by Cara Lumen
Let’s say you are older, a senior citizen if you will, and you find that you cannot or do not want to do things the way you used to. You have reached a point where you need to make some major changes and redefine your life. How do you do that? How do you continue to feel valuable, a contributor to others when your capabilities have changed? That’s a big one.
We all want to feel valuable
I’m at that stage. I’m finally acknowledging that at 77 I’m sort of old. And I’ve recently moved into an independent living environment for seniors. I’m at the completed end of two knee replacement surgeries and I have a new life to define. What do I want most? To feel valuable, to feel that I contribute, and to know that I change lives with what I offer. We all want that wherever we are in our lives. So I’m thinking and listening, and looking around me to see where I am needed and where I want to serve.
Help people learn
My favorite thing to do is to help people learn. I help them develop signature information products, learn to write really great blog posts and support them in creating a profitable online business. But that doesn’t take up all my time.
When I teach something I learn something so my next project is to create a curriculum development system that helps people write focused, powerful, meaningful information products. That will be fun. It means I get to study and learn and create and in a few months I’ll have a great course to teach.
In general I love to learn new things so in this new living environment that gives me access to a community of seniors I’m going to learn more variations of dominos, figure out Mah Jong other than solitaire version online and see what kind of social moments I can create.
What do you want to learn? What do you want to teach others? That’s a good place to start to create a feeling of value for yourself.
Help people change
At this age we have to trust that we have some wisdom to pass along, so one of our gifts can be to offer guidance from our experience. I do that through some of these posts. I write about my process, my concerns and know that some of my readers can identify with this process or problem in their own life. I’ve been a spiritual counselor, I’ve taught holistic systems like Reiki. What insights can you share that will benefit others? Do you give talks? Do you write articles? Do you blog? Do you teach? Do you coach? Do you counsel? Look at what’s important to you and see how you might share it with others to offer them insights and inspiration.
Help people do what they need to do
You can also be physically in service. I’m living in one of the kindest places in the world, where strangers continually offer help with small physical challenges – lifting a grocery bag, stopping by to take out my trash after my surgery. You can deepen the impact of your day if you start looking for small physical things you can do for others. And if you are not in a position to do things physically, give them a smile, a good word, a positive reinforcement.
Make a difference in your world
It’s been a long time since I volunteered for anything, I’ve been too busy making a living. Not that I couldn’t have done both, but I didn’t. So now I am. My son goes to play with the kittens at the shelter to help socialize them. My daughter has been a Boy Scout Leader for a long time, one of the few women who has. My other son volunteers on the board of a program to bring music to small children the age of his sons. Now it’s my turn to find something. Do I want to use my organizing and computer skills? Possibly not, I do that at home. My writing ability? That would be fun but I do that a lot too. So one of the things I’m looking for is a change of pace for myself. Do I want to do something physically demanding? It would probably be good for me but I’m not up to speed on that at the moment. Do I want to be around people? Absolutely. Do I want to make a difference in my world? You know it, and what does that mean? For me the environment and wildlife preservation come to mind.
What criteria do you want to have for your volunteer work?
Find your place of service
I was told that the Council on Aging will get me busy right away. There are volunteer organizations on line. But the first step is to find out where your own heart is, what would make your life richer as you contribute to the lives of others. Take some time to find your perfect place of service and go make a difference in your world.
© 2010 Cara Lumen
You might also like:
A Tale for all Seasons
Are You Doing What You Are Meant to Do?
Create a Sacred Moment Where All Things are Possible
How Are You Nurturing Your inner self
How to Create Positive Change
How to Keep Learning Even if You Think You’re Too Old
Let The Matter Unfold In Its Own Time.