Contrary to what this blog might indicate, I do not spend 1000% of my time faffing about with vintage clothing and burlesque fripperies. There are also the hours reading 1930s novels, nibbling bon-bons, painting my nails, and…volunteering.
Itâ€™s NZ Volunteer Awareness Week, the perfect time to mention that there are two volunteer things that I do. One is with a major professional association, and the work I do there produces many benefits for me. The other is different. I wanted to do something that would Help Someone and Make A Difference. After mulling over various possibilities, I am now an accredited visitor with the AGS. What do I do? Once or twice a week, I visit a lovely senior lady. Weâ€™ve been having our weekly dates for about two years now. When she was living independently I would bring a hot homemade dinner and weâ€™d chat over that. I showed her how to use her computer and email, and we went out on excursions. Her health and strength have declined, and sheâ€™s living in a retirement home now, but I still visit. We still do the occasional very gentle excursion too, like driving to the seaside to watch the waves.
People get a bit shy when I tell them this. Their minds flash onto the fact that they havenâ€™t called Grandma, or they havenâ€™t volunteered since they were building up to apply to university. Then they blurt out, â€œThatâ€™s a really amazing thing that you do. Sheâ€™s lucky to have you!â€ Iâ€™m not that amazing, as a visitor. Being an AGS visitor takes me two, maybe three hours a week. But Iâ€™m there. If you ever feel like volunteering, somebody would be really lucky to have you, and you would make a real difference.
Last time I went to visit the retirement home, a senior man on crutches stopped me in the hallway to chat. After a momentâ€™s pleasantries, he said, â€œI just wanted to say, you have a lovely face. Really lovely.â€ There was something else about my husband or boyfriend being lucky, but I was blushing so hard my ears stopped working. It was all I could do to stammer out a thank you.
So, there you have it. Volunteer and be beautiful!