Letter: Volunteering good for your health, overall outlook on life


To the editor:

According to AARP magazine, volunteering can lengthen your life. And not only lengthen it, it makes it enjoyable while living it. I certainly attest to that. I am on my 26th year of volunteering. I would like to go 20 more. Maybe so if the magazine is right. I would only be 106.

So why do I volunteer at the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts almost every day?

For one reason, it gets me out of bed in the morning. It also strengthens our marriage. When each of us have our own time each day, things go great when we are both home.

Of course, I know one guy who volunteers a lot just to get away from his wife. Not so in my case.

Volunteering also keeps your mind active. If you tackle something that is completely out of the box, so to speak, from anything you have done in the past, it will get the sparks flying up in the old noggin. Alzheimer’s scares me to death.

Volunteering can be relaxing. Depending on what you undertake, in a lot of cases, activities both mental and physical get your mind off of those things that might be bothering you.

Changing your atmospheric condition is usually relaxing. If you have spent most of your days cooped up in an office, what better way of relaxing than getting outdoors? If you have always kept clean, why not get a little dirty once in a while? Maybe even sweat a little.

I know some of you are saying, “Hey, I’ve worked hard all my life. It’s time for me to kick back and do things I haven’t had the time for or the money for.”

Go for it. I agree, and I do exactly that.

Three months with beach sand between your toes can relax you so much you forget who you are. But too much relaxing can create cobwebs in the old noggin, as well. Give a little, take a little is my motto.

Of course, it’s important to volunteer in something you enjoy. If it is work, a little goes a long way. It’s great if you can use your expertise to help a good cause.

Jimmy Carter is a good example. I’m sure banging nails is a lot more fun than banging heads in D.C.

In my case, I loved teaching, so I still teach, in a way. Giving historical tours of the antique print museum keeps me studying all the time. Sometimes, it just doesn’t feel right to drop what you have been doing all these years. It certainly would be a waste in a lot of cases. There are certainly plenty of organizations that could use what you know or can do.

A sense of being is a part of volunteering. At the end of the day, ask yourself, “Did I accomplish something good today?

If you are pleased with the answer, then you are probably worth keeping. If you don’t come up with anything, then you need to find somewhere to volunteer.

Don Hill, Seymour

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