There are two big groups I volunteer with in town – officially serving on the board in both groups to manage their websites – but also randomly for races put on by the two groups. This weekend is a big triathlon in town that I have never done, but I adore because it attracts all of my favorite people both as racers, and as volunteers.
I was planning this week on my calendar 2 weeks ago (I’ve gotten to the point where I’m “planning” 3 weeks ahead which is unusal for me and a sign of how busy things have gotten.) and I worried about my mental health with no nights open and so many volunteering. I’m conditioning myself to notice these weeks as they’re warning signs for my mental health. But then I remembered an important factor:
These people build me up.
Now, I’m not naive enough to say, “Oh! Filling my days with people that build me up is fine!” I’m aware that I still desperately need free time. But holy crap, I needed time with those people this week. And I needed the reminder that I’m not alone. Some days I feel tired and the fight is hard and I’m just not sure why I don’t just curl up in bed and veg out on Blindspot (It’s so bad. But I’m so addicted.) until I fall asleep every night. But then I remember – because I have a tribe of people who make it all worth it.
I’ve had moments in my life – in the pre-agoraphobia years – where I had groups of people I’ve interacted with who took my energy instead of built it up. Where there was gossiping and criticizing, insulting and mocking. Where we spent time making fun of people instead of expressing concern or empathy. I was not an unwilling participant, I laughed and mocked meanly with the rest of them. But I now know what a tribe looks like. I have sincere love for these people and they care for me and for each other. I just sat there last night, quietly doing my job, but soaking up the energy they all had. They all work together for a greater cause. (Put aside the fact that one of the benefactors of this race is the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation – and my Dad died of MM.) They all want nothing but the best for each other and it’s simply amazing.
I don’t know. I guess I’m struggling through this fog and trying to find patterns that work for me and some days I get overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities on my plate and I feel like the solution is to clear it completely. But then I remember why I sign up to begin with. Because it’s so rejuvenating to feel a part of such an amazing group of people. It gives me purpose. It gives me energy.
So I need to remember the simple and obvious thing that I often forget. The key is balance. My life as a homebody was lacking something beautiful that I have now. I was lacking my tribe. My running tribe, my book tribe, my Tri tribe. The key is understanding that balance. That I need people AND peace.
I don’t know for sure that balance yet, maybe it will change week to week. But I know that I was overwhelmed and tired and those people rejuvenated me this week. Tuesday night with the running club and last night with the Tri club. And I have a meeting tonight with a lovely group of women and my book club next week. I expect the same from them.
Balance. I don’t know the balance, but I know life before – with a plate clear of responsibilities – starved me. So I’m grateful for those obligations and the energy they put into my life. I just need to keep my finger on my own pulse, I guess.