Retiree Life Lesson:
HAPPY NEW YEAR Retiree Visitors!
I didn't intend to post today... after all, it's New Years Day 2012 and I should relax a bit.... but I need to pass my own Life Lesson along.
I hope this helps someone out there!
Two weeks ago, my church advised they were hosting and Emergency Church Shelter for 20 homeless women and 10 children. Another church had cancelled, and little time to coordinate this project, my church was on it. Instead of 4 months of prep time, they had just over 2 weeks -- at Christmas time!
I followed the crowd into the room, intending to donate supplies. Everyone there was willing to pitch in somehow... the power of our church community is Unbelievable!
As I'm searching for the donation sheets, I overheard the Coordinator speaking to another gal... asking if she'd be the Food Coordinator. The gal hesitated, saying she worked full-time.
I, without any thought or consideration on what I was taking on, said: "I will!"
Wait -- Who said that? Did that come out of MY mouth? Me? The analyzer? The procrastinator?
The Coordinator "hired me" on the spot. Done. Good thing she didn't know I wasn't so sure...
Reality sets in. I'm driving home. What the HECK did I just do? Logical self steps in -- I am almost done with Christmas, I have no kids for busy holidays, I'm not working... why not? Then I gave myself a mental pep talk -- Rah Rah, You can do this, Wendy!
Over the past two weeks, I've worked hard. HARDER than I have in the past 20 months since I've retired! Oh, it feels so good too! I always loved a challenge at work and this certainly stepped up into that category! Yikes!
I'm going to be glad when its over -- it's also been stressful -- but it also has really truly renewed my sense of self.
THAT is why I chose to write this today!
If you are retired and have lost yourself along the way -- something I never thought *I* would do -- I think it happened slowly, over time.... Try Volunteering!
When I think about it now, I had fallen into a rut of sorts, though I didn't realize it. I worked on my websites, but even for an introvert -- people in life are necessary.
I've done so much this past 2 weeks, must-do work that I haven't done since I worked as Retirement Manager almost 2 yrs ago. Yes, I worked on my website if and when I chose to. I did work, many hours -- but this is different.
Connecting with people, scheduling many volunteers, food donations, lotsa emails and more... all necessary tasks, all connections for the Greater Good!
I needed this volunteer experience to remind me what I have to offer to the world. Oddly enough, I tell retirees on this website the same thing all the time .. but didn't heed my own advice!
My faith in MYSELF has been renewed.. and it feels darn good!
I'm so happy I volunteered to do this... if you are searching for a happy fulfilled retirement, try volunteering. If you try something and it's not right for you, try something else. There is a big busy world out there, struggling to make ends meet in today's crazy society -- big business, small business, churches, community organizations... surely you have something to offer your own community ?
Especially if you have few friends, this is another perfect way to find some!
One last thing, on FAITH -- I have been worrying about pulling this off in two weeks. I stressed over the food donations, the volunteers, the work I needed to accomplish... lost sleep over it all. Guess what? All I needed was FAITH and everything simply fell perfectly into place, just as God intended. (See the footnote to see how far this went!)
p.s. Add your comment below if you've personally gained a sense of self, in any area, as a result of volunteering. Help others see what volunteering does for your own sense of self!! Please... help another retiree and comment below.
Footnote: Yesterday I went shopping with Martha, the Coordinator, for Heritage Church
for last minute items we still needed for the emergency kitchen. I sent her an anxiety-filled email the night before... She pretty much said: Have Faith, Stop Worrying!
At church yesterday, we got a few cash donations... and were thrilled. Off we went, shopping, with $140 cash, fully intending to use credit cards for whatever else we needed.
Guess what? At the last store, we watched as the clerk rang up our bill, and Martha counted out her last dollar bills.... she got a handful of change back. Shopping was done.
NOW, think about it -- yes, it could be coincidental, but I believe it was help from above. We shopped for bulk items, from 3-4 stores -- and ended up with change. We got EXACTLY in donations what we needed that day!
Have FAITH.. it works!
Happy New Year!