I was recently asked to speak about volunteering and I thought to myself, do I really volunteer that much to speak about it?
Not really. I’ve always thought it was important to volunteer, and have consistently been active in my community in one way or another, but I do not think I go above and beyond what most people do. Right now, I am a Brownie Leader to my boyfriend’s cousin’s daughter’s Brownie group (follow that?). This is my second year doing this and I have really enjoyed it. Recently, I’ve found that I’m not looking forward to going to the meetings. The girls are all really wonderful individually, but man do they have a lot of energy and are constantly talking. This is really starting to get on my nerves, especially when we are trying to get something across. I have always been a really good listener, and it just seems to be lost on these girls. It makes me feel really disrespected and annoyed. This is making me feel like a bad person.
To make it even worse, the parents recently sent out an email to “just the parents” about getting the leaders a present at the end of the year. They included me in this email chain, and didn’t even mention that I was a leader illustrating they didn’t even know I am a leader. A little concerning, given that I am there every week with their daughters. You think you would know who was responsible for them. Not only that, but I am not even a parent so I shouldn’t be included in this email in any fashion.
Starting to feel like I’m in volunteer fatigue. I get emails from Young Women in Business about their Ladies in Pink program, volunteer opportunities in the community. I recently said yes to one, that I really had zero interest in. They signed me up to work 3 of the 5 days of a show. I do not know why I signed up, but I definitely did not enjoy it. We were doing remedial tasks and I was neither being challenged nor learning new skills. I was actually beyond bored and did not enjoy what I was doing. Definitely volunteer fatigue. This experience really showed me to value my own time. I do not want to spend more than 4 hours doing something I do not enjoy. It was not a feel good experience.
I’m feeling a lot angst right now. I am feeling very ungrateful and non appreciative. Feeling like this snow cloud that is hanging over Vancouver, is hanging over my head. I’m hoping that by acknowledging these feelings, I will soon be out of it. I need a good shake. But what I’ve learned about valuing my own time through this experience, I hope to apply to my life more generally. I will continue to volunteer, but I am going to be more selective in my choices about where I dedicate my time. I would much rather spend my time doing something volunteer or otherwise, that is valuable and will help me develop news skills and experiences and create a positive contribution into the community.