Reinventing yourself? Trying to find new purpose? Need to change things up? Meet three very different ladies who found the very same answer to these questions.
Could this be you? Carol is 70 and has been a widow for 16 years. When her husband passed away, she could feel depression setting in and decided that she had to find something to do so that the depression wouldn’t take over her life. She threw herself into her volunteer work with the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. She began doing committee work with her city in California and became a member of the city of San Ramon’s Park Commission. She also is a Notary Public and is currently studying to become a Certified Notary Public for title companies. Each morning, when she wakes up, Carol asks herself, “What am I going to accomplish today?” Being involved has proven to be her best defense against depression.
Could this be your daughter? Jane is a thirty-something, public health professional, with two degrees. She has worked on both coasts of the United States and has even traveled some around the world. Single and social, she still feels the need to give back. Jane has found that sacrificing some of her free time in raising awareness to causes that are important to her is really not much of a sacrifice. She gets back so much more than what she gives away.
Could this be your granddaughter? Sarah, 18, is a freshman at the University of Southern California who has already established a pattern of service. In High School she mentored less fortunate girls in the UN Foundation’s Girl’s Up program. She enjoyed that experience so much, that she wanted to continue her pattern of service in college. She has a demanding school schedule taking science courses that requires large amounts of studying in her competitive classes. Still, she finds time to break away and help others. She was worried that serving would impact her grades. But so far, the time taken away to serve really hasn’t impacted her time needed studying.
I met Carol, Jane, and Sarah in Washington, D.C. at the Shot@Life Summit. Three very different women with three very different life experiences. Yet each has found the same answer to improve their life: Volunteer. Being a volunteer guards against depression, takes you away from yourself, and lightens every day challenges.
Midlife brings plenty of life changes, often accompanied by extra time that needs to be filled. These new friends showed me that no matter your circumstance, spending time volunteering adds new purpose to regular days.
Have you tried volunteering? What causes have you been involved with?