Do you want to make a positive difference somewhere? Do you want to do something special, something meaningful? Most of us do, but often we think it’s too late. We’re ‘over the hill’ and our useful days are over. Maybe we don’t know how and figure we just don’t have what it takes to make such a difference.
This thinking is so wrong! Don’t let a number, as in your age, tell you what you can and can’t do!
You may be retired, living on a restrictive budget, or in a retirement home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something to help others. You are in a perfect position to make a positive difference to something or someone.
Volunteer in Retirement
What are your passions? What do you care about? Is there a charity you want to support? Maybe a grass roots or start-up charity, that doesn’t have a marketing resource? Even small charities need help. They focus on their mission and not on raising money. Most just don’t have the time and resources for the ‘business side’ of their operations. This is where you can all step in and help. Did I mention that you’ll feel great that you are giving back?
Regardless of our abilities, most of us do want to make a positive difference, and do something special and meaningful. This is easy, we can volunteer. There are many worthy charities that desperately need help with the basic everyday skills we all have. From animal and child care, to gardening, renovating, painting, as well as coaching on organizing and managing groups of people. The needs are endless.
Here are 5 excellent reasons to volunteer in retirement
- It feels good to give back – All the money in the world can’t compensate for the good feelings we get when we help those less fortunate. Don’t you love how you feel when you see that big smile on the face of the child you helped, the mother you supported, or the man you helped rescue his cat. We all love to feel good. Giving back feels good.
- Gives us purpose – Volunteering gives us something to do with a set of activities and a schedule for doing them. Most volunteering opportunities involve a routine which mitigates boredom and/or the onset of depression, that many of us fall into from the lack of purpose.
- Lets us explore our passions – The majority of us didn’t have careers that let us explore our passions. We had to find jobs that paid the bills. Feeding cats just doesn’t pay the electricity, water and rent due each month. There are many opportunities with organizations involved in animal care, gardening, basic construction and athletic activities. We can explore our passions, while giving back.
- Makes us feel valuable – As we get older and our ‘work life’ ends, we can begin to feel useless, that we are no longer needed. Volunteering helps us find value in our lives. It improves both our self-value and self-esteem. Through volunteering we feel we are positively contributing to society. We see value in our efforts and how our volunteering is important to something bigger than ourselves.
- Provides a positive sense of accomplishment – We are never too old to learn new things, but often it is a challenge to take a course. Volunteering allows us to learn new skills and techniques. Whether you are volunteering with children, animals, or another aspect of community life, you are always learning new things and new ways to do old things. There is a positive sense of accomplishment that comes from time well spent with learning, especially when we see the benefits of our new skills.
Volunteering in retirement is something we should all consider and explore. There are many excellent charities that need people for a variety of tasks. They can be as physical, or as passive, as we want. We can indulge our passions and interests, as we make a positive contribution to those in need. And feel great doing it.
It’s all good!
Article written by Dr. Perley-Ann Friedman, who is now living on Koh Lanta, a small island in southern Thailand. This Canadian is enjoying her alternative lifestyle as she eases into retirement. She has transitioned from her hectic career in IT to supporting Boomers to stay positive, make good life choices and find happiness each and every day as they journey through life. Her book on ‘Volunteer Fundraising Simplified’ will be available later this year.