I did some soul searching this week.
On more than one occasion, I have referred to myself as a "professional volunteer". Yes, it sounds like an oxymoron, and yet I'm sure many of you know exactly what I'm talking about. As a full-time mom turned writer, I am blessed to be able to spend a lot of my time volunteering. Us volunteers really keep the world spinning, and most 9-5ers I know will admit that. Now, that doesn't mean that my schedule is wide open all day long and you can drop projects in my lap at the last minute. Oh no, and people have made the mistake of assuming that about SAHMs. We have a schedule, and it's as busy if not busier than yours.
Deal with it.
As most professional volunteers do from time to time, I have recently felt like I am in a place of having too much on my plate. Many of us struggle with the ability to say "No" when asked if we can help with something, whether its a school picnic or folding letters for a mass mailing. We do it because we love it, or at least that's what we tell ourselves, but sometimes we need to check in with ourselves on whether or not that is still true.
These past few months I have found myself overwhelmed, frustrated, downright pissed off with some of the volunteer work I have been doing. More than once I've vented to my husband with the words, "A'int no one got time for this shit", which thankfully brought a belly laugh from him that I needed to hear.
I love knowing I can still be funny even when I want to kill someone.
The more I got to thinking about it, the more I realized that I needed to ask myself, "Does it bring me joy?" If something doesn't, I need to step away from it. In thinking about that, I've also thought about all of the things that do.
I volunteer a lot with our church, am getting to a point where I am being asked to do more, and I absolutely love it.
My husband and I both volunteer A LOT of our time to our boys' baseball league, and we absolutely love it.
I love volunteering in my kids' classrooms, even if it is just sitting in the corner cutting things out. I enjoy knowing that their teacher isn't taking time away from the students to do that. Hand me the scissors, and go read to them.
The picture attached to this post is my dusty keyboard, because writing for all of you brings me so much joy. While that may not necessarily be volunteer work, it is a valuable way I spend my time.
And yet, there have been some projects that I have been a part of that have brought me absolutely no joy. My stomach turns a little every time I receive an email about it. Every meeting I have to decide whether or not I want to go deal with that today. My husband and I high-five each other every time we talk about when it will be over.
I have realized these past few weeks that this is not where I need to be spending my time. This really is for two reasons.
1- It is sucking the joy out of my life. Ain't no one got time for that.
2- There are some really wonderful people who volunteer with these projects who absolutely love it and are amazing at all that they do. Quite frankly, someone like me who isn't on the same page as them is in their way.
I am as much a bad fit for it as it's a bad fit for me, and you know what, that's okay. It's okay! I have chosen to get out of their way and let them be amazing, which will allow me to be amazing at all of the things I love.
Go be amazing, and find your joy. If that means stepping away from a joy-suck in your life, find the strength and courage to do that. We only get 24 hours in every day. Don't waste them.
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