Finding Inspiration in Retirement
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Finding Inspiration in Retirement

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January 12, 2018

Eddy Magnus is a member of Retire United and director of volunteer services for Interfaith Older Adult Programs. Eddy has been involved with United Way since she joined Interfaith, a United Way funded program partner, in 2006.

This blog is part of our Retire United Q&A series. Read previous entries from Bev Jurkowski, Reid Engstrom, Dennis Sell, Gary Sprong, and Kathy Gale.

City of residence: Pewaukee, WI

What is your favorite thing about your involvement with United Way and/or the Retiree Committee?
My favorite thing about working with United Way is seeing all of the connections we make for both for volunteers and clients in need. It's humbling to see what others will do for someone else simply because they were asked.

Do you volunteer in your spare time? If so, what do you do and where? I was very involved with volunteering when my children were younger. For example I was a soccer coach, Girl Scout leader, president of the Booster Club at their school and various roles in my church. Lately, circumstances have taken me away from volunteering as much. However, I am still very active in the Service Club of Pewaukee Lake where we concentrate on raising funds for women and children in Waukesha County. They have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars by hosting an annual style show. This is an inspiring group of women to work with.

If you could change one thing about your community, what would it be? I would love to see less violence in the Milwaukee area, these past years have seen an incredible amount of violence which is frightening to everyone.

What is your favorite place you’ve travelled and why? I have been lucky to travel to some amazing places, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be Japan. Their culture is very different than the United States, which is interesting. If I had to describe Japan in a few words I would say, respectful and thankful. They respect others, the earth and their elders all while having an amazing work ethic. There is not a gum wrapper to be seen on the sidewalks as they all respect their spaces, every person does their part. Their love of art can be seen everywhere including amazing gardens over the entire city.

What is the last book you’ve read? I love my book club! The group chooses very eclectic books so it makes me read a wide variety of styles, mysteries, biographies, poetry, historical fiction, science fiction and more. I find myself reading books I would have never even glanced at in the store. I also find that after reading a book that I maybe wasn’t thrilled about, once we discuss it with the group I generally realize that I did enjoy the book. In our 14 years together reading hundreds of books there are only 3 books we can all agree on that were not the best. I think that is an amazing record!!! The last book we read was Bill Browder’s Red Notice: A True Story . It is fascinating, sad and timely, a book that really makes you think.

What advice do you have for young professionals? My advice for young professionals would be to continue to learn and get as many experiences as you can. Finding the balance of a job you enjoy and that pays enough to live the life you want takes time and effort, but is really worth it. Everyone needs the balance to be happy healthy and successful.

What would you say to a person who is concerned that they will be bored in retirement?  I personally do not think anyone needs to worry about being bored in retirement. With a little effort people can find all sorts of things to do and many are free or low cost. I think a community or senior center is a great place to start hearing about things happening in their neighborhood or to find groups of people interested in the same things. Reading the newspaper or looking online is great too and both of those can be done at your local library. Of course I will also say that volunteering is a great way to stay connected to people and the community, and a great way to keep up your skills or even learn new ones all while helping others. A recent study which is presented by CNCS in a report titled “ The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research ,” has established a strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer. I didn’t need a study as I see it every day working with the amazing team of Interfaith volunteers all over Milwaukee County. If you are interested in trying volunteering look no further than United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County. They have all the connections you would need.

Are you retired or thinking about retirement and want to get involved in your community? Learn more about United Way’s Retire United network.


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