Two weeks ago (week of Oct. 21), I was thinking more about the way I would like to live my life, in terms of doing things that matter. I was thinking about how I want to do my part to leave the world a better place. I want my time here to have mattered. We all matter, of course, but it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and not spend as much time giving back.
I’ve been thinking about how some of my interests can be explored through volunteer work. I feel bad in a way, because the volunteering thought came in part from having been off work for so long and realizing I wouldn’t have anything to show for it, to a potential future employer. I worry about that, and of course, volunteering is usually viewed positively.
I think I used to be more interested in volunteer opportunities when I was younger, but in more recent years, some thoughts of volunteering have been combined with my interest in travel.
Sadly, in my adult years, or at least in recent years, volunteering has felt less important. Selfishly perhaps, I was thinking more of earning an income and therefore offering my time for free didn’t feel as practical or appealing. It’s funny because I became an official volunteer for the first time when I was around 12 or 13. I think I was even below the minimum age for that particular volunteer work, but I really wanted to do it and was finally able to.
I think we each have skills or areas that interest us, and sometimes I get confused about which of these to choose as a career path, but many can be done as hobbies or through volunteer work. Lately there are two areas that I am considering giving my time to, but I always feel a bit hesitant to get involved in anything when I’m not sure exactly where I might be residing in the near future. I don’t like the idea of not being able to follow through on a commitment. It’s kind of stupid, because time is going by and I end up not doing anything.
Doing for others is good, and it makes us feel good. It starts with our own communities but extends to our larger distant communities. I like to think we are in this together, but too often we feel so separate.
I was thinking that ultimately, what would make me feel good is to feel I am making a difference with people, animals and nature. And of course, we shouldn’t discount the simpler but just as valuable things we can do on a daily or monthly basis.
I was speaking with a family member last week and telling her about something I did for someone and that person’s appreciation, and she began complimenting me and saying that that was a difference between us because she just didn’t have the time. I didn’t want her to feel bad because I am certainly no better than her or anyone else, and although I would like to think I can be thoughtful in ways, in other areas I am less so. And in general, I could be doing so much more. It’s easy to talk about what you’d like to be doing, but doing it is what matters.
Making a difference was always a desire in me and I don’t think it ever fully left me. But it might have been more at the forefront before than it has been in more recent times, and I think it’s something I need to rekindle.