Stop shoulding all over yourself.

I was recently asked to serve on a the board of a nonprofit. The organization is cool, but the board? Cats in need of herding and Ritalin. I declined.


I kind of decided to stop doing stuff I don’t like to do.

A pal and I joked that if I don’t return your calls, you know you didn’t make the cut. But really, it’s part of my larger effort to do what is right for me instead of what I think is expected of me. Because the list of what I think is expected of me is usually about 80% fabricated in my brain, anyway.

I hate going to meetings and find them generally unproductive, so I resigned from 2 boards. No fuss, no muss.

Now, I didn’t just say, “I hate these meetings. Fuck you guys.” I kind of wish I had. But I said I didn’t have time anymore – which is true. I don’t have time to waste on stuff I don’t like. Folks were sad-ish to see me go, but nobody threw themselves in front of a bus in protest. If we’re being honest, that was a bit of a disappointment.

My inner go-getter, who is absolutely mortified that I have days when my biggest accomplishment is emptying the dishwasher? Well, that bitch is a little uptight about my lack of civic involvement. She has a clipboard bearing lists of all the things I’m supposed to do, and she follows me around. She pelts me with questions like, “What about networking? How will you ever meet people? You’re turning into a looooooser!”

My inner go-getter still hasn’t gotten over my departure from Corporate America. We’re working through it. Well, I’m over it, lounging in my yoga pants and having cake for lunch. She’s straightening her pantyhose and retouching her lipstick, preparing for battle.

I’m not really bipolar. I’m just adjusting to new expectations: my own.

What do you want to stop doing? What’s stopping you from stopping?

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  • Reply cookingwithgas April 25, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    I am throwing you kisses.
    I use to be on boards, I use to go to meetings.
    I now love spending my time my way.
    Good Lord there are plenty of people to go for us.
    Pass that cake.

  • Reply smalltownme April 26, 2013 at 12:09 am

    I used to work as an aide at the elementary school. I loved working in the classroom, but the playground and cafeteria were SO stressful. So when I got laid off the last time, I stayed that way (even though they eventually rehired everyone). I am a lot happier.

  • Reply Ilyanna Kreske April 26, 2013 at 2:42 am

    I am in the process of letting go of much of my volunteer work, especially around my kids' school. Next year I'll be done with two committees, editing the school directory, and owning part of the school auction. Just thinking about it makes me giddy. It's not everything (still doing girl scouts and running three websites) but so.much.better.

  • Reply Lisa April 26, 2013 at 3:10 am

    We just moved to another state and I made a clean break on all those things that drained me. I'm going to be more careful this time around!!

  • Reply Green Girl in Wisconsin April 26, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Brava! The hardest thing to do sometimes is STOP. I spent a good season on hold and now I'm revving up again, but selectively.
    My most recent "stop" is this summer. Usually I teach pre-K Sunday school, but I also teach those goobers all school year on Tuesday nights. I'm burned out on that age, so I'm NOT doing summer Sunday school.

  • Reply Average Jane April 26, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Oh, such a loaded question! I'm actually in the process of backing away from several volunteer commitments. I'm still on a board for another year+, but I'll undoubtedly step aside after that. I'm moving back to doing things I want to do like singing in a band and taking a class about something that interests me. It's time.

  • Reply Karen (formerly kcinnova) May 6, 2013 at 12:26 am

    Cats in need of herding and Ritalin
    You are hilarious! Plus, you speak truth.

    I've spent plenty of time as a volunteer at schools and church and scouts. Serving on committees and boards will suck a person dry. With the exception of a committee at church, I am in a season of doing activities that I want to do — sing in the choir, meet with a book group, do crafty things, and basically run away with other women as often as possible. I'd feel guilty but it's too much fun.

    My husband wonders why I'm not volunteering like crazy right now. I might have to send him the link to your post.

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