Sunday, December 18, 2011

Retired and liking it

The impact of retirement finally hit me this week. Not that it has taken me several years to get the hang of it. But I was not sensing the feeling that others described to me: Fulfilled, busier than when working, and...perhaps the most telling...making a difference.

Aleene began volunteering at our local food bank soon after we moved here and why not? It was located just two blocks away at the time. She walked over one Monday morning and asked what she might do to help. Two years passed. She continued to work on Mondays putting together boxes of food for 30-40 clients on her shift. I wold get a call occasionally to help here and there...usually heavy or repetitive lifting jobs on other days. I filled my Mondays with volunteering at the VA Hospital while Aleene was at FISH (the food bank.) We both volunteered at our local school reading with little tykes. Then FISH moved to larger quarters as the demand increased.

I was still working (and traveling) though 2008, but that ended and I completely signed off commercial endeavors at the end of 2009. Of course, during the summer I ramped up my involvement in the garden and then a key person, both at FISH and the garden moved away in early 2010. My involvement in both exploded. I found myself taking a leadership role in the garden and sitting on the board of FISH and becoming heavily involved in the work there.

This is all to say that yesterday we had our Christmas food distribution. Now, a very competent woman runs the Christmas project and very competent people run the day to day duties. We supply about 450 families totaling about 1500 people food. Maintaining and supplying food for this operation is huge. Our budget is about $100K and we are all volunteers. There is no paid staff. So it all depends on the generosity of others. We gather the food, we store it, organize the distribution and give it out.

I find myself driving a pickup, slinging cases, organizing loads and other various and sundry duties. In the process I have the privilege of working with some very, very fine and very dedicated people. And, I might add, we are making a difference.

Yesterday, Aleene and I came home after the distribution, exhausted and barely able to get ourselves ready this morning for choir performances at both services. This afternoon we are pretty much dedicated to football...or at least I am.

We have a busy day tomorrow, again, but school is out so no reading on Tuesday...and the boys are home, so we will have some time with them. That is what retirement is all about...working, resting when you need to and enjoying being around some really fine folk. Life is good.

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