Building personal relationships is another perceived benefit that senior sages receive from their civic engagements:
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I really don’t know how my life could be lived without these involvements and commitments. I’ve been doing this stuff since I was a kid and don’t know any other way to function. I also know something about myself: It’s not what I do or the accolades I receive that counts but who I am, my core being that feeds me.
The personal benefits that I get out of it are really great. Number one is social interaction, which we all know is important as we begin to age. There are also the friendships I have made. It has really opened-up the whole community to my wife and me, and that is very gratifying for us.
One of the benefits is just getting to know people in the community. Another is being acknowledged and respected and seeing that I can help in a lot of places. It keeps me energized, active, and creative. I don’t play tennis and other stuff like that. Maybe I should, but my civic involvement is what inspires me and gives me my life.
A sense of satisfaction and belonging are what I get out of my civic involvements. On a lot of levels, I’m rather hermit-like and not very social. Even though I’m not always a good friend in reaching out to people, I feel so connected when we’re together. For example, I love all of the people on the Center for Nonprofit Leadership board, and that’s great and really fun.
First of all there is a feeling of relevance. I think it is very dangerous for anyone not to feel relevant. I also get a lot of reinforcement from people who are happy with the contributions they believe that I make. And I’ve gotten to know a lot of good people who I would never have known without my community involvements.