them all home.
But there is some amazing matchmaking going on now with dogs and their people. Like the match made by an Ohio organization, 4 Paws, between Chancer, a Golden Retriever, and his boy Iyal. Iyal was adopted from a Russian orphanage by an Atlanta couple. The couple learned after years of difficulties with Iyal that he was a victim of fetal alcohol syndrome. Chancer is helping Iyal.
And in another heart-warming story, Devon, another sweet Retriever, is helping his Iraq war veteran deal with the debilitating effects of her post-traumatic stress disorder. Where therapy and medication have failed, Devon is succeeding.
These stories inspire me.
But back to the three seemingly unrelated items.
Inspired by the release of the Marigold movie, and “building on the film’s themes of hope and reinvention in the second half of life,” Participant Media has joined with Encore.org and Road Scholar to sponsor a contest, “Marigold Ideas for Good.” Contestants over 50 can submit their ideas for bettering their communities, and 30 of them will win a $5,000 grant to help make it happen.
I’m looking forward to reading their inspirational ideas, and maybe even yours! (Click here to enter.)
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