This post is part of the Gorgeous 50’s series inspired by a book given to me by one of my sisters on my 50th birthday – ‘Grown up and Gorgeous in your 50’s’ by Pamela Robson. I will be sharing some of Pamela’s words and my own thoughts along the way. To see all posts published as part of this series, go here.
Pamela has quite a bit to say on ‘reinventions’ which is why I needed to split the post on this topic into two. Here’s where you can read Part 1, and now here is Part 2:
FIND A PASSION AND GO FOR IT!
Research your family history
Develop a talent, such as cooking
Join a political party
Take up a new sport and compete
Write letters on issues to your local newspaper
Learn a musical instrument or a new language
Go travelling – backpack or five-star
Take an adult education class
Build your dream house in the country
IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU!
Adding a new dimension to your life doesn’t have to cost money. Helping others is deeply rewarding. It can help you expand your social network. There are hundreds of positions lists on Volunteering Australia’s website. Here are a tiny few:
- Tour guide or museum guide
- RSPCA clerical assistant, fundraiser, event organiser
- Nursery seedlings planting
- Fostering native animals
- Wetlands conservation volunteer
- Court supporter
- Bookshop assistant
- Emergency services radio operator
- Rescue boat crew
- First Aid officer
Well then, we have two lists of ideas for our ‘idle midlife minds and hands’. List 1 is about finding a passion and List 2 is about volunteering and community service. I think these lists are fabulous, though not all options appeal to me.
Before I give my thoughts on the two lists, I need to say that I do think there is often an assumption that midlifer’s, especially those who are retired, are idle (hence my tongue in cheek comment above about idle midlife minds and hands) and have nothing to do, hence plenty of time of their hands. It’s important to keep a few things in mind. Midifers often:
- have children and grandchildren that keep life busy
- have aging parents that need caring for
- still have homes to keep clean and maintain, and not all midlifer’s are empty nesters!
- finally have some time to look after themselves: e.g. establish an exercise routine they enjoy, get all those health checks done, apply some self-care, etc
- finally have some time to do things they have wanted to do or pursue in a long time (like travel or hobbies etc)
So yes finding a passion is good (we all need to love what we do and to have goals and dreams and fulfilment) if you don’t already have one (or two) and volunteering is fabulous if you have the time and there is a volunteering option that suits you (there is always more pleasure in giving than receiving) but what comes to mind to me is this saying:
Put on your own oxygen mask first, before helping those around you
By this stage of life, as mother’s and natural nurturers, we most likely have a history of putting others needs before our own. This is a time to make ourselves a priority. We’re all different, but we all need to be sure we find the right balance for us as individuals. We need to avoid the need to please others and inadvertently creating overwhelm for ourselves. We need to listen to our gut feeling about what is right for us and our own wellbeing and happiness. So with that in mind, let’s move on now to more of my thoughts on the two lists of Pamela’s.
From LIST 1, I could put a tick beside:
- Research your family history – because I have done some of that … but once the website wanted money from me to add more, I stopped. Fascinating to do though! I set up my family tree at My Heritage. It’s free up until a certain point, then payment is required to add more.
- Go travelling – well duh! I would like some more of this please!
- Take an adult education class. Yes! I’d do this. I love to learn and there’s lots of things I’d like to learn more about. In recent years I studied photography and got a Diploma in Professional Photography.
- Build your dream house in the country. A house in the country would be a dream come true for me. I really don’t like suburbia at all! I crave the country – even better – the mountains/hinterland! I don’t want a mansion though. Just a cute cottage. Not too big as I don’t want too much to clean. Must have aircon – cos I do not cope well with the heat. A veranda would be nice and good natural light coming in through the windows!
From LIST 2, I could put a tick beside:
- RSPCA assistant of some kind – because I love animals! Here’s some more info on RSCPA Volunteer Roles.
- Nursery seedlings planting. Ok confession time – I just love brainless repetitive stuff sometimes and when it involves getting my hands into dirt and being outdoors and in nature – yes please! There may be volunteering opportunities at your local plant nursery but here’s a bit of info on volunteer opportunities with Greening Australia.
- Fostering native animals – yes I would do this but not at my current house – at my house in the country when I get it (how’s that for positive thinking)! Here’s some info on how to become a Carer with Wildcare Australia in South East Queensland.
- Wetlands conservation volunteer – perhaps, but I think that working with animals might pip this one at the post for me. However, nature and protecting nature is my thing too! Here’s some MORE INFO for anyone interested in this kind of volunteer work.
Here’s Volunteering Australia’s website for more volunteering options.
Which items from List 1 and List 2 interest you? Are you doing any of them already? Are you making sure you put the oxygen mask on yourself first?
Ciao for now,
Link up here at WOTM or with another of us in the Lovin’ Life Linky team:
Leanne of Deep Fried Fruit
Deborah of Debbish | Jo of And Anyways
It doesn’t matter where you link up as it will magically appear on all our blogs.
Hi, Min – These lists make great sense to me. From List 1, I have been expanding my meatless cooking skills, upping my fitness challenges and planning our fourth backpacking trip across the Camino. From List 2, I regularly walk dogs at our local animal shelter, take in dogs when their owners need to be away and travel off over 2 hours (each way) whenever I get a call from a distressed daughter-in-law that one of our grandchildren are sick and cannot attend daycare. I love these lists and plan to contemplate them further. Thank you for sharing them. #MLSTL
Hi Donna – sounds like you have a very full and fulfilling life to me! These lists are great to provide some inspiration and ideas I think. 🙂
That’s such a great concept, remembering your own oxygen mask first! Definitely love travel from list #1, I need to work on something from list #2.
Hi SSG – yes I couldn’t help myself – I had to mention the oxygen mask because I am all about prioritising ourselves and tuning in to our own needs to ensure our sense of wellbeing (physically, mentally & spiritually) is as balanced as possible and I didn’t want anyone to think you MUST have passions or you MUST volunteer. However, of course I am all for following your curiosities and doing things that you enjoy and feel passionate about AND volunteering is an honourable and rewarding thing to do. Just look after yourself first. 🙂 xoxo
I have a number of friends that are Art Gallery guides and they love it.
I had never considered being an art gallery guide. Food for thought though! 🙂
While I do intend to retire from my corporate role, I don’t intend to retire completely. Having said that I’d like to write our family history – Mum has done much of the work & I’ve always wanted to be a guide at an art gallery. I’d also like to get my health in order, take up a dance class, and learn a new language or even take an art class. Yep, nothing idle about this mind either!
I don’t think I’ll ever be fully retired either Jo. I just can’t help myself. I’ve gotta have projects on the go and I need to always be learning and doing and achieving in some way. The family history thing is fascinating to do but you need to be disciplined on the time you invest in it as its so easy to be sucked into the vortex and lose track of time! lol A dance class, learning a new language, art class – yep those sound appealing to me too!
Hi Min – These are good suggestions to consider. Thanks for sharing them. I’ve always had a few passions on the go and am grateful to have more time for them now (e.g. arts, books, fitness, music, learning languages, movies, social events, travel). I took up running a few years ago and have done a few 5K races. I started blogging less than three years ago, too. I did volunteer work in the past, with mentoring as the most recent. I have a few new activities and volunteer role that I might try later this year. #LovinLifeLinky
You sure do a lot of interesting things Natalie – and such a good balance of things too! I look forward to reading more of your travels and activities on your blog! 🙂
I find this concept really interesting because I’m not a big fan of finding your “passion”. To me life is full of lots of little things that make up a composite whole – I don’t want to be constantly searching for that one thing I can be passionate about. I’m also finding that Midlife is a time when my life is as full (or fuller) than it was in my 30’s – the best little bonus is the downtime where I have nothing to focus on – I LOVE being able to puddle around and not take up another interest or commitment. So I’m not a big fan of any of the things on her list – I have my own list and I’ll just keep doing my own thing in my own way and leave the ‘doing more stuff’ to others.
I agree about the ‘passion and purpose’ thing Leanne. I don’t like the pressure it can put on a person to feel they must find it. I agree with Elizabeth Gilbert’s concept of ‘following our curiosities’ and that may lead us to our purpose. I also agree that midlife can be FULL and that we deserve some downtime and being busy is not the holy grail. This is why I mentioned making sure we put the oxygen mask on ourselves first before taking on more or helping others. It is because I want midlifers to look after themselves first because often its the first chance for a long time to be able to do so! 🙂 xo
I’m busy sucking in the oxygen at this very moment Min – deciding what to do with my life/work/blog atm with changes and stresses all around me. Where is the magic button I can press to be instantly getting millions of views and millions of dollars so I can retire??? Soldiering on but taking it easy at the same time atm.
Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂
I’d been looking into volunteer options before I got this full-time temp job. I kinda felt like it would give me some direction and purpose and that I SHOULD give back etc…
Interestingly I read something about passion vs purpose the other day and been drafting something on that.
I know what you mean Deb, about the volunteering thing. I feel I should be giving back more but I also know that I’m already struggling with fitting everything into my days. How I ever managed a full-time corporate job I will never know!
I find that my days are busier than ever and I rarely have more down time than I know what to do with. I like the geneology option, and traveling. I also like to take courses. I’m not crazy about anything in list 2- unless I get to read all the books in the bookstore! I do volunteer for a women’s organization that works against slave trafficking.
I find the same Michele. I’m always so busy! I wonder how I ever managed to work full-time in a corporate job sometimes! Sounds to me like you have a very good balance of activities and don’t need to add anything else at all! x
Hi Min, I agree that although I blog about finding meaning, purpose and passion in life, many of us are already there. I love to mind my grandchildren and up until two years ago we were caring for my MIL who is now in aged care. I also found that whilst I love volunteering I don’t want to be tied into it each week. I rather enjoy helping at my MIL’s aged care home for special events and outings. We just can’t be everything to everyone and also have time for ourselves. Great post and thank you for sharing at #MLSTL. Have a beautiful week! x
Thanks Sue. It’s so hard to find time to fit everything into our lives and much of our life before now we’ve had limited ability or space to prioritise ourselves in amongst all these things … which is why I wanted to be sure that at this time of life where there is more freedom to choose how we spend our time, we think of ourselves first! xo
I agree with everything you say here Min, and it’s very timely with International Women’s Day this week too. I enjoy volunteering with Rotary and get to have fun and feel useful with working with Youth in a variety of ways. I’m currently the host mother to a 17 year old Hungarian student and we’re all enjoying having a teenager in the house again. It’s definitely a misconception that we have more free time once we retire – I know for a fact that’s not true, but we also need to look after ourselves and not put too much pressure on ourselves to try to fit everything in. #mlstl
You do far more than me Deb, but I guess I do still have two offspring living at home which increases my workload around here somewhat. I’d enjoy a teen in the house again too. I recently took my 16 year old niece and her two girlfriends out for the morning and absolutely loved having teenage banter in the backseat of my car again. I miss it! xo
While I’ve given a lot of thought as to how I want to meaningfully spend time in retirement, there are some ideas here I’ve never considered.
Pinning to my #mlstl board for future journaling efforts 🙂
I’m so pleased the post has provided some inspiration for you Molly! 🙂 xo