A couple of years ago, I made a conscious decision to stop saying yes when I meant no. I was having a difficult time with anxiety, I was over committed and overwhelmed. It was a very effective strategy, for a while.
We didn’t do extra activities just because everyone else was. We didn’t go out if we didn’t feel like it. I didn’t volunteer for every darned thing that came up. It was very liberating.
Then a funny thing happened: I felt like something was missing. I was bored! For goodness sake: I had a full time job and two small kids, and I was bored! As if there wasn’t enough housework to fill the waking hours.
So one son signed up for hockey and the other for drum lessons…ask my mother if she ever thought she would see either of those things happen! Most definitely not. But I love being a hockey mom, I even have a sweater to prove it!
Then, because that wasn’t enough, once we were well socked into a global pandemic, both adults working full time, one at home and one in the office, two kids at home indefinitely and in need of constant engagement, I decided to join up with a direct sales company and have a side hustle just for the fun of it!
As the kids these days would type, ‘smh’ (‘shaking my head,’ for the record). I don’t understand it myself, but this new busy is different than the old busy. Maybe because we are all doing things we enjoy, and there’s no fuss when it comes time for practice, it doesn’t feel so much like work. The housework on the other hand…well let’s just say I’m glad we aren’t allowed to have too many people in our bubble just yet.
So what is my point? When we volunteer for things we enjoy we are more likely to see it as fun instead of one more thing on a never ending to do list. I am only seeing it now, but I bet that’s why we see so many older folks doing the “committee work” at church, it is a way to use your skills, make a difference, socialize and have fun.
It always felt like too much; I’ve been on vestry and I’ve taught Sunday school, and goodness knows what else. It all went the way of the dodo a long time ago, but now I find myself looking for ways to volunteer that suit my interests better—and you know what? It seems just right.
It helps to find a good fit. It does more harm than good to say yes when you mean no. But it can be so fulfilling to say yes when it fits. I must remember that when the school comes looking for volunteers!
Where can you use your skills and have fun at the same time?