You find yourself sitting at home alone saddened because, “things were so much better when I was growing up…” What if you could change the world for the better, guaranteed. In fact, you could change it to be exactly what you wanted! The thing is, you really can. It’s as simple as getting involved in your community.
Growing up in the rust belt I heard it my whole life. Another store would close, another house would be left abandoned, but you know what? The same people complaining about the movie theater closing were the ones sneaking snacks in the one time a year they visited it. The people complaining that downtown was a ghetto would walk by trash on the street and not bat an eyelash.
Since buying a house I’ve begun to get involved in my local community and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve at least three people outside of my family that I can consider mentors now, and that list continues to grow. What’s better? People recognize me, they say hello, and I feel welcome. Perhaps that’s why others have soured on their community. They forgot to keep in touch with it.
Many of the people my age are parents. They don’t always have time between running their kids around to go rally for a cause. I’m not faulting them. They can make significant improvements to the world through the bonds they form with other parents. I was a shy kid and if it wasn’t for my siblings and parents friends, I’m not sure I would have made any friends on my own! So there is certainly value in just being a good parent.
But what happens when kids leave the house? Perhaps weary parents want to rest from the nearly two decades of involvement in this community subset, but I would urge them not to. Studies have shown that your mind stays sharp if you stay involved in your community. Not only that, but you’re actually happier. It’s not “hard work” that gives you satisfaction in life, turns out, it’s the people you connect with.
And there are plenty of volunteer opportunities for people who are “over the hill” so there’s no excuse. Have you heard of the Master Gardeners? They’re a force to be reckoned with in any community. These volunteers train in landscaping and horticulture so that they can better their community through gardening. Who doesn’t enjoy an elaborate garden after all?
Too many people try to race to the finish line of life, grow up, graduate school, get a job, get promoted, buy a house, have kids, get the kids out of the house, retire, and die. Time is the most valuable thing you can be given in life though. Instead of burning through it without a thought, use it strategically. Not just on you, not just on your family, but use it to make a real difference…even if it’s just something as simple as picking up the trash at your feet.