Retirees try to find volunteer work which makes them feel worthwhile. My husband is training to become a mentor to inmates who are ready to exit their jail cells and embark on a new life. So he and I have just been talking about making wise decisions and how some of us seem to practice good ones while others struggle even as adults. Most convicts land in jail in large part because they were not sober when they committed their crimes. For some incarceration means a sober life.
I lost my father, mother and one sister to the disease of alcoholism. I grew up with a father who lost his temper and I swore I would not become him. But sadly, my temper scared my own two children too often when they were growing up. They witnessed me trying to rescue my sisters and their children. The decision to attend weekly Al-a-non meetings was a long time coming, but today I practice the same steps as an alcoholic and focus on my own recovery. Not easy but it is a practice just like yoga—the aim is not perfection but change. The goal is to make better decisions based upon past experience.
The truth is that all of us make bad choices and then we live with the consequences. Prisoners must wonder if society will accept them—they have to learn to love themselves and forgive their transgressions just as we all do. We are capable of change. Retirement brings new opportunities for personal growth. I admire my husband for deciding to serve his community. I know he can help someone because he has helped me.