Friday, August 4, 2017

Make Every Day Count

When you go to bed at night, can you say that you feel good about how you spent the day? If this were your last day on earth, would you be okay with how you lived?

Living every day with a sense of purpose and direction can be challenging when we’re no longer employed. When we were in the workforce, it was much easier. We had to show up to work. We felt productive because that’s what we were supposed to do—get stuff done.

Conversely, in retirement this sense of purpose and being productive can be elusive. It’s hard to live every day with intention. I don’t want to disappoint you, but most likely there will be some times when you’re languishing and mindlessly wondering about the house. You’ll get in your car to drive somewhere, but have nowhere to go. It’s not easy to purposely fill 16 hours (960 minutes!) Busywork doesn’t count. I’ve never found satisfaction in just keeping busy.

Over the years I’ve written several blog posts about intentional living. I encourage you to browse through these archived articles to learn how to create a retirement with meaning and purpose. You’ll find a lot of great ideas that will bring direction to your retirement years. Here are just a few suggested posts to get started:

Still, even if you read every post I’ve written since 2010, there will be times when you feel like a boat without a rudder. One these days, before the day ends, I suggest doing something that will make a difference in the world. That might sound like a big task. Fortunately we don’t have to find a solution for world hunger, or build a school in Nairobi, to benefit from the positive emotion that comes from extending a small act of kindness.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Fill a large bag full of clothes that you no longer wear and put it in a collection container. When I was in Uganda, I witnessed the difference these clothes make in the life of a micro-entrepreneur who mends the clothes and sells them to support her family.

Instead of going out for drinks, give $25 to KIVA. It’s a gift that keeps giving because once the entrepreneur has repaid the loan, you get to reinvest the money in another entrepreneur. Plus it’s really fun to choose the person, country, and type of business that you want to support.

Prepare a meal for someone and/or deliver homemade cookies to a college student. If the recipient invites you to stay for a visit, stay. You’ll leave feeling good from connecting with another person.

Send a card or write a letter to a friend or family member. Remember years ago how wonderful it was to receive a long letter from a friend? Email and texting are not the same. You’ll experience a sense of anticipation once you drop the envelop in the mailbox. Days later, you’ll make someone’s day when he/she receives your letter.

I encourage you to try one of these suggestions and to come up with your own. Then post a comment below. I believe you’ll be surprised by how rewarding a simple act can be, and make you feel good about your day!

 “Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Psalm 11:25

Copyright 2017. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

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