Joe Fleming is the President at ViveHealth.com. Interested in all things related to living a healthy lifestyle, he enjoys sharing and expressing his passion through writing.
Working to motivate others and defeat aging stereotypes, Joe uses his writing to help all people overcome the obstacles of life. Covering topics that range from physical health, wellness, and aging all the way to social, news, and inspirational pieces…the goal is help others “rebel against age.”
As the daily grind of work comes to an end with retirement, and the kids go off to college or start their own career, where do we find ourselves? Is it all bubble baths, golfing and gardening? Is it dealing with a chronic health condition?
Our sense of identity and who we are is often tied to how we spend our time – from working to raising a family, managing our health, enjoying a particular sport or playing an instrument, and so forth. When it comes to aging then, a rediscovery takes place that often finds us asking “What’s the point? What am I doing that means anything?”
Building an enduring impact in the world that lasts beyond ourselves, a “legacy,” is inherently human. The self-actualization required in seeking purpose and meaning in your life can motivate you and overwhelm you, but in the end, it is yours and yours alone. As Henry David Thoreau put it, “The world is but a canvas to the imagination.” Your imagination, your dreams, your canvas.
How can you create a lasting impact in the world as you age?
What better way to positively influence another person’s life and your community than volunteering your time. Nonprofits like food banks, hospitals and animal shelters love senior volunteers because of their schedule flexibility with retirement and their ability to dedicate time to recurring volunteer needs. Plus, volunteering is a great way for older adults to stay active and socialize with others. Great volunteer ideas for seniors include:
- Pitch in at a community festival or fundraiser
- Donate blood or platelets regularly
- Volunteer at a local food bank, hospital or animal shelter
- Organize your own service project with friends and family, like a neighborhood cleanup
- Lend a helping hand at your grandchild’s school, either in their classroom or at a school event
- Join a civic action group and help organize rallies, forums and voter registration events
- Donate your time to helping staff a charity re-store
Share Your Memories
Never got around to writing that memoir? There are still opportunities for you to share your life experiences, memories and lessons. Start a blog with your free time and begin writing down the vast, rich stories you want to share. Free blogging platforms like WordPress and Tumblr make it easy to get started.
Or voice record yourself with your smartphone, computer (with mic), or a digital handheld voice recording device – save the audio files for future generations to listen to, and share the recordings with family members.
Lend Your Expertise
The abundance of knowledge and experience you have could make a huge difference for a young person starting their own business or a child in need of guidance. Short of consulting as a part-time job, find ways to lend your expertise to those who could truly benefit.
Consider mentoring a child or teenager through programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters or Foster Grandparents. Or provide business mentorship and education to young people beginning a career with programs like Score.
As we age, we all come to the realization that “stuff” and “things” means less and less, and a rich life is truly made up of people we love who care for us in return. Dialing down your consumption may come easy with age as the need to acquire goods goes down, but there are even greater steps you can take to leave a lasting (and eco-conscious) footprint:
- Ditch the plastic and drink out of reusable coffee mugs and water bottles on the go
- Plant a home garden and reap a harvest of organic fresh herbs, fruits, and veggies without a trip to the store
- Save paper and read newspaper and magazine publications online on your computer or tablet device
- Carpool with friends and family when going out for fun or running errands
Keep at it! Your endurance and ability to both help others, and the world, for that matter, are a direct product of your health and wellbeing. Discovering new activities for older adults isn’t always a walk in the park, but with a little thought and effort, and a willingness to try new things, it’s definitely possible – and it’s physical and mental benefits are infinite.
Hobbies that stimulate brain function and fine motor skills are prime for older adults – from gardening to knitting, coloring, even making origami. While heart-pumping exercise that boosts blood circulation and fights hypertension, obesity and osteoporosis can be everything from swimming to playing tennis, practicing yoga and ballroom dancing.
What if the ‘lasting impact’ you’re looking to get out of life is as simple as a deep and meaningful relationship you make with a new friend? Or the support and inspiration you provide to a family member going through a tough time? Don’t forget to recognize the weight and importance of the little things as you age too – when you put them all together, it really adds up.