For the past few months, I’ve been sort of torn. I love the volunteer work I already do, but it’s just not enough for me. I won’t go into why I feel like I need to do more, but I really feel compelled to dedicate as much of my free time as possible to helping others. I also won’t pretend I’m acting out of altruism – I’m most definitely getting something in return from all of this. Not money, obviously, but something more that I’m really having a hard time describing… easing my conscience, maybe? In any case, I desperately feel like I should and can do more; I’m just trying to be cautious with the use of my free time and the commitments I make.
I’ve already been warned multiple times by several volunteers that they’re afraid I’m spreading myself too thin. I disagree, and I’ve been trying to add more volunteer shifts until I start making progress with the other organizations, but I’m currently being kind of “blocked” (in the nicest way possible) from adding more time to my schedule. So in the meantime, I need to keep busy.
So it was back to the basement for me today. Last year I went through a huge basement clean-up that was incredibly cathartic. Today I revisited and cleaned up some of the clothing bins that were downstairs. I wear a totally different size than I did even last year at this time, and last year I was down a couple sizes from the years before. Some of the clothing in the basement wouldn’t come close to fitting me even with a snug belt, so I filled up a huge black trash bag with some donations. While I was at it, I took a look at some of the clothes and accessories in my bedroom and added to the bag. I made sure to empty out the pockets of any pants and purses I threw in, and that’s when I found this little piece of paper that made me pause.
The paper is a direct quote I wrote down years ago from a former coworker of mine, Jeff. He was (is) one of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever met; if I’ve ever met anyone who’s truly “good,” it would be Jeff. I distinctly remember standing in his cube one day at work and he said these words to me, “Say yes when you can and no when you have to.” I’m pretty sure we were talking about work at the time, but it can be applied to anything. In today’s case, I’m choosing to apply it to volunteer stuff. I can still say yes to something, or even a couple somethings. I have a lot more to give, and it’s not time for me to say no. I know my limits, and I’m not there yet. In fact, I’m just getting started.
It’s strange (and kind of awesome) how a little piece of paper can fire me up so much.
On a related note, if I really do end up burning out on all this, can someone please direct me back to this post and tell me everyone told me so? KTHX. 🙂