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Add to Your Legacy: Giving Back Enriches Our Lives

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There are many benefits to living longer, and one of those is the extra years we get to enjoy after retirement. They can be filled with traveling, golf, painting, pickleball, new hobbies, or visiting with family and friends. Whatever activities you choose, you will likely have some days when you have time on your hands. The question is, how will you fill that time?

John Wooden, the great hall of fame basketball coach, said that it's impossible to live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you. Our friends at Growing Bolder call it “Moving forward by giving back.” Doing good for others gives purpose to our days and is a wonderful opportunity we can transition into more deeply during our bonus years.

And the good news is purpose is a proven key to our longevity. Research shows that living with a sense of purpose improves our mental and physical health, and lowers the risk of premature mortality. Chances are you’ll feel better and live longer.

In what ways can you give back? Many nonprofits can use help with skills you might have used in your career, such as marketing, accounting, or technology. Or if you want to try something completely new, there are many other opportunities out there and many organizations that allow you to volunteer as your schedule allows, so you’re not locked in forever. is a great place to look for volunteer opportunities near you.

You don't have to change the world, but you can change your life for the better simply by helping others. It can also be as easy as paying attention in your daily life. A simple act of kindness can change someone's day and maybe even their life. Making a difference is not about age, it's about attitude. And leaving a legacy is not about money, it's about intent. A legacy is simply the stories that people tell about you when you're gone. So, ask yourself, what stories will people tell about you? That's your legacy, and it’s not too late to keep building it.

As we think about our legacies, it’s a great opportunity to begin letting go of the tangible things we no longer need. We all know it’s not in the stuff we leave behind that matters, but the memories we’ve created. As poet and author Maya Angelou said, “People will never forget how you made them feel.”

If you need help cleaning out the stuff in your life, so you can enjoy the most meaningful mementos, our team at Caring Transitions of Waukesha County is always here, ready to help, and our platform enables your items to enrich someone else’s life.

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