My husband and I lived, worked and prospered in New York City for the first 30 years of our marriage.
When my career, as a human resources divisional director, was suddenly cut short by an advancing and unexpected case of multiple sclerosis and my husband’s illustrious and successful career in high technology was surprising cut short by the onset of total blindness due to a hereditary condition knew as retinitis pigmentosa, that never existed in his family before, we both decided that someone was telling us something and it was time to retire.
We both fell in love with Naples and moved down here 10 years ago.
But how were two energized, professional people, with a passionate need (although restricted by our respective disabilities) to continue to “give back,” to satisfy that need here in this retirement heaven?
Well, our biggest challenge turned out to be selecting from the overwhelming list of worthwhile opportunities that were waiting for us for the taking.
My husband, Arthur, along with a like-minded group of about 15 others, started the Center for Low-Vision People in Collier County. He is now the vice president and one of the board directors.
I found volunteer opportunities that utilized my HR expertise and am running a reading group for the Women’s Cultural Alliance, which has grown deliciously to over 100 brilliant, like-minded women.
When we both found we still have some energy left, my husband became an executive board member of the Naples Men’s Discussion Group (over 100 bright men with inquiring minds) and I became an advisory board member of the Collier County Chapter of the American Technion Society (ATS), which supports the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, in Haifa, Israel, and is designed to educate and inform the public on issues dealing with the Technion, Israel and the role of science and technology in the country’s future.
Don’t ask either of us how we’ve overcome our respective disabilities. We don’t know if we can answer that one. But instead ask if all of this is worth it — and we will say “yes.”
So to those of you reading this, please ask yourselves if you can volunteer for something meaningful to you and overcome whatever “disability” you might have. Trust me. It’s worth it.
Contact me at 239-354-0143 or Sbookbi@aol.com.