My son and I are enjoying our summer vacation so far, and we were long overdue for the adventures of our past. Things that were once important to us are being addressed again. We finally have some breathing room to do that.
A couple of outings reminded me that although we’ve gotten a little lost lately, there’s still a chance for us to catch up on things we’ve been missing out on. We’ve been depriving ourselves, and we need more. With so much to do, see, and experience, I think we’ve been wasting our time. I’ve contemplated giving up all volunteering for a while to focus on my family. That made me realize a few things.
The reality of my situation hit me like a brick. I’m getting my emotions back. I can cry again. But, I’m not crying out of anger at things I find unjust. No, not this time. I’m finding all sorts of emotion in the everyday little things. This is a good sign. It’s been a long time since I’ve shed happy tears, though I’ve had many happy times in recent years. Now, I choke up seeing my grandson graduate and move on to college. I can watch a good movie and snivel at the most touching parts. I can laugh at something truly funny even if I’ve seen it a dozen times. I don’t feel cold anymore.
My new freedom has given me hope. How sad is it that putting all of my energy into organizations I considered charitable and just were darkening my soul and sapping my energy like vampires? I thought I was doing something I loved. And I was, but I was volunteering for the wrong people. All I ended up doing was forgetting the things that were most important to me, and I got lost along the way. I lost myself and it took giving up the good fight to find what I was missing.
Love. Friendship. Trust. Peace. These are the things that I have been missing the most. I was surrounded by some people who called themselves friends, but it was mostly a façade. To be fair, a select few remain true, and I’m grateful for that. The others tolerated my presence if it suited them. Otherwise, they’d rather not have me around. I’m not so sure it’s because they disliked me in general. I know that they didn’t agree with my ways. Though I was slow to criticize them, they were quick to judge me and don’t approve of the way I live my life. Finally accepting that has set me free with many sincere thanks to the mom that clued me in that most of the other parents don’t like my parenting style.
I don’t know if it’s the way my family eats, our beliefs, or our way of life, but it doesn’t really matter. In their mind, I was the poison that was making things fall apart. All I wanted was to follow the same rules we were supposed to be teaching our kids. That didn’t sit well with them. Well, when you consider scouting is meant to teach my kid values and guide him as he grows up, that doesn’t sit well with ME. And so, I give them this victory and leave them to do as they please without my input… for today. Don’t count me out yet. I haven’t gone quietly. The effects of my departure will continue to ripple long after I’m gone. I joined up to make a difference. Now the good deed is done and I can move on to bigger and better things.
Yet, they try to pull me back in. The people in charge want me to return as a leader again in the fall. Will I give in and come back stronger than before? I have my doubts about that. Now that I can laugh and cry, I don’t want to lose my soul all over again. I can let my son explore other interests and help him find his happy place. He needs to be free. I need to be free. For him, I need to be done with the nonsense. So, together we’re walking away. He deserves and needs more. It’s about time I give that to him.
There are parks and monuments to visit and learn about first hand. There are new foods to try at places we’ve never been before. There are activities we’ve been waiting to do but never had the time for. There are other groups that will enrich my child far better, and there are many more adventures to experience. Somewhere out there, is the life we want to live and people we want to be with. Real friends are out there to be made to add to the ones we do still have. We can be happy again, and we will feel no shame for it. Why it took me so long to come to my senses, I don’t know. I’m stubborn, I guess. I don’t like to quit. Well, I don’t want to quit feeling again, so I’m giving them what they’ve been wanting for a while now.
If you’ve been keeping up with my blog from the beginning, you may know my frustrations with volunteering and figured out that one of my endeavors was scouting. If not, you can catch up with some of the disrespect I have received here. The quotes above from Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founding father of scouting, are examples of leadership I was expecting my son to be taught by example. My experience with the organization has been quite the opposite of these particular quotes, and that’s unfortunate. From the top down, my son has not seen these concepts from this organization. That is why I give up. Why bother fighting for something when there are so many better things out there? I’ve pretty much been ousted by my peers anyway. A good friend has given me wise advice to let my frustrations and anger go. So, I am. For the sake of my son and my sanity, I surrender. I quit.
Well, that felt good. And there it is… my smile. It’s back! That’s a win in my book.