Tuesday, March 18, 2008

On Volunteering

I am a big believer in volunteerism.

It benefits everyone involved if the person volunteering gets into the right field.

I have volunteered for a variety of causes over the years, from help hot lines to meal delivery for the needy, from reading to the elderly to fixing the computers of an agency that helped homeless veterans. I've served meals to the homeless on Thanksgiving, helped draft strategic plans for small non-profits, and taken photos for animal shelters. Sometimes these volunteer opportunities have led to long term work for me. Most often they have led to making new friends, and having a better undersstanding of my community and the people who I live and work around. Always it gives me a sense of just how fortunate I am, and how important it is to give to others to appreciate what i have myself.

This past year I have tried to volunteer again for an artists group as a board member, (I have been feeling something missing from my busy and often self-centered life as of late) and just recently realized how little time I really have in my own life. So I had to resign after about a year of service, (which I am still glad I did, despite how harried I am at the moment) and I feel as if, somehow, I am doiong something wrong.

Perhaps it is the fact that I hold myself to such high standards, I am frequently told by my buddy Tim that I "put myself out there" too much, that I don't allow myslf to have any time for just me. I have a hard time saying no, and absoultely "no" difficulty in saying "yes".

So I said "no" this time, for awhile anyway. I suspect it won't be too long before I get myself buried in too much responsibilty again.

Thinking About Others

Ah, it's been a long week with much going on. How can there be so much to do and so few hours in the day?
I've been updating my website, and I launched it without finishing it, which I think now was a mistake. But with so much other work to do it's hard to make time for personal projects. I shouldn't consider my website a "personal project", but that's the way it is.

A good friends home was broken into last night and she and her daughter lost everything. She'll get some of it back, but as in a fire, the things you can't replace are those times that are important not because they have a material value, but because of the emotional attachment one has to the memories that are built in. She has things that had been given to her by her mother, and her grandmother that are irreplaceable, and it's breaking her heart. I am going to help her clean up today, but I am saddened that the work my hands do can't heal her heart.

My youngest son joined track this week. He had to have new shoes so we went to buy them yesterday. I was stunned at how much a good pair of running shoes cost. He paid for part of them with money he has saved himself, but I took care of the bulk of it. He needs so many other things, but he asks for so little. I have good kids. Makes you want to do so much for them when they are so thoughtful :)

I am getting ready for a road trip this week. I have two shoots out of state and have decided to drive rather than fly so I can do some personal photography along the way. I'm having to do this trip alone because it's during the week and my friends are working themselves, so part of me is wishing I'd have company. The other part of me knows this will be a great opportunity to enjoy the landscapes and find the time to enjoy my own company. :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Surrendering to an Obsession

I admit I am addicted.

Yes, it's true.

I have tried to deny it, but even my mother will tell you she throws her hands into the air because she's not sure what to do about it.

I have been told quietly by business owners that I must stop, or leave the premises.

My kids have begged me to be more normal, my behavior in this matter embarrasses them.

I have considered purchases for my addiction, even when I am struggling to find the extra money to buy myself lunch. (Don't worry, I do feed the kids and take care of their needs before my own compulsions)

I give in to this fixation no matter where I might be, regardless of the weather or my own health. I can't help it.

...and yes, most of my friends help me continue this addiction, they too in some way have their own compulsions and understand mine.

But at least it's just my camera, it could be worse... eh?