I can think of nothing worse than sitting at home every day staring at the TV screen while life passes you by. That is the reality for many people who for one reason or another have found themselves out of work or housebound. There are some who are housebound through physical disabilities, others have lost their jobs… but many of them are able working men and women who have simply gotten into a rut.
For most of them, volunteering could be a way out…
My friend, let’s call him Bill, lost his job in November 2012. It hit him really hard. He went from earning a respectable income to relying on his partner’s part-time wage and a job seekers allowance. He stopped talking to his friends and soon dropped out of all social gatherings and family events. Soon his relationship with his wife, Mandy, started to fall apart. He needed help. After much persuasion he started to visit a counselor. After some time his mental health seemed to improving, but his interaction with other people was still at a low.
What the counselor suggested next was life changing…
She suggested that he use his time to help others. There would be no income for him, but what he would receive would bring him more value than any money could. Doubtful, Bill attended a meeting at a volunteer center and soon began work – teaching older local residents to use the internet and other computer based activities. After a few weeks the changes in Bill were astounding. He woke up every morning, ate a good breakfast, got dressed… and turned up to the center on time. Work was sometimes difficult, but always rewarding. He made new friends, gained new skills and discovered things about himself that he had never noticed before. He had turned wasted time into valuable time… and his efforts had not gone unnoticed.
What Bill had found… was a PURPOSE!
Some months after starting, Bill was approached by an elderly gentleman who knew someone that owned an IT training company. He insisted that he go speak to him. After a short interview, Bill was successful and began work as an IT Training Partner – and his life is back on track – albeit in a completely different direction from the one he used to have. The owner had been impressed by Bill’s commitment and dedication to helping others – regardless of the lack of income. He saw in Bill something that we all could do with showing – a willing to help others, without financial reward.
We all need a purpose in life. Time is precious, don’t waste it. Once it’s gone, you cannot get it back. No matter what your situation, there is always a way you can ‘pay back’ to others. You only live once, so get your ass off the couch and start using your time effectively. Giving is far more rewarding than receiving – and it may just lead to the chance of a better life. There are volunteer groups everywhere, all desperate for new faces to join them. Some offer the opportunity to receive training, perhaps in fields you never once thought of. Maybe you already have a skill-set that could benefit others. Most organisations will pay for your expenses – so all you have to bring is your time and willingness to get involved.
And you never know… being seen to be doing the right thing might just bring you new hope for the future – just as it did for my friend Bill.