Back from the Volunteer Abyss

8 Jun

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind and I began to wonder if I would ever make it back to writing for anyone but myself, so I am delighted that I am back to doing one of the things that I like best, sharing my thoughts and experiences with my readers, my friends. I’ve learned so much about myself and the direction I want my life to take over the past few weeks. I’ve become so much more focused on what’s important in my life and what I can let go of. It’s been grueling and freeing, exhausting and enlightening, and I’m so grateful for the experience.

I did something I haven’t done for a couple of years. I overcommitted myself to volunteer work. While each thing that I did was worthwhile, the combination of all of them was overwhelming. The most ironic part is that the very people I volunteer for, my family, are the ones who were neglected in the process. In general, they dealt with my commitments with grace and patience, but my lack of focus as a mom certainly showed in my home, the lack of family dinners and the final report cards of two of my children (their worst quarter ever).

Although I feel some guilt for my lack in the mom department, I’m also grateful for the incredible awareness and knowledge the situation gave me. I learned that in the volunteer world, I don’t have to be in charge anymore. I can be a worker bee that shows up to do my thing, go home and be perfectly fine with that. I learned that I love to create videos out of other people’s pictures, and that I’m good at it, except when the computer decides to randomly delete my file that I’ve been working on for days. This is when I’m grateful for a computer savvy husband and son who know how to recover auto saved work. I recommend that everyone like me have at least one computer genius in the family. I also learned that I can throw one heck of a picnic for 400 students, a fun graduation party for my son and pack for a vacation in the space of two weeks. I learned that pulling an all-nighter isn’t as much fun as it was when I was younger, and I don’t recover as quickly either.

The result of all of this learning is that I feel much wiser than I did before all this happened. I said no to a new volunteer experience that would have helped out a friend, but would have been something I really didn’t want to do. Thankfully, I have a very understanding friend who sensed my volunteer burnout and didn’t push. So what’s next? First up is enjoying a wonderful vacation with my family. We are on vacation now, and although I’m writing, it’s with their encouragement as we wind down for the evening. When we get back from vacation, I’ll be focusing on taking even better care of our health in every way I can, despite the protests of my dear children about the additional veggies I’ll be serving, in season of course. I’ll also, hopefully, be spending much more time writing and sharing and living my best possible life. I hope you’ll be doing the same. Thanks for being you and have a great day!!

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