|This picture actually has nothing to do with this post, but it makes me happy.|
Most of these activities involve volunteering, something I have found to be very fulfilling during my retirement. Studies have shown that my experience is not unique.
"Volunteering is a fun and easy way to explore your interests and passions. Doing volunteer work you find meaningful and interesting can be a relaxing, energizing escape from your day-to-day routine of work, school, or family commitments. Volunteering also provides you with renewed creativity, motivation, and vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life." ~ Helpguide.orgSupporting Families Coping with Mental Illness
Over the past months, Steve and I have been volunteer leaders for the Family Connections course run by the Ottawa Network for Borderline Personality Disorder (ON-BPD). A couple of years ago, Steve and I were participants in the program, and found that the skills and principles it taught are incredibly valuable. So we're enthusiastically paying it forward.
Recently, in talking with the president of the organization, I've decided to spearhead a fundraising campaign to launch next fall. ON-BPD is entirely volunteer-run, so its expenses are minimal, but there are some, notably the cost of training new leaders.
I'm excited about using the skills and knowledge I've developed over my career to help this important cause.
Capturing Final Moments for the Loss of a Newborn
Once upon a time, if a baby was "stillborn" it would be swept away from the mother instantly. Sometimes the mother never even got a chance to see or hold her baby. Times have changed and parents are now routinely offered a chance to hold and say goodbye to their child. But often they have no photographs to commemorate this little one they loved.
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is an organization of compassionate volunteer photographers who will come to the hospital and do a beautiful and sensitive newborn photo session.
I don't have the skills yet to do a newborn photo shoot on my own (especially in a poorly-lit setting that would require the use of flash), so I'm volunteering to be an assistant to a photographer. I won't say I'm excited about this, but I do feel very good about it.
Pumping the Creative Juices
I don't even know who shared the information first, but Gail Anderson-Dargatz, author of The Cure for Death by Lightning and A Recipe for Bees, two of my favourite Canadian novels, teaches creative writing and is running a writers' camp this summer on Manitoulin Island. I've signed up to attend her Providence Bay Writers' Camp in July. I'm hoping to nudge some friends to come along, but even if I go alone, it'll be fun.
Adding to the Travel Fund
I wasn't planning on looking for employment (Life is full.), but an HR consultant pinged my profile on Linked In and asked if I'd be interested in contract work. As it happens, short-term contracts or consulting would fit with our lifestyle right now and would top up the coffers for travel and home improvements, so I've started the ball rolling to make that happen.
So that's what I'm up to. What about you?