June 26, 2013
Eight years ago I retired from teaching for the Kansas City, Missouri School District. The best advice I received was, "Don't commit to anything on a regular basis for six months." During that period of time, I looked around and did some one-day activities.
For example, a friend and I offered to deliver flowers on Valentine's Day. That was great! Everyone we met was glad to see us. We even got a few dollars in tips, and a bit of pay.
Around the time for the election, I signed up to be a poll worker on Election Day. Training took a few hours one morning. However, being somewhere at 5 a.m. and having to stay till after 7 p.m. is a very, very long day. The primaries were very slow, as few people took the opportunity to vote in those.The November election was busier and the presidential Election Day went by very quickly. It was inspiring to help so many first-time voters. So, twice a year or so, that's not a bad idea (Note: Become more aware of politics on the local and national levels.)
After a while I volunteered once a month to go out on the truck to feed the homeless with Uplift. That is something I've done for seven years. I love it. It makes me very appreciative of what I have: a roof over my head, a door that locks, food in the fridge, a hot shower, air conditioning/heat, and a bed with clean sheets. (Note: Volunteer to make food for a food kitchen or serve. Do your part of be aware of the needs of others.)
One on-going commitment is a book club. And for the last two years, I have belonged to two. That keeps me busy trying to read two books a month. Fortunately one doesn't meet during the summer. (Note: The Raytown Branch has two book clubs, one during the day and one at night. Check it out.)
If you don't find something you like to do, offer to start a class/group. I did that three years ago at my church with a Prayer Shawl Ministry. I found others interested in knitting, as I was, and crocheting. We meet once a month for two hours. It is a very nice way to meet new people. You can be a beginning or an advanced knitter. You're welcome to join. (Note: Take a class in something you've always wanted to try.)
MCPL has a lot of books on retirement. Some relate to financial or health issues. Some offer suggestions as to what to do with your time. What I don't suggest is that you get in a hurry to clean out all your cabinets and clean your house from top to bottom. A little bit at a time is just fine. The dust and clutter will always be there… and come back again.
Each week I make a list with the days and five spaces under each one. If I have a doctor's appointment or a luncheon date, it goes on the list. Sending a card for a friend's birthday or sympathy card, it goes on the list. Call brother or niece, it goes on the list. If I get all the items crossed out by the end of the week, I've done 35 things. That's great! (And don't forget to write in "Take a nap.")
If you find yourself in need of a little extra traveling money, you might find a part-time job like I did. I'm a page at the Raytown Branch. I work 16-20 hours a week. My schedule is flexible and arranged a month at a time. It's perfect! I love to recommend books to parents for themselves or for their children. I work with very nice people and there's no stress. How many workers can say that?
Above all, stop to enjoy the flowers, the sunsets (forget sunrises), and smile at people you meet. You'll make their day and yours too.