Early in life, you worked on carving out a place for yourself in the world. You went to school, worked, and spent time with your family. You focused on creating the life you wanted, both for yourself and your family. You did not have lots of time for giving back.
Now you’re in a rhythm: Everyone in your household has their roles and your daily life (mostly) runs like a well-oiled machine. Since you have it all down to a science, it’s time to share your knowledge, time and experience with people who really need it.
Why? You will feel good about yourself while helping others. In addition, a number of studies claim that giving back in retirement is good for your physical health, increases your self esteem and helps fight depression.
If you’re not sure where to begin, here are three of the best ways of giving back after retirement:
1. Start Local
It’s amazing how what you know can affect others. There are tons of professional and community development organizations, and chances are one is nearby your home. Try the chamber of commerce for a start, as well as local non-profits and churches. If you are feeling really bold, go to the local school system. Don’t say anything concrete—as a matter of fact, the best thing to do is to make the conversation about them and what they need. The most unexpected ideas were born out of just “seeing what’s out there.”
Don’t limit yourself to things you think you can do, or whatever is in line with your work experience. Think outside of the box. Who knows? You may find yourself doing something new that you absolutely love.
2. Go Online
If social media doesn’t sound like torture to you, think about using it to help others. Start a blog or a video series about a topic that interests you, or make a presentation about a subject that is hard to find on the web.
Remember what you went to school to study? Is that what you ended up doing long-term? For some, yes. But many of you had to start from scratch in your job expertise. Share that experience with the world around you.
3. Start Something
There is no better doing than doing. If you ever really wanted to complete a project—whether it’s a book, building a house with an non-profit, or cleaning up your kids’ local playground—now is the time.
Use the same connections and ingenuity you have enjoyed throughout your career to start something new. And don’t forget: When giving back, the trick is to listen.
If you’re unsure exactly what you want to accomplish, that’s okay. Get others in on the act. Ask your former coworkers if they want to sponsor someone for a marathon. Or if they want to volunteer a few hours a month at a kitchen. Schedules are tight for everyone, so start small. But start something.
What’s your favorite way of giving back after retirement?