When I first retired, another retiree advised me not to jump into any commitments, volunteer or paid, for at least one year. I think that has been good advice. Taking a year, or even two, gives you the chance to see where things lead as you get into the groove of retirement. Over the last several months, I have, from time to time, browsed various volunteer websites. So far, nothing has really compelled me to get involved yet. An animal shelter would be the natural choice for this dog-lover, but as most of you know, I would find that way too tempting.
Today's post is a guest post by Bob Lowry, who retired nine years ago from a 35-year career in radio broadcasting. In his last 15 years, he logged 100,000 miles a year flying around the country to consult for radio stations. Now that he's sticking closer to home, he's blogging about retirement at A Satisfying Retirement Lifestyle, and has some great thoughts to share about volunteering in your retirement.
For many, volunteering is an important part of life. Helping those less fortunate can be a very rewarding experience. But, the decision to become involved should not be taken lightly. You are making a commitment of your time and energy. Do any of these 5 reasons strike a chord with you?
- Whatever You Have To Give Is Needed. Don’t think that your life didn’t prepare you to help anyone else. Every one of us knows something that can benefit another. Can you read a book or add numbers in a checkbook? Then you can tutor a youngster in reading or math. Can you file papers or work a computer? Local organizations or your local library would welcome you warmly. Can you patch a drywall or fix a plumbing leak? Habitat for Humanity needs you today. Feed or play with dogs at the pound. Visit the elderly at a nursing care center. The needs in your community are endless. You can contribute something.
- Try Something Different. If you spent your days in an office, volunteer to help clean up a park or historical site. If you spent all your time working with tools and lumber, develop your people skills at the Red Cross. Volunteering is a perfect opportunity to uncover abilities you didn’t know you have. Give of yourself in a new way.
- Connect with People In Your Community. Too many of us are tempted to spend our days sitting at home. Volunteering gets you out of your easy chair and back into life. You’ll meet new people, some of whom you might really like. You might develop an entirely new group of friends. If your spouse needs some private time, by leaving the house you’ll be making your home life better, too.
- Appreciate What You Have. It is very easy to complain about our lot in life: not enough money, health costs, car repairs. We all need a reminder from time to time that we take much of what we have for granted. Helping anyone who is less fortunate quickly lets you know you have it good. Your life begins to look much better.
- Feel Good. Helping others is important to them. You’ll make someone’s life a bit easier or more joyful. At the same time, you will feel good about yourself. Nothing beats seeing the smile on a child’s face when she finally solves the homework problem. Few things are as heartwarming as that hug from a lonely person at the Senior Center. There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling good when you help others. In fact, that is one way you know you what are doing matters.
Over the past ten years I’ve been involved with Meals on Wheels, spiritual counseling, tutoring GED students, and working with men while they were in prison and then after their release. Sometimes the commitment causes me to have to pass on something I’d rather do. However, the feeling of helping someone else always outweighs the downside.
This is a post from Retirement: A Full-Time Job
Special thanks to Bob for taking the time to share with my readers!
Great guest post. I especdially agree iwth the new social circle. And without sounding crass, volunteering is a great networking tool if you think you might want to work a bit here and there.
Posted by: Frugal Texas Gal (Barb) | August 06, 2010 at 06:49 PM
i've volunteered, even before i retired. all i can say is choose wisely! approach it more so then a job search. know what "you" want to get out of it and what your willing to put up with. but just as there is someone for everyone out there so to is a volunteer program. it's not crass to network for some work ms. frugal but you can network for interests too that maybe your circle of friends aren't into ie.. sports,outdoors,cultural activities. altruism is nice but what about some fun?
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Posted by: Mary Heidcamp | February 16, 2013 at 03:53 AM