When it came time to retire, a Tucson, Ariz., senior citizen came to grips with his sudden lack of employment responsibilities.
He understood that he no longer was required to wake up before dawn and prepare for an eight- to 10-hour day at work. He knew he would not be on the phone most of the day answering questions about community service projects his agency became associated with.
The man, who just turned 65, realized that he had just entered the final phase of his life –retirement. He successfully completed the other phases – education, establishing a career, and building a family – but this part of his life did not appear to be challenging at all.
However, coming to grips with his retirement did not mean welcoming relaxing days at home or in a recreational vehicle. Coming to grips with retiring to this man meant taking his existence to another level.
Like many senior citizens who do not consider retirement the beginning of the end, this man sought volunteer opportunities to get much more out of his life. He joined the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic men’s fraternal benefit society that promotes charitable, social welfare and public relief works.
The Tucson man, through the Knights of Columbus and personal endeavors, volunteers his time at charitable events, with community service organization and at shelters.
Senior citizens like him can make the most of their post-work experience by researching volunteer opportunities daily for non-profit organizations. The local morning newspaper is a great resource for finding volunteer opportunities at charity events (such as a cancer center run or a food-drive campaign) that need assistance.
Plenty of Web sites are available to assist any senior citizen who wants to volunteer for a certain organization or charity. The tops among them are volunteermatch.org and joinseniorservice.org. Each Web site includes fields where an aspiring volunteer can insert his or her zip code to see what volunteer opportunities are close to home.
The Web site of the American Association of Retired People (aarp.org) is also a valuable resource, as is Canada’s version (located at 50plus.com). Other countries also have retirement-based Web sites that offer information about volunteer work.
Senior citizens who love to remain active and are sports-minded can volunteer their time at professional golf tournaments. Retirees should research to see if a Professional Golf Association Tournament is in their city and take advantage of the volunteering opportunity.
The hundreds of retirees who volunteer their time at such events meet new people, watch pros play and devour some of the spreads the golf clubs have to offer. To many seniors, a day at a golf tournament, at the serene golf course, beats any day staying home watching TV or knitting a blanket.
The Tucson man’s volunteer experience, as is the case with all retirees who remain active in their community, has been very rewarding. He continues to set his alarm clock in order to wake up in the morning to not only make himself feel very much alive, but also help others in need of assistance.
Rarely have I experienced a day in which I phoned my parents – my father is the active retiree in Tucson – and my dad is at home. My mom, beset by shoulder, hip and back problems, is forced to stay at home more than my dad. She always tells me, “Your dad is at a meeting” or “Your dad is working at some charity event today.”
That kind of activity from a 72-year-old puts a smile on anybody’s face and makes the world that much more of a pleasant place. Hope really does spring eternal.