Pig-Headed Do-Gooder Sports

“You are the volunteer of last resort” my husband chided me this weekend. I’m just not sure how to take that!?  The truth is, I am reliable and I commit cautiously, but fully.  Those qualities make me a perfect glutton for punishment. And in the world of parent-volunteerism, there’s plenty of punishment to be had.

What makes matters worse, however, is that I have two other qualities that delude me in my volunteerism: “do-gooder” and “pig-headed”.  Those are the more common names for my qualities. I tend to refer to them as my lofty-dreamy-isms and my love of the sport of running-down-the-slim-odd.

So altogether, you have a girl who believes she can make the world better, is not deterred by the odds, and who will do the dirty work, even if no one else will.  Seriously, I am a cause’s wet-dream! Continue reading

The Agenda: My Big Year

This was to be My Big Year. The year both children are finally in school all day every day. The year I am finally free to be me.  Or so I imagined a year ago.

As last summer drew to a close, I spoke proudly that I would not over-commit, I would take time for me, that I would keep my calendar open for a few months to take stock in myself and see what direction emerged from my self-imposed quiet period.  And I was pretty sure I’d find a job, because I would no doubt have figured out where I was going from here.

As it turned out, my existing volunteer commitments became bigger.  My co-coordinator took a job in September and I was left as the solo coordinator for the school’s parent-led nature education program.  I took on two classes to lead as well as the program.  I wrote a grant application. Not because I had to, but because I wanted to. The school needed it.  I felt I could do it.  Sigh.

The neighbhorhood leadership position I have I wanted to resign from but couldn’t leave MY co-president in the lurch, so I hung on for another year. A year that has proven to be full of challenges for my skills and patience.

I took on the family budget. I applied the discipline we needed. I organized our investments. More work to do there, but I have a plan. That’s huge.

There are just five and one-half days of school left.  Yes, I am counting the days. It is a double edged sword.  It is when I must close out my own agenda and start up the summer agenda.  They are very different. They are mutually exclusive.

As it turns out, this has been My Big Year.  No, I didn’t jump into my next job. I didn’t lose 10 pounds. I didn’t quit things that bum me out.  But I DID figure out a lot more about what makes me tick.

I’ve worked through many emotional issues about work, friendship, and self-worth. THOSE are the biggies.  I believe I’ve been able to remove many barriers to my own happiness and much of it has just fallen away in the past months.

I’m no longer driven to find a new job. I realize I don’t need a job to make me whole.  I have that with my family right now.  If I want to work for money, cool, but I’m leaving the baggage behind!  And of course, now that I don’t see work as critical for my self-worth, I am free to enjoy my family and myself.

School’s out in 5.5 days.  I’m not panicked.  I’m looking forward to enjoying a summer of exploring with and being with my kids.  No agenda.