Friday, June 12, 2009

Retired Volunteers Help Rebuild Cedar Rapids

Recent news articles have discussed retired electricians and plumbers who are volunteering their time to rebuild Cedar Rapids after the devastating flood of last year. This is a demonstration of retirement life at its best.

While every story needs an angle, I was intrigued NBC Nightly News took the stance of “wouldn’t you rather be fishing instead of volunteering your time?” This clearly shows a dated and most likely mythical view of retirement.

While it’s probably true these gentlemen love fishing and golf, it fails to acknowledge that fishing and golf alone make for very sad existence.

My guess is these men loved dusting off their expertise and feeling like mentors to their community. While they may not want to go back to this work on a regular basis, retirees want to feel like they are connected. Being a member of a larger community is an important aspect of that. People like challenges in their lives. What greater challenge can there be than rebuilding a community after a disaster. Finally, people of all ages want to know their lives have meaning. It’s important to have a reason to get up in the morning; to have a sense of purpose.

This story demonstrates how important it is for us to redefine retirement. No longer a stopping place, the new retirement should be a starting point for a creating and fulfilling new dreams and a bigger vision for life.

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