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Don't wait for retirement, serve now

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POSTED: October 29, 2013 11:30 a.m.

I was talking to Siri the other day — you know, that voice on your Apple smartphone that helps you with directions, tells you who’s winning the football game and will also take memos for you and then store them on your iPhone.
The other day I had asked her to take a memo, and after she was finished I thanked her. Her reply was, “I live to serve.”
Funny hearing that come out of a device such as your phone. Now I know someone a lot smarter than me had to program that phrase into Siri’s bank of responses, but it was refreshing to hear that at the end of a long day.
It got me thinking. If we did everything with the attitude of serving others, what would our world be like? Some words that come to mind are: Utopia, Shangri-La, heaven and paradise. Yes, a world of people dedicated to serving would be nice.
A few people come to mind when pondering this thought. Jesus is the first person I think of that dedicated his life to serving others. Even Paul the apostle had to see the light before he became faithful in his service to Christ and others.
Maybe “seeing the light” is something we all go through before we come to that point in our life where we recognize the importance of service above self. And I’m not sure it has as much to do with age as it does with our own circumstances. None the less, it does seem fairly common for young people to be more self-absorbed compared to those in their later years in life.
Climbing the corporate ladder, making a name for oneself and becoming established in the workplace are all important facets of a young person’s life — as most of us know and have experienced. That takes a lot of time. Of course time is something seniors have more of during retirement.
It’s no wonder then that the No. 1 activity of retirees, according to Discover Fit & Health is serving others. You can find seniors of all ages volunteering at many community programs, nonprofits, veterans’ homes, schools, hospitals, churches, museums and the list goes on and on.
Many seniors find themselves helping within their own families and neighborhoods. Driving children to school and picking them up after dance class. Providing childcare and tutoring for grandchildren has many positive outcomes for both ends of the family.
Grandparents help keep family expenses down while at the same time engaging in activities that challenge them emotionally and physically. This might not sound like a hobby but it is leisure time that is well-spent and much-appreciated.
Isn’t that one of the things that keeps us going in life, feeling appreciated? Of course it is. And serving others is a way we can find our purpose in life as we get older. It continues to bring to our life meaning and individual self-worth.
But a quick reminder to people of all ages — serving others is the foundation of our free market economy. Start weaving service to others in all that you do now, don’t wait for retirement. Those that give of themselves at any age will be richly blessed.
Serve well my friends.

DeLong is the executive director of The Suites at Station Exchange. You can e-mail him at Suites.StationExchange@gmail.com.

 

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