Retirement brings big changes, but is also a great time to evaluate your priorities and make choices that will help you be happy and fulfilled. Volunteering is one way to stay active and engaged, and comes with numerous benefits for both you and your community (just ask our retired volunteers here at United Way). Here are my Top 5 Reasons to Retire United:
- Contribute Your Expertise
Maybe you have business experience, or you’re good with computers. Maybe you know about finances, or you have a talent for making people feel recognized and appreciated. Maybe your own life experiences have helped you understand what it means to be hungry, homeless, or struggling. Maybe you’re organized, diligent, or gifted at inspiring others. Put your perspective, skills and talents to use where they’re most needed and appreciated.
- Try Something New
Volunteering can help you expand your comfort zone. Every day is different, and learning new skills can help your mind stay active and youthful. After a lengthy career it can be exciting to see the different personality traits and interests that emerge when you find yourself in a different setting. Volunteering also gives you the chance to do things you’ve never experienced, whether it be working with kids, planting vegetables on a farm, or learning about the different agencies that serve people in your community.
- Find Your Passion
Maybe you’ve always felt strongly about hunger but never knew what to do about it. Maybe you’ve worked in education and want to continue contributing there. Maybe you have a desire to give back but you’re not sure where to start. Volunteering can help you discover what issues are important to you, and can provide both a sense of purpose and a meaningful way to contribute.
- Meet New People
Making social connections in retirement can be difficult: you no longer have an immediate group of people to interact with on a daily basis. The social aspect of volunteering is one of the main things people bring up when they’re asked what keeps them coming back. Hanging out with other people who share your interest in serving the community- getting to know one another, joking around, discussing the news- is just plain fun. In my experience, the people I’ve met while volunteering tend to be friendlier, more positive, and always ready to welcome someone new.
- Change Lives
Volunteering allows you to be a part of something larger than yourself and give back to your community. And the work you do has a real impact- in the end, your time and effort keeps people from going hungry, provides shelter, healthcare, and educational opportunities, and helps them get back on their feet. You have the ability to make our community a little stronger, a little kinder, and a little more united.