where you matter (itty bitty thoughts)
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Friends, we need to have a talk.
You matter at home. You are not replaceable at home.
Read that again.
You are, however, replaceable as an employee.
Or on the church council.
Or in your 4H group.
Or on the board of directors.
Please don’t misread this. I am not saying the work you’re doing and the attention you’re giving isn’t necessary or appreciated.
I’m saying that in most cases, someone else can do what you’re doing.
I am not at all saying that none of us should volunteer our time.
I’m saying that the time we volunteer should be “extra”.
I’m not saying that reaching outside ourselves and helping others isn’t important.
I’m saying that we need to keep it in perspective.
I’ve seen women dump themselves into planning 4h meetings while their home life is an absolute dumpster fire.
I’ve seen men volunteer to clean up someone’s property when they can’t even walk into their own garage to find a tool they need.
I’ve seen people so sucked into their phone and the comments, likes, and reactions to a picture they posted that they’re missing all the beautiful stuff that’s going on right in front of them.
I’ve been that person.
And you know who else I’ve been? This person:
“Oh, Grandpa died? I’ll call you when I get home. I’m just walking into this meeting…”
Am I more of an asshole when I tell you that it wasn’t even a meeting I was paid to be at? A meeting I could have easily walked out of?
Helping others is important. Giving of your time is important. But not to the detriment of the people and the places that are supposed to be most important to you.
It’s part of our human nature to want to feel needed. To know that we matter. To believe we make a difference in something.
Why don’t we feel that at home?
The problem is we build these beautiful lives at home and then we leave those lives to build something else because home is just home and family is just family and you know what’s really cool? When the pastor/president of the board/boss/podcaster bigger than me notices that I did An Extra! Important! Thing!
Family is just family. They stick around, right? But that thumbs up from the executive director—that’s where the magic is at!
If I stop blogging, there are other blogs to read.
If I stop podcasting, there are other podcasts to listen to.
If I give up my position within an organization, there are other people who will step up to fill it.
If I’m not at the meeting, the meeting will absolutely go on.
But you’d better believe that if I’m not on the back of the motorcycle with my husband, he knows.
If I am not around to sing the stupid silly (wildly inappropriate) love songs that I compose on the fly, he knows.
If I’m not around for hey mom listen to this song I wrote or can you proofread this paper, they know.
And it’s the same for you.
And I know money doesn’t grow on trees and jobs can be stressful and I absolutely and totally understand the value of commitment. I’m not saying throw caution to the wind and eat Cheetos and drink beer in your parent’s basement.
I’m saying if you’re financially fine working 40 hours a week but choose to work 60 and then also volunteer for Super Important Organization and then don’t have time to help your kid with their fractions worksheet or give your significant other a backrub, you’re missing the Point of Life.
I’ve seen people eat themselves alive with the internal struggle of trying to figure out how to leave a position or give up a “responsibility” or something that no longer works in their life. I’ve seen those same people finally move on from that thing and realize that when they resigned or quit, no one really noticed.
Or said much of anything.
Everyone just moved on.
Figure out what matters in your life.
Figure out where you matter.
Aren’t sure where you matter?
It’s two simple questions:
How long would it take for someone to notice you were gone?
And if you were gone, would anyone ask where you were?
— Amy Dingmann, 9-25-20