There’s a secret to getting more from your after-work years. And this is it. Posted on June 22, 2018June 25, 2018 by Peter Meadows You know the words – ‘It’s better to give than to receive’. And that experience is waiting for everyone when fulltime work is over. The ‘experience’ is to give away some of your time – by volunteering. It’s what almost half of those 60+ are doing. For some it’s a few hours here and there. For others it is almost like full time work but with no pay. For many it is something in between the two. What do they get out of being on the giving end with their time and talents? What makes life for them richer, better and more rewarding? Ask and you’ll hear a host of explanations as to why giving offers its own rewards. Things like – ‘To give my life a purpose’ – to have a reason for ‘being here’ and getting up in the morning ‘To enjoy company and a sense of belonging’ – and so replace one of the great benefits and experiences of full-time work ‘To give something back’ – having reaped the rewards of life, to do something worthwhile in return ‘So as not to let my skills and experience go to waste’ – to have the pleasure and joy that comes from using what you have learned ‘For the ‘sheer fun of doing it and the sense of achievement’ – getting a kick out of being of value to others and making things happen Were you to ask a Christian the same ‘why’ question you could hear any or all of the above as an answer. But the response may also point to an added dimension – that of being a good steward of the time and talents God has provided. Such voluntary work doesn’t have to be like ‘work’. Charities and clubs are looking for officers and committee members. Neighbourhood Watch Schemes need people – even to start them. There may be openings to be a school governor, a parish councillor or even a magistrate. The opportunities to give your time and talents Out there are organisations and agencies, needs and causes, all ready to gladly receive the time and skills you have to offer. These include – Your church: Along with the routine tasks needing to be done, there ought to be ways your particular skills and experience can be used for the good of all. For ideas see our website at serving your church. Your community: There’s a vast array of opportunities to contribute to your local social services and caring organisations. For ideas see our website at serving your community. Internationally: From just a few months to a longer commitment, there are communities and individuals waiting enrich you by being enriched by what you have to offer. For ideas see our website at serving internationally. Making the best choice Before launching out to contribute your time and talents, here’s a checklist of things to be clear about – Faith-based or not? Do you want to serve a specifically Christian cause? Or wanting to venture out into the wider world as part of being the salt and light Jesus spoke about? With others or alone? Do you prefer company or are you happy to go it alone? Managed of managing? Do you need to work to clear instructions or prefer a level of freedom to make your own decisions? Corporate culture or not? Many larger charities have a culture and environment little different to a major company. In contrast, many smaller charities are ‘all hands on deck’. So think hard as to where you would most like to spend your time. Flexible or not? Do you need to be able to respond to things like emergency grandchild care or grabbing a last minute holiday as a bargain? But having thought it through, give it a go – for a richer and more fulfilled after-work life. Peter Meadows Peter is AfterWorkNet’s Programme Director. He uses his retirement to help churches, resource inter-church initiatives, enjoy his eight grandchildren, escape to Spain and to spend his kids’ inheritance. What’s your experience of giving your time and talent away in your after-work years? Do share by joining our Facebook group. We’d love to hear from you.