Find Ways to Contribute, Even in Retirement

One of the first challenges newly retired individuals face is the struggle with a diminished sense of self-worth. The end of a person’s professional career also brings an end to decades of work and personal investment. Between the lack of a structured schedule, the reduced responsibilities and the abrupt halt of your career, adjusting to the next phase of life often comes with a great deal of difficulty. Unfortunately, too many retired individuals wind up resigning themselves to a reduced value and role in society.

But there’s a flawed logic in thinking that retirement equates decreased value. Even when individuals say goodbye to their day job, they’re still fully functioning members of society and equipped with skills that can make meaningful contributions. In fact, the opened up free time of no longer having a job creates plenty of opportunity to make yourself useful in ways not possible when you were fully employed. With a slight change of perspective, you can find plenty of ways to remain active and involved well into your retirement.

Get a hobby job

Many new retirees miss the productivity and routine of having a job. For them, there’s great news: You can easily get another job in retirement. But instead of a career-track position, consider taking a position at a place that you will enjoy while still being challenged. Seek out jobs that align with your hobbies and/or passions, whether that’s woodworking or simply talking to others. You can even settle on a part-time job with flexible hours to retain the benefits of retired life.

Volunteer your time to a local organization

If a second job isn’t of any interest, consider volunteering at a local organization you are passionate about. Historical societies, museums, non-profits and other organizations are always in need of helping hands across a wide range of tasks. If you’re committed to this type of work, your societal value in retirement could actually exceed what you experienced as a career worker.

Take, for example, Betty Ruth Kemp of Norman, Oklahoma. As a member of the Chickasaw Nation, which refers to itself as “unconquered and unconquerable,” Kemp spent her life protecting tribal archives for the Chickasaw while serving for a variety of historical organizations. As a tribute to her service, Kemp was voted into the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame earlier this year.

Such achievements aren’t unthinkable for other retirees. If you find an organization you are passionate about, there’s nothing that says you can’t become an integral contributor in your golden years.

Continue learning

It’s becoming increasingly common for retirees to go back to school. Whether it’s taking classes at the university level or simply learning new skills and crafts through community colleges or local community centers, learning keeps your brain sharp and busy. Many people find significant personal satisfaction in undertaking education later in life.

It’s natural for big life transitions to come with some struggle. The important thing to remember in the days and weeks following your retirement is that your days can still be filled with meaning and purpose, even if that purpose is changed. Remember that the change is an opportunity to put your efforts toward something you are passionate about. That’s one of the best parts of the retirement years, and it will keep you highly valued in the eyes of others.

About the author: Danielle blogs on behalf of Sears and other brands she uses. In her spare time, she formally studies marketing at The Kelley School of Business and informally studies the Chickasaw Nation and other Native American tribes.

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Beyond the Biebs: Birthday Presents for Your Granddaughter


When it’s time to buy a birthday gift for your beloved granddaughter, you want something special that reminds her of you each time she looks at it. But when that granddaughter’s young, she probably has a wide range of interests—everything from Justin Bieber to science experiments. This means you have a huge range of potential gifts to choose from.

But it’s also important to be practical. Most gifts given at the age of five or six aren’t going to be around when she’s an adult. Blending practicality with your desire to make her smile isn’t always an easy trick to pull off. To that end, consider the following list of gift ideas to delight your favorite little girl on her big day.

Custom Photo Book

Not every grandmother has time to craft a handmade scrapbook, but these days it’s easy to create a personalized photo book online with just a few clicks of your computer’s mouse. She’ll love being the star of her own hardbound book, and you can include lines from a story you two love reading together or some of your favorite sayings.


Most little girls love jewelry because it’s a great way to express their personalities. Whether your granddaughter is artsy, loves music or spends her time preparing for the zombie apocalypse, you can find a trendy charm necklace or pendant for her without breaking the bank. You could even get her a Justin-themed bracelet or ring to satisfy her inner Belieber. We know you want to spoil her, but save those real pearls for her sweet sixteenth!


Do you remember having a diary with a little lock on the side when you were young? There’s something so special about a private book to write in, even for girls still learning to write. Find a journal with a front cover that especially appeals to her, like one with kittens or soccer balls to give the item a personal touch.


A girl’s never too young for a set of luggage! Make her feel super special with a grown-up suitcase to take on sleepovers. You can often find suitcase/sleeping bag combinations in an array of styles at major discount stores. A rolling suitcase is most practical, especially if she gets to travel with you or her parents on occasion.

Sports Gear

If your granddaughter’s a budding athlete, find out what kind of sports equipment she needs to play her best. For a soccer player, a new pair of cleats or a shiny new soccer ball fits the bill; the softball player will appreciate a new glove or even a batting tee to help her practice her swing. If you really want to thrill her, slip a pair of tickets for her favorite team into a pair of athletic socks.

Dolls and stuffed animals are still wildly popular with most girls, but so are video games, books and science kits. No doubt your granddaughter would be happy with a wide variety of gifts—Justin Bieber-themed or otherwise. You can hardly go wrong, Grandma. All you need to do is think about the things she likes to do when the two of you are together and you’ll know exactly the right gift to give.

About the Author: Danielle is a writer from the Midwest and enjoys writing about fashion, travel, and jewelry such as necklaces, bracelets, and rings. She often gives women advice on the perfect fashion styles for any occasion.

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My New Favorite Travel Apps – Guest Post



Making time for a getaway with the girlfriends can sometimes feel like planning for a trip to climb Mount Everest. You have to plan months in advance, prepare work ahead of time, and then there’s a need for new attire (or at least an excuse to buy that new dress).
But my recent venture to the Windy City with my girlfriends was worth all the prep. Planning ahead—and tackling all those spur-of-the-moment problems while on the trip—was much easier thanks to tech gadgets and a great batch of apps and online resources.

Prior to the trip we planned the basics–hotels, general itinerary, whose car got the honor of toting our suitcases. Finding where we were staying was likely the toughest call, mainly because the options abound. We obviously wanted to find something that would meet our budget and our standards for cleanliness and safety. is a great place to start with reviews. It also connects with your Facebook account to show you the reviews your friends have made. Choose Chicago became a great resource with its online site and app that helped connect us to the best Chicago hotels. It also came in handy when we got to planning the good stuff, especially when paired with TripAdvisor’s forums and tourism page. Both provided great ideas for the best museums, shopping, entertainment and restaurants.

When we hit the open road, the long stretches of highway never felt like the desolate Wild West thanks to the AroundMe app. Whether we needed a gas station, ATM, or a place to get a quick bite, AroundMe told us where our nearest options were so we didn’t have to waste time wandering. Even better, it meant we weren’t confined to making quick decisions on bathroom breaks based solely on what we could see from the interstate.

As we hit the city, Waze gave us the scoop on traffic jams and important detours to know about. Parking was also made a little easier with iCarPark. Losing your car in a concrete jungle doesn’t have to happen with this handy app that helps you mark its location.

Chicago is a public transit city, so when we didn’t want to break the car out of its safe resting place, we turned to the CTA to get a true Chicago travel experience. Several apps exist to help you keep track of your transit options, including Buster for the bus and Arrivals for the train.

Inside our hotel room, finalizing plans for the day were simple with Choose Chicago, which kept us posted on events during the span of our trip and even provided sample itineraries. When wanting to get a true taste of Chicago, we often used the LocalEats app to find the unique culinary options the city has to offer.

Spending time with the girlfriends in the big city was a delight, especially with all the on-the-go apps that helped us make the most of our trip!

About the Author: Danielle enjoys visiting The Windy City and staying in Chicago hotels with her girlfriends whenever her hectic schedule allows a weekend away from home. She gets less than excited about riding on The L while she is there.