Friday, May 09, 2008

Where Was I?

I'm beginning to think I may be overdoing this volunteer thing; I just realized I haven't blogged in 2 weeks. In case you wonder what I am doing, I'm:

- The secretary of the local Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council; since Oakland has just disbanded the Community Policing Advisory Board, it isn't clear what standing we still have, but we're currently planning our next monthly meeting. It's amazing how short a month is when you're planning meetings. I may be about to become the webmistress of the NCPC's new site, too.

- Director and webmistress of the Oakland Symphony Chorus (also an alto - I do sing in it). In the last 8 days this has involved 4 rehearsals (total duration about 15 hours) and 2 performances of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana (with the California Symphony); and we'll be doing it again in 2 weeks with the Young People's Symphony Orchestra, under a different conductor. (The last rehearsal was with YPSO's conductor.) Next week I have rehearsals Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights and a concert the following Sunday.

- Web designer and technical consultant for LifeRing Press, the e-commerce site of the LifeRing recovery group; I'm rebuilding it using ZenCart, in which I have found and reported a bug. I wanted to bring the rebuild live before we went on vacation in June, but it's occurred to me that it's a bad idea to bring the thing live and then leave, so it'll have to wait until I get back to babysit it.

- The LifeRing CEO also wants me to devise and implement a nationwide structure for support groups for the partners, families, loved ones, etc. of people using LifeRing for addiction recovery. Sort of like Al-Anon. The scope of this request leaves me breathless. Also, many people involved in LifeRing agree that the main LifeRing web site,, needs to be completely redesigned and rebuilt; but since no one can yet agree on what business functions they want the web site to provide, I'm ignoring it on the grounds of lack of specs.

- Finally, in an attempt to get myself out of the house and into the company of human beings at least once a week, I recently began volunteering with an after-school program for 3rd-5th grade girls called SMART, run by Girls, Inc. This may be one too many; I'm committed through the end of this month and then I'm going to rethink it. I'm not sure that 10 year old girls were the human beings I had in mind.

At least I'm not bored: I barely have time to read the newspaper which may explain the lack of blogging. And the library card I got? Fergeddaboudit.

1 comment:

  1. You may be spreading yourself too thin.

    Remember what you fantasized about doing when you were stuck in the 9 to 5. With that motivation suddenly removed, you may have forgotten how the tension of necessity acted upon your subconscious, i.e., the habitual "putting off" motion that justifies procrastination. But now that the work pressure is off, you might be becoming complacent about your own needs.

    Volunteering can be very rewarding. But, sometimes, when I'm doing it, I wonder whether I'm being true to my own loves: Writing, photography, fly-fishing, gardening, cooking, aside from all the reading I've been putting aside for 40 years. I could be delivering food, or cold-calling to sell charity tickets, etc. But there are plenty of people, people with no interests and no delayed projects or avocations, who are just as qualified to fill these slots. If volunteering is the best use of your life, then go for it. If there are things you once promised to do--for yourself--make sure those are addressed first, and not pushed down the priority list, as you once did. Don't let the volunteering become your de-facto "job".