As the festive season including Christmas approaches, I am very conscious that this time means different things to different people. For some it is a time to be with family or loved ones, celebrating or sharing time with those who are an important part of our lives; for others it is a time to retreat from the hustle and bustle of the year and take advantage of the quieter time when others are away. It can be a time of isolation and loneliness where loved ones have moved away to new places or maybe even passed away.
One thing we can all do is to take some time to reflect on our own life journey, the things that are important to us, what gives our life meaning and purpose, consider how we spend our time and who we spend it with. As I travel around Victoria in my role as Commissioner I have the great fortune of spending time with senior Victorians, listening to the wonderful stories, and hearing of the tremendous and varied ways that they contribute to their local community, and the different ways they fulfil the objectives of finding meaning and purpose in life.
As we move through our senior years, it is very clear to me that the things that motivate and inspire us can change. As the new year approaches, perhaps we can find some time to reflect on how we spend our time. Maybe there are volunteering opportunities to consider? Maybe there is something you’ve been thinking about doing but have been putting it off? Maybe you would like to pursue a new interest or hobby? Maybe it is about exploring more of the world in which we live? Have you thought about making some new friends or taking up a new hobby?
There are U3As, Life Activity Clubs, Men’s Sheds, Senior Citizen Groups, Sports Clubs, Art organisations, Neighbourhood Houses and a broad range of volunteering opportunities for you to consider.
To all those involved in making sure organisations and activities continue to exist and thrive I thank you, as collectively you contribute so much to the ability for senior Victorians to have meaning and purpose in life. I’d like to congratulate the seniors in our community that provide such wonderful opportunities for seniors to build social connections, participate in meaningful activities and help provide a positive experience of ageing.
How ever you choose to spend the festive season – may you have a relaxing and re-energising time, and I’ll catch up with you in 2019!
Commissioner for Senior Victorians
Gerard Mansour is a passionate advocate for the rights and needs of older Victorians, with more than 25 years’ experience working in the aged and wider community service sectors. He has contributed significantly to policy development and implementation of services assisting senior Victorians.