Retiring at 60, with my health and finances in good shape and with a husband of 40+ years to share days out and holidays with, was an enviable situation to be in. So why was it then – 4-5 years later that ‘my chair’ and daytime TV seemed always to be the preferred option most days especially in the winter months?
Time to try something different I thought. I came across RSVP and their National Programme of Reading Volunteers and after declaring an interest, I was soon invited to meet other reading volunteers for some training. Then when all the checks were complete I was placed in my local Primary School. A couple of hours a week was all that was expected of me and after discussion with the class teacher we settled on an hour Monday and an hour on Thursday. That was nearly 4 years ago and I’m still there.
An hour of my time twice a week doesn’t seem much but for me it means that on two days there is a purpose to my day – a reason to get out of ‘my chair’ shower, change and get ‘out there’. The walk to the school and back is an important element. I meet delightful children who enjoy reading and I enjoy listening to them. And when it’s over, there is enough of the day left to go to the shops or pay someone a visit – after all I am now already ‘up and running.’
I do wonder sometimes who benefits the most from my volunteering; the children who get some extra reading practice or me. I have learnt that taking a stroll in a different direction can sometimes re-vitalise one’s outlook. Let’s just call it a ‘win-win situation’!