Giving Me Away

It makes sense that the written word would rekindle my relationship with two librarian sisters who inspired me when they worked at the Crestwood Library during my youth. Nancy and Sheila found my blog about a year ago. Since then, Nancy has emailed me regularly about the topics of mine that interest her. I asked Nancy to tell me about some of her favorite things. She sent several excellent blog posts for me to share with you.

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In Spring 2005, I heard Oprah Winfrey discussing the issue of food and weight on her daily show. She was discussing filling yourself up with food. “If only people knew that you fill yourself up, the more you give yourself away.” Her words were and remain very meaningful to me in my retirement.

I chose to retire at the end of 2004 after working over 40 years and at the height of my career. There was no coercion involved; in fact, they begged me to stay which is the key: it’s the best time to go. I prepared myself for retirement with all its ramifications: social, medical, financial and intellectual. One book was pivotal for me: My Time: Making the Most of the Bonus Decades After 50, by The Washington Post’s Abigail Trafford. She aimed her book towards those experiencing “their personal renaissance in between middle and old age… that is, My Time.”

When I heard Oprah, I’d been retired about 6 months. I was still trying to focus on what I wanted to do among so many interests — each of which pulled at me. Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t that I had nothing to do. Rather, I had too much to do. Besides my wish for lifelong learning, I had priorities to make.

I can’t say Oprah’s words did anything for my avoirdupois; but, she focused me towards the thing which allows me the most satisfaction: VOLUNTEERING… as a hospice visitor; a Church Lector and Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist; a Lady of Charity; a book reviewer and public speaker for senior groups; a creative writer; a baker; and a miniature room box maker!

Oprah was right: I am fulfilled the more I use my creative gifts (from God) and, through them, give myself away.

Because of my hospice visiting, a priest once actually asked me: “What do you say to those people?” I was shocked; recovered myself; and simply answered: “I give them TIME… that’s all they want… and we do what they want to do. Read. Talk. Watch a baseball game together. Even pray. You’d be surprised how no one ever asks them if they want to pray.”

Time is my friend.

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