When I Grow Up

Confessions of a Chronic Volunteer

 

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 15 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.
My Secret Subject was submitted by: http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html
This was my prompt: You received a notice that an author is interested in writing your biography. What would the title be and give us a brief synopsis of the book!

Regular readers will know that my key phrase this year is “Out of the comfort zone.” People close to me will realize how very much this prompt pushes the limits of this phrase. Though I do share personal stories here, I really don’t like talking about myself (to be honest, it is sometimes panic-inducing), even writing my author bio was incredibly difficult, but I agreed to this writing challenge, so here goes…

 

She Couldn’t Help Herself, the Confessions of a Chronic Volunteer follows the life of Kimberly Yavorski. Though she was painfully shy as a child, she was tasked at age 12 with finding an organization with which to volunteer. She chose an animal shelter and learned that talking to people was not as scary and  dangerous as she had thought. Though conversations initially centered around the animals needing homes, she found that she was good at coordinating people and sharing her knowledge. She was soon in charge of volunteer scheduling and training.

She moved away and found that these skills transferred nicely to other groups she had an interest in. Though it was not in her nature to take charge, once she saw a need, she stepped in and took the lead. By the time she had kids, she had become, by her own admission, a “chronic volunteer.” It was a compulsion; she just didn’t feel complete if she wasn’t giving of her time. The story goes on to detail how she added volunteer positions, some before even realizing she had said yes, and how it impacted her life, in both a good and bad way.

As she approached the inevitable point of “burning out,” she backed off a bit, and tried to limit volunteer activities, setting certain criteria that activities needed to meet in order for her to get involved. This seemed to work, but people still said she did too much. An epiphany occurred when she realized that telling people (and herself) this was what she wanted to do rather than it being something she had to do avoided these conversations. She also learned that simply saying no was acceptable. The burden of coming up with an excuse was lifted, and she was able to devote time to things that really mattered.

She saw the value in volunteering: the experience it provided, the fact that it filled a need in society, that it made her feel good, that she made a difference, and that sometimes it was actually fun. Plus, she felt that she had a debt to pay, that initial volunteer job got her out of the rut she was in and taught her that people are not scary, that she would survive and even thrive talking to them.

Kimberly’s kids grew and moved on; her volunteer opportunities dwindled. She realized she could certainly find more if she really wanted to, but perhaps that debt was finally paid. Her comfort zone had grown tremendously; even speaking in public no longer inspired terror, but instead a more manageable case of nerves. She rediscovered a passion, sharing herself through her words. She could still be of service; the written word can wield great power. She found that she had much to say, there were decades of ideas buried inside her. It was time to let some of them out, to share with the world in a different way. So she scribbled in notebooks and tapped at computer keys with the hope that these words would somehow make a difference in someone else’s life.

 

Please check out my fellow bloggers who also participated in this challenge:

About Kimberly Yavorski

Kimberly is a freelance writer who loves to learn about new things and then write about them. She is rarely caught outdoors without her camera. Links to her work can be found on her website www.kimberlyyavorski.com.
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12 thoughts on “Confessions of a Chronic Volunteer

  1. bakinginatornado

    I happen to think that any time you give to others you are making a difference in society as a whole, and therefore everyone’s life.
    And I think that when you share stories, fact or fiction, thoughtful or silly, you are giving of yourself.
    So glad this challenge pushed you out of your comfort zone, I learned a lot about you.

  2. Southern Belle

    For some reason, I thought of the Butterfly Effect as I was reading this. We may never know the good we’ve done.
    Glad you’ve joined us! I’ve learned to love being pushed out of my comfort zone. Hope you do also

  3. Jules B.

    I’d totally read your biography!! It’s good to come out of our comfort zones occasionally. Loved this post. You really handled the subject perfectly.

  4. Tamara Gerber

    What a debut!
    It kind of makes sense that someone who does so much for other people doesn’t feel comfortable to be the center of attention themselves.

    I suck at simply saying no, so I could use your help there!

  5. mamarabia

    I am just coming off of a volunteer stint that I really enjoyed. That being said, I am glad to be done with it. I hope to take a break and jump back into something else worthwhile!

  6. Carol Graham

    Nice to see you here. One of the purposes of these challenges are to push us out of our comfort zones. I’ve been pushed out so many times, it is where I live now!


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