Friday, February 16, 2007

Born Volunteer

I was an orange juice monitor in kindergarten and things haven't slowed down since. I thought about it today as I sat in a room full of women I had just met, at the women's club I have just joined, and I was focusing on not volunteering to DO anything. It won't last. It never does.

While there, in fact, I accidently volunteered to join a committee to determine the eventual use of a piece of trust property in our neighborhood. It wasn't intentional. The man said, "Would this be a conflict of interest for you?" He meant because I am chair of the county land trust, could I also serve on his committee. "No. It's not a conflict," I answered, and before the words left my mouth I knew I had once more volunteered.

Don't misunderstand. I support volunteering. I encourage volunteering. It's the right thing to do to keep community activities moving forward. But just once, I would like to join an organization, a club, a group, and try to just be a member. Let someone else make the effort, set the table, brew the coffee and I will just show up. I just want to try it.

At the changeover meeting of a local board, the new members were introduced and the old members introduced themselves. I am both old and new - held over. Each one in turn announced their name and their job designation. When it came to me I said, "I am Karin and I am here because I have skills."

As television's Monk often says, "It's a blessing and curse," having skills. It's good to know how to do things and be self sufficient but there are many who are not and they come to you like pilgrims to prophets. At first grateful for your assistance, later they take you for granted, and later still they are angry if you are unavailable. It is not a satisfying progression.

Sometimes I think fondly of time to myself. I could finish the painting on my easel. I would have to dust it first because it has been waiting for a long time. I could set up a seed starting area to prepare for spring in the garden. I could actually read a book. But this daydreaming will have to wait, because I have things I have to finish tonight - volunteer things.