Over the course of the past four years, I’ve met an increasing number of retirees who have yet to find an enjoyable and productive use of their manifold talents and unbridled energy. Some have been so negatively impacted by retirement that they’re beginning to exhibit signs of depression, and medical issues are beginning to emerge. Given the plethora of needs in the communities where we live, and the talent possessed by retirees, there’s no need for any of us retirees to be bored, nor for needs of the community to go unmet.
AROHE is a dynamic member network that advocates for, educates and serves campus-based organizations for retired faculty and staff. By promoting a culture that values and encourages retirees' continuing contributions to campus and community life, AROHE helps colleges and universities to harness the remarkable talents of their retired faculty and staff to further the missions of their institutions.
Many couples dream of being joined at the hip when they're no longer working. A more satisfying approach may be 'parallel play.'
Irma Elliott found her life's calling at 68 years old, when she retired from a lifetime of secretarial work and started volunteering at elementary schools.
Lopez and Elliott work together as a team in the class. Elliott goes over the students' homework each week to see where individual children are struggling so she and Lopez can give more attention to that area.
Elliott is strict, Lopez said, so the children are sometimes surprised at first.
In many foreign languages there actually is no word for retirement. It simply does not exist in their culture. Retirement is a very European/American idea and concept. We most often think of retirement as never working again and doing what we want to do when we want to do it. I am becoming more and more convinced our American idea of retirement is not really what it should be. When we retire, could it not entail working part-time or volunteering? Think about all the knowledge, wisdom and experience we have gained throughout our lives.
But guess what? The boomers don't seem to want to go to golf communities and play cards or move into assisted living facilities. Well, why not? That sounds great, doesn't it? The fact is... they've got plans. Big plans. Today, people in their 50s and 60s are going back to school, starting new businesses (55+ is the fastest growing demographic for new businesses), they're building new homes, starting charter schools, exploring the world, campaigning for candidates, even joining the Peace Corp. Retirement it's definitely not.
By 2006, as Kathy began thinking about retirement and Clay started to cut back on work, the Smilies began taking disaster relief classes. Since then, Kathy has retired and Clay has left engineering. Now they volunteer almost exclusively as natural disaster responders. “We’ve been to Joplin, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, we’ve been to (Hurricane) Sandy, we were up in New Jersey,” said Clay. “I think last year we went on three, maybe four trips that would be about two weeks each,” said Kathy.
You know the kind of difference you want to make in the world. But like many, you may find yourself stuck, asking yourself, “Where do I start?”
Too many people have wonderful ideas that they never put into action because they get overwhelmed at the beginning. Largely this happens because they let fear guide them instead of their inspiration.