I consider myself incredibly lucky and I try to practice being grateful for that luck, but being grateful isn’t enough, over the years I’ve become ever more focussed on the need to give something back.
Of course I already give plenty, I pay many thousands in taxes, I’ve brought 4 wonderful children into the world, I try to live a reasonably sustainable life but that’s not enough. I was lucky as a child to volunteer at an old folks home where I would run errands all Sunday morning and I still remember that time with a glow. Unfortunately I’m not very good at finding time for that kind of giving now, but I do try to build ‘giving back’ into the way I go about my day.
I’m constantly cleaning up litter on the beach and around the neighbourhood, compensating for the lack of street cleaning and the general apathy of others. I give money to charity every single day and try and buy from and more importantly donate a lot of good stuff to charity shops a couple of times a year. I provide financial and moral support to organisations like Green Peace who are struggling bravely against huge vested interests. Last but not least I coach and mentor people at work and I write this blog.
As I list these areas though they seem pretty paltry and I’m determined to find ways to do more, in particular to find ways to give back that cause me some real inconvenience, rather than just hit my wallet. Finding these areas though is tricky because it needs both time, willpower and perhaps most importantly a willingness to move outside my comfort zone. It will be interesting to see whether I make any progress over the next year, but I’ve listed giving back as one of the big themes that will define my retirement from traditional work in a few years time and I have some good ideas stored away in my retirement planning notebook!
If the research on this topic is anything to go buy I should benefit as much from giving back as those that I help.
The photo today is of the lovely community garden by the promenade at Grange Over Sands, working on a garden like this in St Anne’s would be the perfect way for me to give back!