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Wed Sep 5, 2018, 03:48 AM

a revelation about being retired.

I have been retired almost 10 years.
I never realized until now how much I had missed:
taking on a task, being nervous about accomplishing it, and mastering the task, and being good at it, and feeling proud, and having other people acknowledge me.

(I guess that happens in retirement, too, but for me, most of the tasks I take on are fairly tedious - like buy a new bra, lol - and usually affect only me. )

I recently volunteered with my local immigrant advocacy agency to teach a class in English as a Second Language (which is one of the tings I did as a worker). Then - I volunteered to coordinate tutors and match tutors to students.
Which turned out to be more complicated and more time-consuming than I had anticipated.
There were times I regretted taking it on, and felt stressed.

But last night I sent my updated report on the tutors to the directors, and even before I received their big thanks -- they are wonderful about acknowledging people --
I felt the glow of a job accomplished and done well.
I felt/feel proud of myself - in a way I haven't since I was a worker. I know my work is important, the students are recent immigrants, and if a student falls through the cracks they might not learn English.

For me, it's new knowledge about myself.
Anyone else experience this?
Something you've done in retirement that you feel proud of?

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Arrow 20 replies Author Time Post
Reply a revelation about being retired. (Original post)
ellenrr Sep 2018 OP
mgardener Sep 2018 #1
ellenrr Sep 2018 #5
Native Sep 2018 #8
True Dough Sep 2018 #2
ellenrr Sep 2018 #6
True Dough Sep 2018 #9
TexasProgresive Sep 2018 #3
ellenrr Sep 2018 #7
Sherman A1 Sep 2018 #4
HipChick Sep 2018 #10
Cryptoad Sep 2018 #13
greymattermom Sep 2018 #11
empedocles Sep 2018 #12
PoindexterOglethorpe Sep 2018 #14
llmart Oct 2018 #15
PoindexterOglethorpe Oct 2018 #16
llmart Oct 2018 #17
PoindexterOglethorpe Oct 2018 #18
llmart Oct 2018 #19
PoindexterOglethorpe Oct 2018 #20

Response to ellenrr (Original post)

Wed Sep 5, 2018, 05:01 AM

1. I had to retire

When I was 45 due to a back injury. I knew I would become severely depressed doing nothing.
I had volunteered at my church and the kids school during my working years.
But I decided to branch out and began volunteering at my local hospital and became a Master Gardener volunteer. I just completed my 15th year at both places.
I feel a sense of accomplishment and I love giving back to my community.

You are doing great work and I am glad that you are helping immigrants !

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Response to mgardener (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 5, 2018, 05:45 AM

5. You are also doing great work - in two places. (nt)

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Response to mgardener (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 5, 2018, 05:56 AM

8. I just went to my first Master Gardener class last night!

such a great group of people too!

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Response to ellenrr (Original post)

Wed Sep 5, 2018, 05:07 AM

2. Kudos to you

for working with immigrants. That's a "bucket list" item for me. I'm still 15 to 20 years from retirement. I'm a hospice volunteer and I find that fulfilling, although it's also emotionally draining in some ways, of course. But helping newcomers to the country is another volunteer experience I'd like to try.

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Response to True Dough (Reply #2)

Wed Sep 5, 2018, 05:50 AM

6. I hope you try it one day... Yesterday I spoke with a young man from Afghanistan,

he had been in detention in this country for I don't know how long-
and finally been released.
and now he is working selling bicycles at a major retailer.
And he is taking the test for a driver's license.
He is so proud of himself (rightly).
There are such needs: learning English being only one of them. The organization I am with does most of it with faithful volunteers and a small dedicated staff: taking people to their doctor appt., children being registered in school, help with an apartment, people in the community donate tons of furniture for the apartments, kitchen things, clothes. Very generous. Finding them jobs. The people who make it here (the ones I work with) have not only left a war-torn country like The Congo, but then spent years in a detention center in another country, before arriving here. Amazing people.

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Response to ellenrr (Reply #6)

Wed Sep 5, 2018, 06:03 AM

9. Yes, I have met many amazing immigrants

in my day-to-day life. So often they have expertise in various fields in their home countries but their credentials are not recognized here. So they wind up working minimum wage jobs, often two or three jobs to earn enough to keep their families afloat. I wish there were more "bridging programs" so that these people could upgrade their already existing skills to American/Canadian standards. Asking them to start over in their respective careers is unfair and unrealistic.

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Response to ellenrr (Original post)

Wed Sep 5, 2018, 05:33 AM

3. Good for you

When we were in the work force often at good part of our self image was wrapped up in what we did.

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Response to TexasProgresive (Reply #3)

Wed Sep 5, 2018, 05:50 AM

7. exactly!

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Response to ellenrr (Original post)

Wed Sep 5, 2018, 05:39 AM

4. Just started some volunteer work at a local historical group

And I find itís not too bad. They work to preserve some of the old houses and family history of the area. Mostly I am carrying boxes and moving furniture as the HQ house is being renovated. Iím not an archivist or know much about the founding families, but I can tote stuff and push a broom.

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Response to ellenrr (Original post)

Wed Sep 5, 2018, 06:08 AM

10. About to take early retirement

it will be interesting to see what it brings up

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Response to HipChick (Reply #10)

Wed Sep 5, 2018, 06:56 AM

13. For me, being retired is like,,,

being born Rich but without all the money!

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Response to ellenrr (Original post)

Wed Sep 5, 2018, 06:20 AM

11. I've just done a few things, but one of them was volunteering at netroots nation.

I did an entire day of giving out swag bags, and i monitored the facebook live feeds of sessions. I got to see some amazing folks speak at the main session. I also do occasional grant reviews for NIH and the Migraine Research Foundation. I signed up to be a poll worker in November in Georgia 6. I just got back from a drive trip to Door County, WI, the Minnesota State Fair, and 2 visits to my grandkids in Cincinnati. They are in the background in Aftab's baseball commercial, and my daughter in law is a volunteer in Ohio 1.

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Response to ellenrr (Original post)

Wed Sep 5, 2018, 06:30 AM

12. My wife and I do a lot of 'volunteer work'.

We spend 3 days a week in DC, [traffic makes daily commuting very difficult], taking care of our 2 year old granddaughter. Great work, works well for all 5 of us. 2 year olds are high energy, all about discovering life itself. Only problem is that we really don't have much time for 'retirement', - a little of that would be nice. We get about 2 weeks per year vacation.

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Response to ellenrr (Original post)

Fri Sep 7, 2018, 01:16 PM

14. What I like about being retired is that my every day, week, month, and year

are entirely my own.

I never had a job I loved. I went to work, did what I was supposed to, and got a paycheck. So the idea of missing going to work is completely alien to me. Plus, I'm a night owl, and so the rare times I had daytime job it was torture.

I have done volunteer work in the recent past at the local homeless shelter, and I really enjoyed doing that. The faith group I volunteered with has stopped doing that -- aging congregation means not enough people to continue -- and I somewhat miss that.

I do a certain amount of travelling, mainly to my science fiction things.

Like a lot of people I could use more money, and I periodically think about finding a part time job or some sort of temp work, but the lure of not being responsible to anyone or anything else is, so far, much greater than the money.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #14)

Mon Oct 15, 2018, 09:39 AM

15. I retired this past January...

I decided to give myself a full year before I figured out how I would feel about not going to work any longer. It's now October and I'm finding out a few things about myself. I've often said that unless you're independently wealthy, you have either the money to do things but not the time or vice versa.

I've done a lot of volunteer work in my younger days and some of that I can no longer do because I'm older, so now I need to find something I can do where I don't feel tied to a regular schedule. So many of the volunteer opportunities want you to commit to a schedule and who wants that when they're retired?

Anyway, too much time on my hands isn't good either.

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Response to llmart (Reply #15)

Mon Oct 15, 2018, 11:15 AM

16. Turns out my church group is still doing volunteer work at the shelter.

They just do a half week now, not a full week. So yesterday, today, and tomorrow I'm helping out there. The downside is that I'm on my feet for about five hours, and at the end of it my back really hurts.

And yes, it's the being committed to a schedule that I don't like.

Another issue to me is that some volunteer works are gigs that really ought to be paid. An example: a friend who lives in the Pittsburgh area is an "ambassador" at the airport. He mainly works with inbound international flights, helping people negotiate going through customs and immigration. He speaks several languages, which is quite useful. But back when he used to be an actual airline employee at that same airport, it was airline staff who did that. My friend says that back then they always knew if anyone arriving needed a wheelchair, what connections were being made, and so on. The volunteers are given no information, and at least a couple of the flights each week are with Wow airlines, which has no staff of their own at that airport, meaning if the flight is late and passengers miss a connection, there is absolutely no one responsible for them.

That is not a job that should be foisted on volunteers, most of whom have never worked for an airline (my friend is rare in that group in that he has) and simply don't know or have the resources to help out the passengers in a meaningful way if things go awry.

Another typical volunteer job that long since should have been turned over to paid staff is hospital information desks. My last job before I retired was working, paid work, at the information desk at my local hospital for several years. It was part time, 4pm to 8pm, and the only reason it wasn't staffed by volunteers, as it was from 8am to 4pm, was they couldn't get enough volunteers to cover it in the evenings. Oh, and weekends were paid staff. Prior to that job I'd worked at the same hospital doing outpatient registration, so I knew a reasonable amount about the hospital, where things were located, and so on. In the first months I was working the info desk, almost every single day during the brief changeover from volunteer to me (and every day of the week there were different volunteers on duty) I'd catch them giving out bad information. Now, don't get me wrong. Volunteers are almost motivated by very good intentions, and it is good of them to spend their time on whatever volunteer work they are doing. But, as I once told the CEO of the hospital, having volunteers on the information desk made sense in the 19th century, and through the first half of the 20th. But as medicine changed, became more technical, with HIPPA, with computers, the job had changed significantly and should be done by paid staff.

The two big problems with the information desk volunteers is that most of them were very uneasy with the computer, even though the look-up of patients is remarkably easy, and they tended to violate HIPPA in a big way. I'm in Santa Fe, which is a small city, population just under 85,000, and a lot of the people here are related to each other. Which means the volunteers, despite being trained (supposedly) on HIPPA, would regularly blurt out information they had no business blurting out.

Enough of a rant. I do enjoy the very limited amount of volunteering I do, and love my vast amounts of free time.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #16)

Mon Oct 15, 2018, 11:51 AM

17. Thanks for the very interesting account.

I understand completely what you're saying that some volunteer jobs shouldn't be done by volunteers, and I fear that with us boomers, organizations will take advantage of that fact. I remember one place where I volunteered in the office I would see some of the regular office staff standing around doing nothing but getting paid for it while I did the actual work. That used to tick me off too.

I have a background in a lot of areas and think I could help out in many places as I have in the past, but I just don't want to commit to a regular schedule. I am not a church goer, but some of the opportunities that the Unitarians do I would love to do. I often said that if I was going to be religious, I'd be either a Buddhist or a Unitarian

After being retired for most of the year I'm starting to get into a rut which I cannot allow myself to do. I am the type of person who needs to do new things and meet new, like-minded people or I get depressed. I do love being able to get out of bed at whatever time I want to, sit with my coffee for as long as I want to, stay up late reading an engrossing book if I want to, etc. etc. I live alone and my dog just died this past summer, so my circumstances have changed quite a bit this year.

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Response to llmart (Reply #17)

Mon Oct 15, 2018, 05:06 PM

18. Not sure how much this applies to volunteers overall,

but one thing I noticed at the hospital, which depended heavily on volunteers for a lot of things back ten years ago, less so now, is how old the volunteers were, and how few younger people were showing up to volunteer.

The generations ahead of the Boomers, a significant percentage of women never worked outside the home, and tended to do a lot of volunteering especially once their kids were grown. A significant percentage of Boomer women have worked almost all their adult lives and did minimal volunteering while raising kids, and for the most part never got into doing it later. I know that on this thread several people have already spoken happily about their own volunteer work, but I honestly think that overall people under the age of 70 are far less likely to do volunteer work than those older. It will be interesting to see how all this plays out as Boomers move steadily into their retirement years.

I'm like you. I like to get out of bed when I'm good and ready, laze about with a cup of coffee, always go to an afternoon movie, never an evening showing, not deal with rush hour traffic every day, stay up as late as I want. The list goes on. I was never enamored of working, but I also never had a job that I truly love. I simply went to work, did what I was supposed to, and got my paycheck. It's not so much that I'm envious of people who love what they do, it's that I cannot begin to imagine what that would be like.

My condolences on losing your dog. When I moved to where I currently am I had three cats, and they were all over the age of 10. Needless to say, none of them are with me any more, and as much as I'd love to have another cat or two in my life, I do just enough travelling to make that not a good idea. Someday, perhaps. I have already told my son that if he ever needs to put me in a nursing home, just be sure to find one that has resident cats. I could never get so senile that I wouldn't want to be around them. When I was just three years old I made my mother, who hated cats, crazy because I was constantly dragging home strays.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #18)

Mon Oct 15, 2018, 05:39 PM

19. I'm not much of a cat person...

but like you I have been a dog person since I was very little. We were a large, poor family and couldn't afford another mouth to feed, so I didn't get a dog until I was 16. However, people were always dropping off dogs by the roadside where we lived and I was always trying to make them my pet. My mother used to tell me that one day I was going to get bit and sure enough I did, but not badly enough to need stitches. Still didn't faze my love for dogs. When this last one died I told people who were urging me to get another one right away that I would never have another dog. I'm almost 70 and this last dog was a larger dog and she lived for almost 16 years. What on earth would I do if I had to take care of a dog at 86 years old? Besides, my income is limited now that I'm retired and they cost an awful lot to keep, especially in their later years. I am a firm believer in being a good, responsible dog owner and it's not responsible to get a dog when you're older unless you have a younger person who you are sure would take that dog if you die.

I was able to do a lot of volunteer work in my mid-forties to early 50's. I was married to someone who made a decent living and both of my children were grown and on their own and had very good jobs. I had made the decision to leave a corporate job because I absolutely hated working in large corporations. So I decided to take a hiatus of sorts and do volunteer work and get involved in something that would make me feel like I was contributing something. I told myself that if I didn't like what they were having me do I'd give myself permission to move on and I did once or twice, but for the most part I did enjoy some of what I did. I took the master gardener course and then the advanced master gardener course through our extension center and they require lots of volunteer hours and continuing credits. Then the extension center offered a new certificate for environmental stewardship and I took that course and did my volunteer hours but they discontinued the course once state funding dropped dramatically (thanks to Republicans in our state house). Before any of all that, I got involved in a guide dog school in our area and raised two puppies that went on to become guide dogs for blind people. I also volunteered doing anything at that organization that they needed help with. The dog that I just lost was from that school. She was not guide dog material (someone had decided to drop her off at the school), so they gave her to me when she was a little over a year old. I was with that organization for eleven years, but then I felt I needed to get a part time job. I ended up in a public library which I absolutely loved, then went full time, then to our local land conservancy as the director's assistant (unpaid - I had been a volunteer for them and an honorary board member). I divorced and had to get a full time job and ended up at a law library and then a state university job. I've lived in three states and got to travel a bit when I was married. Of all the jobs, I liked the university job the best. I met new people all the time from all over the world.

I always thought I'd travel more but so far I haven't travelled at all since January. I was dealing with a minor health issue that's since resolved, so I'm getting itchy to do a trip.

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Response to llmart (Reply #19)

Mon Oct 15, 2018, 10:31 PM

20. That was very interesting. Thank you for sharing.

I will be quite facetious and suggest for your next dog you get one of the short-lived breeds. Irish Wolfhounds come to mind. My brother has been involved with Wolfhound rescue for about 20 years now, and they are wonderful dogs but it's shocking how short their lives are.

Or, not facetiously, but in an effort to be helpful, if you do decide you want another dog, adopt an older one from the local shelter. Most people want kittens or puppies, but in my opinion it's nice not having to deal with that. And it does seem to me as though the older animals sense how fortunate they are to have found a new home.

I'm also 70, and if I ever do take in another cat, I will make sure before I bring it home that I have arrangements in place with someone to take it in if I pass on. I have thought about doing the temporary foster thing, but so far haven't followed up on it.

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