Kathryn, our daughter, was up to visit this past weekend. As always it was a treat to spend time together and catch up on what’s been going on in each other’s lives. We had rain for most of the time, and she visited on our working days, so we didn’t “do” anything of great consequence. We did managed to get over to the Bittersweet Bakery again — what else do we do when we
are together if not to laugh, tell stories, and eat!
Of course to get to the bakery is a 25 mile drive — it seems that just about anything is s 25 mile drive from here, but not really. The fields are looking verdant, with tall corn and thick fields of soybeans. Which is mostly what we see by way of crops unless you are thinking about farmer’s private gardens. However, along the way — just before Plum City — we found this farmer who is growing pumpkins.
Those two on the right have got to be a couple hundred pounds at least!
Our conversations always wander all over the board but I can’t one or two observations came up over the weekend that got me thinking about about how much of modern day advertising is aimed at getting a person to buy things that are suppose to help us, or make us better, or make us prettier, or some such thing. It’s really quite amazing at how much of advertising, and contemporary thought, is devoted to telling people they aren’t good enough.
I’m not sure there’s any connection between my picture of the big pumpkins– a farmer trying to raise a bigger and better pumpkin than his neighbor (which I’m sure is for a contest, as no one in their right might is going to want to BUY a huge pumpkin) — and self doubt. I’m not trying to say that the farmer has an inferiority complex — it’s just an odd juxtaposition of detail.
Our ever-planning-daughter brought up ideas for her next visit to us — which likely will occur early this winter, once we arrive in Texas. It’s always fun to hear her plotting and scheming to get in the most “something” on her vacations. I remember how we used to plan vacations to do just about the same thing: more places, more miles, more people — and I’m glad Peg & I are to that point in life when we don’t have to look at our own movements with haste, taking our time about most of our decisions, and then indulging our daughter from time to time. It seems luxurious to do so. Do you know what I mean? Most of the time we go along at our own pace and then from time to time we have this spurt of adrenalin while we try to keep up with the younger generation!
In spite of the weekend rain I had a few more conversations with folks nearing retirement age who wanted to know everything there is to know about volunteering. I react to those conversations with mixed feelings; I know that most of the people who inquire won’t ever even become serious RV’ers. More people say they are going to do something than actually live up to their words. Among those that give it a try, a certain percentage will quickly realize that the lifestyle is not what they dreamt all the fantasy aspects of RV’ing, not the reality. Even though most of those conversations aren’t going anywhere, I still feel a esponsibility to paint volunteering with an accurate brush.
Where I’m going with this refers back to that saying about liking yourself. I wonder how many of the folks who inquire about what it’s like to volunteer do so because they are unhappy with the life they are living and think that a major change in how they live will result in a change in who they are.
It’s interesting that ‘how’ and ‘who’ consist of the same letters rearranged. Changing your life is all about keeping the same components — the letters or your personality — and utilizing them in different ways. We can’t change our personality. We can’t change the components — just as the letters ‘w’, ‘h’, and ‘o’ aren’t going to morph into ‘h’, ‘e’, ‘r’, and ‘o’, we can’t change when we were born, or our parents or the city in which we were born. If we haven’t learned to like ourselves as we are now, doing something different probably isn’t going to change that. But it will affect how we act in whatever activity we choose to do when we are trying to change ourselves.
One of the comments I have heard through the summer is that campers “actually see us” in the campground, or that we “interact more with campers” — and I find that interesting. We all have our own ways of fulfilling obligations. Some people take volunteer gigs to catually volunteer. Others take volunteer gigs to save money on RV’ing — the lure of a ‘free’ campsite is strong for those who’s budget might be tight. Some that I’ve seen have chosen to volunteer as a way of hiding from the world; getting away from something negative in their life. And it’s not my place to judge anyone, or any motive. We all have a right to live our lives as we see fit.
The reason I bring this up is that our motivation impacts how we perform. If all we want is free rent we aren’t inclined to be engaged in what the agency asking us to volunteer is trying to accomplish. If we are trying to hide from something, again, our engagement with people, with the ‘job’ is going to suffer. And the question arises is it fair to either the agency you are volunteering for, or to the people who use the services of that agency, if you aren’t engaged in your gig? I happen to think we have an obligation to give fair value for whatever we are receiving — whether it’s a free campsite, or a government ride, or free propane, or whatever it might be. The more you “get” the greater the obligation. It’s not about what the agency requires of you, it’s about how you interpret those requirements. Whether you give full measure, packed down and filled to overflowing, or whether you give a short measure.
I’ve had campers ask me how much time we give to the CORPS and then had them calculate their current hourly rate times the number of hours we put in and try to equate the cost of a campsite with what they see as lost wages. Obviously volunteering isnt’ going to net you as much as if you were still employed. But I think there’s something bogus about trying to make such an equation. And how we see ourselves plays a big part in that equation. If you are happy with yourself then giving to others is easier. If you think you aren’t being recognized for your true potential then volunteering becomes all about giving up what you never thought you had enough of. Instead of giving out of your abundance, you feel you are sacrificing out of your meagerness. It’s a little difference in attitude, but a huge difference in outcome.
I encourage everyone to give back to society; to volunteer; to help out. But I do think it’s important that the emphasis is more upon the benefit the other person/people/agency receives and less about what the volunteer receives. And I’m convinced that loving yourself, is an act of societal rebellion.
Be a rebel
Thanks for stopping by, I’ll be here tomorrow to chat once more.