This blog is not for the light-hearted or easily offended. If either one of those descriptions applies to you, i would suggest you start drinking before you read this blog. A sense of humor is suggested. If you don't have one that sucks for you … find one and get a life!

In which i discuss committment

I was just finishing a Pilates class this morning when a woman I know in the class said “Lynn, I thought about you the other day.” “In what capacity?” I asked. “I was playing in a tennis match and I really, really didn’t want to be there and I thought, what would Lynn MacDonald do?” Of course, this was really funny to me so I asked, “what did you come up with?” She said, “I decided that you wouldn’t have even shown up there if you didn’t feel like playing so you wouldn’t be in the mood to quit. Is that true?”

Hmmm … I never really thought about it like that. It is true that I try to NEVER do anything that I don’t want to do, but it’s always a different situation when you have other people depending on you. I play in a weekly Mahjong game with my kind-of stepmom (long explanation required here) and her friends on Wednesday afternoons. I enjoy these women but our relationship is kind of funny. First of all they treat me like a kid (and I’m 51) because they’re all at least 70 and second of all, I’m a little impatient and make remarks like “I’m off to get an hourglass to get this thing moving along more rapidly” (that’s right, shockingly enough I’m impatient which ALWAYS leads to rudeness for me). So, occasionally I really don’t feel like playing. I do show up however, because I’ve made a commitment to them and if there’s one good thing about me (and trust me, there’s not that many good things about me) it’s that I’m loyal, I don’t lie, and I honor my commitments.

So back to the tennis game, if I bothered to show up I would finish the game out. I might not be happy about it and by the time we finished I’m sure that my brain would be imploding but I would definitely stay there. So that got me thinking about commitments.

When the kids were younger, I used to take on huge projects all the time. I think it was because chatting with pre-schoolers all day isn’t a lot of exercise on the brain but mainly, I just wanted to occasionally talk to adults about things that weren’t:

Other mom: “My kid just figured out the global health crisis today and he’s only two, how’s your kid?”

Me: “Oh, my kid just beat the shit out of somebody at pre-school today and got kicked out, thanks for asking.”

So, I began my volunteer career by being the volunteer chairperson of the pre-school. This didn’t involve much as I had a co-chair and she basically did all the work while I just cut up and misbehaved at the meetings. I really don’t understand why these people always put up with me. My glory days, however, began when I moved on to fundraisers. I loved working on fundraisers. At the beginning, I would run the entire fundraiser but I truly found my calling with the decorations. I loved doing decorations for these things. Once we did this Mardi Gras theme and I spent months building huge centerpieces in my house. I loved the process and never begrudged anything creative I had to do.

Since then, I have done the decorations for more parties than I can even imagine. I’ve even done decorations for friends’ parties and Bar Mitzvah’s. I love the creative process involved in these things. But, I’ve never gone professional because if you just take it job by job, you always have the ability to quit whenever you want. It seems to be the story of my life. Get pretty good at something and then quit. Not for nothing do I call myself an underachiever.

When my kids moved on to primary school, I was asked to work on a haunted house. Of course I had a co-chair and while she did ALL the work, I spent months – and I mean months – building a 7-foot model of the creature from “Aliens” in my garage. This thing was huge and was run by a computer so that it rose up and then crouched back down. I also made “steaming” pods using dry ice for the “fake” steam. The entire contraption was amazing. Kevin couldn’t pull into the garage for about 3 months because I built the thing in his parking space. I had a blast building it and one of my favorite things to do was to run up to Lowe’s and say to the guys there “so I’m building this Alien and I need some material that can help make it look like so and so.” Their reaction was priceless.

But I digress. The point I was making was that if I do take on a commitment, I usually follow through but I learned long ago not to take on the type of activity that I don’t enjoy. About 4 years ago, The United Way asked me to be on a huge committee for them to discuss an umbrella organization for the many groups that help underprivileged and underserved people in the Greater Greensboro Area. I served on this committee for about 3 years and it was incredibly frustrating to me. I didn’t feel like I was serving a huge purpose as I wasn’t a “professional” in any of the necessary areas. I couldn’t believe how slow the process was because of all the “fiefdoms” that the individual groups had and the vast amount of in-fighting that abounded as a result. I was incredibly bored with all the yapping. So after 3 years, I quit the committee. I feel mildly bad about it because I don’t usually quit such things but the lack of forward progress was driving me nuts. I’m not a very patient person as exhibited by how much I bitch about this blog and it’s lack of readership.

So. Commitment. When I commit, which I rarely do, I stick it out. So if you’re asking yourself, “what would Lynn MacDonald do?” Pretty much, whatever the hell she wants. Thanks for asking.

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8 Comments

  1. Karla Telega
    December 3, 2010

    I had one volunteer position that included going to Germany for a conference. Shortly afterward I quit. I had a wonderful time in the Black Forest of Germany. Oddly, I feel surprisingly less guilt than I should. I rarely take the time to wonder what that says about me.

  2. The Empress
    December 3, 2010

    I like this post, Lynn. It lets us know more about you.

    Those roles you filled are difficult to fill, and involve much work, people skills, time commitment, ability to prioritize.

    It lets us know what you can do…when you want to.

    I liked it.

    Thank you

  3. Sarah
    December 3, 2010

    I'm with you on committees. Can't stand them and will not sit on them. It's the people. People who like committees are not generally people I like.

    The party decorating sounds fun though. Good thing you kept it amateur so you could continue to enjoy it. Having obligations is a killer to doing something you like.

  4. Very Bored in Catalunya
    December 3, 2010

    Ugh committees sound very drab and dull, remind me never to join one.

    I too take up hobbies and then quickly lose interest, I guess it's because I am never any good at them to start with.

  5. Lynn MacDonald
    December 3, 2010

    I've certainly been on plenty of committees but i quickly learned to pick and choose what i wanted to do. If i'm not having fun, i do a SHIT job. If i'm having fun…it's NO job at all. I'm a selfish little bitch like that!

  6. GutsyWriter
    December 5, 2010

    I think you might be a Parisian. Why? Form your comment, "shockingly enough I’m impatient which ALWAYS leads to rudeness for me." This is the perfect description of someone in Paris. Have you been there? I used to live there.

  7. Anonymous
    December 6, 2010

    Of coarse, one of your more recent committee commitments involved decorating for a spring fundraiser and you seemed to enjoy that. Didn't you? Perhaps it was because you had a superb co-chair to help you comb through the antique stores to find magnificent lanterns for the tabletops. Or perhaps it was the other hysterical "finds" that kept us laughing. I actually enjoyed working with you because you had all the creative ideas and all I had to do was agree with you!!! HAHA!!

  8. BMX
    May 5, 2011

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I do not know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already ;) Cheers!

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