Kindness To Myself

Those of you who have been reading for a few years know that I have long enjoyed volunteering for causes. I try hard to teach Kale about why volunteering is important and am pleased that our life allows us to volunteer for causes we believe in. Tonight, I’m headed to my second to last meeting as the PAC Chair at Kale’s school. This represents the last ongoing volunteer commitment I have.

More than a year ago, I started the process of untangling myself from the organizations I’ve been attached to. It has been achingly slow, but I made the commitment to not leave any of them in the lurch. I wanted to make sure there were no bridges burnt, that the doors were always open for me to come back when I could, and that the organization that I believed in enough to volunteer for had the capacity to continue without me.

I’m itching now to get them all done with, now that I’m in the homestretch. I feel so exhausted by the commitments. With some of of time that has freed up I have recently:

  • Written and submitted some non-fiction to a call for submissions (more on this in another post later)
  • Started archery lessons and have found a community of friends to do this with on an ongoing basis
  • Gardened. For hours at a time. Without interruption. Quietly. (ZOMG)

Burnout isn’t something I expected to experience but this past few years have taught me that I need to say no and I need to not care if that means that some people will say things that aren’t very kind.

Kale has used phrases lately like “I need some downtime” and he’s oodles better than I am about acknowledging he needs to deactivate from life for a bit. Unrelated, a friend commented that it was sad that our children knew what “downtime” was, but I disagree. I am thrilled this is a lesson that has come out of my open and honest conversations about why I volunteer and why I’m saying no to so much these days.

This is the kindest gift I have ever given myself: mental space.

You’re welcome, me.

8 months ago