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.
Retirement is wonderful. You’re able to say goodbye to long commutes, boring meetings and late nights at the office. You have plenty of time to do the things you enjoy. But what if plenty of time is actually too much time?
Loneliness is a huge issue for Baby Boomer women. Many women in their 60s are living alone and, while some of these women are enjoying their new found independence, others find themselves feeling like their lives lack purpose or direction without close social ties. In fact, in a recent Sixty and Me survey, 75% of the women in our community said that they are feeling alone.
One of the most important things that I learned from our survey on loneliness is that people who are dealing with loneliness are not starved for interaction – they are starved for intimacy. I don’t mean intimacy in a purely romantic or physical sense.
One of the stereotypes about baby boomers is that we are selfish and unwilling to help others. In reality, the number of senior volunteers is increasing, according to this New York Times report. So, it looks like our generation is more willing to help than we get credit for.