When you are younger, it’s easy to commit to volunteer groups. Then, before you know it you are on a volunteer A list, and it isn’t too many months before you are burned out and tired of it all. Not only do you work all day, take care of the house and family, but your time is taken up with phone calls or planning for future volunteer events. That leaves little time for yourself or your family. There really are only twenty four hours in a day.
However, you are young and everything is handled with all due grace and propriety. In our case, moving to a new location got my husband and I out of that treadmill and at our new home, he was forbidden to volunteer for anything for at least two years and I certainly wasn’t going to offer myself up to any committees. As it turned out, we wouldn’t have had the time anyway.
Now, it’s twenty years later which has brought about a lot of changes. My husband is gone and all the children have grown, married, and moved on. Retirement brought on so much activity initially that it left no time for even thinking about volunteering for anything except maybe a padded room. Now, most things are settled and it is time to put myself back into that pool. It’s time to swim or shut up.
This isn’t done without a lot of thought. I have run through a lot of ideas, but am smart enough to think each idea through thoroughly and conceptualize what it would be like. The first idea was to volunteer at the library which seemed a natural move for me. I imagined them assigning me to put away the books which would require me to learn the Dewey Decimal System which has always been a maze of confusion for me and that was when I had really good eyesight. Then, I could see myself picking up a book to put it away and standing there reading it losing all track of time. Not a good thing for a volunteer to do which ended that venture before it began.
Next, I thought about working for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library which promotes early childhood literacy by providing books for children whose families cannot afford them. Her cause is an excellent one and has had good results, but the more I read and thought about it, it seemed like something that I would get totally caught up in and end up spending all my time and effort towards helping them. Truthfully, I just don’t want to get that involved again. What I wanted was something that would only take a few hours of my time each week. Just something that would get me out of the house and around people for a while notwithstanding the times when there were special events and more time would be required.
The wait was worthwhile. I think I may have found the perfect match. After the class in rain barrels, I talked with the instructor, Beth, about the possibility of volunteering for them. She explained what they did and that it would be for one afternoon each week repotting plants or weeding. Can we say perfect? Tomorrow will be my first day and I am cautiously optimistic that this will work out. There are benefits for them and me. They get the help, and I will work hard, whereas I will learn more about local plants and how to handle them properly. It’s an opportunity for on-the-job training which I can translate into keeping my future dream yard looking good. Plus, as evidenced at the Home and Garden Show in February, they have some great new ideas and are proactively green. This is going to be great. Wonder if I could wangle some credits out of this…..no, let’s not even go there.