I forgot to write about something important, which I was reminded of when we were toasting Christmas and talking about what we were thankful for... I quit the board of the gay rights organization I've been working with the past three years. oh yes. I didn't quit the organization - marc and I will still do their website. But I'm not the secretary, or the vice-chair, and I'm not responsible for starting anything.
Here's the thing to understand about doing good for the world. If someone calls me and says, come in and phone bank for two hours, or write a php script so we can keep member databases online, or go to a rally, then I can do that. I know how, I'll tell them a time that works for me, it'll get done. Maybe not right now, but sometime, and if I can't do it I'll be honest and say that I can't and then it's not my problem anymore.
When you're on the board, everything is your problem. The organization I was with never had any fucking money, and that was my problem. Our member newsletters didn't make it out, it was my problem. And after two years of being on the board and three years being a member, I was SICK of it. I think what really did it to me was this... about halfway through the year, our treasurer quit. And instead of worrying about where we'd find another treasurer, all I could do was feel jealous. Because seriously, how come she gets to? I've been in this longer, dammit, and it's my turn to quit, but I don't feel like I can because nobody else will step up to the plate and knowing that always keeps me in.
When the end of my term came up I decided that I was too bitter to even do the organization service anymore, and I told everyone that. They said no one could take my place, and I told them that I could not let that be my problem anymore. Everyone else gets to call it not their problem, I could to. And I feel great about it! And what's even better... someone did step up to take my place, we still have a full executive committee, and these weren't people who would have wanted on there if I hadn't refused to run again.
Yes, I can do good for an organization, but other people can to. And I need at least a year off because I'm tired and frustrated and burnt out, and that's okay.
At work, I know guys who complain all the time that they can't take a vacation because they're so overworked and behind, and I want to strangle them. These are generally people who are really bad at delegating, and pretty bad at understanding their place in the company, too... they see themselves as so important that airplanes would stop coming down the line if they weren't around. We have 10,000 employees, the idea that the whole line depends on one person for anything is rediculous! If no one will pick up your work while you're gone, well, maybe your work wasn't that important?
And I thought my little non-profit was totally different because we don't have 10,000 members, we have about 70, and only 10 or so who come to meetings all the time and do real work. But I've learned differently. No matter what you do, if it's really important, someone will do it when you're gone. Someone took over advicenators for me when I couldn't handle it. 20-some moderators watch the spacefem.com forums. And when I quit the gay rights board, someone took my place. Is it still important for me to do things, be involved, contribute? Of course. Every little bit helps. But there's no reason for me to push myself to the point of being miserable because I'm scared that I can't be replaced. And that's pretty much awesome... at least, it made for a much more peaceful holiday.