In our 60s, we are old enough to remember the days when the scourge of AIDS seemed to hover everywhere. Many of us have known someone who was dying or have lost someone to the disease.
As retirement approaches, the opportunities to embark on voluntary work become increasingly appealing.
But what to do? If you are not going to get paid, it has to be something you enjoy, something you feel passionate about and, hopefully, something that will give you a new perspective on life.
“The cultivation of compassion is no longer a luxury, but a necessity, if our species is to survive.” – The Dalai Lama
In the first part of this blog, I shared several research studies that point to a compassionate lifestyle as a path to health and happiness. In this blog, I will share what I am learning at the Compassion in Education Working Group about cultivating and practicing the compassionate lifestyle.
Compassion engages our capacity for love, wisdom, courage, and generosity. It’s a mental and emotional state that’s boundless and directionless, grounded in the great spiritual traditions of the world but available to every person simply by virtue of our being human. – Kristin Neff
When we are asked to describe an ideal friend, many of us use the word “kind.” We are drawn to people who are trustworthy, sympathetic, thoughtful and caring. We may throw in some other “nice to haves,” but, at a fundamental level, simple human kindness is what we need from each other.
As young women, we found a great deal of meaning in our volunteer work. Then, life took over. As our energy shifted to our families, many of us found it increasingly difficult to stay engaged with the volunteer organizations that we loved.
Women over 60 have so much to offer the world! Over the last several years, I have had the opportunity to talk with 1000s of women in the Sixty and Me community and I am consistently amazed by the passion with which you are giving back and making a difference.
I’ve always been an animal lover. For most of my life, my family has had dogs, cats, mice and an assortment of other creatures, common and exotic. Now, as a single woman in her 60s, I often consider getting a new dog. I imagine playing with her in the park.
We women in the Boomer generation have always been pioneering role models for our children. The majority of us have had successful lives – in our careers, at work, at-home, or both. We have a great many skills, knowledge, and experiences as well as time now to offer.
As women, we live complex and wonderful lives and accumulate wisdom through a wide range of experiences. The strange thing is that we sometimes don’t realize how much we’ve learned until we speak with a younger person and realize they are struggling with issues that we dealt with years ago. It’s not that we have all of the answers, but, we do have some perspective.