I’m an over-committer. I want to support all the worthy causes, fix all of the world’s problems, and help all of the people. I’ve been told my inability to say “no” to people and causes is a blessing and a curse. I always have the best intentions of helping, but sometimes at a cost.
Today, I made the very tough decision to step away from a cause I’ve been very passionate about for six years. I’ve devoted many hours, a lot of money, and limitless passion to Relay For Life. And today, I told our event’s American Cancer Society representative and our co-chairs that I will be stepping back.
I wanted to stay until our event in mid-May. I wanted to tough it out as long as I could and avoid leaving anyone high and dry. I thought “taking one for the team” was the right thing to do. In hindsight, it was the selfish thing.
A combination of work and other commitments has been causing a sort of systematic burnout on my end. I won’t go into detail, but life has been slowly escalating to a barely-manageable form of “hectic” lately. And even if some of the stress is good, exciting stress, it’s still stress.
And in that stress, I slowly began to “check out” of Relay things. In bursts of energy, I’d have big plans and ideas, but barely any time or energy to execute them when it mattered. I convinced myself that I was still doing good work, but really I was staying because the idea of life without Relay For Life was foreign to me. And, frankly, the idea that my friends from Relay would like me less if I stepped back was terrifying.
But, that’s not how friends work.
In fact, the two wonderful women who co-chair this Relay For Life event seemed relieved. Our committee has very high standards for quality of work and passion — and I think those who knew me best could see me fizzling. I was in denial.
It wasn’t until last night, when I saw a new Relay email in my inbox and cringed, that I realized how cold the embers of my passion had grown. I had lost my fire. And as sad as it was to make the decision, sending the email with my resignation brought about the biggest feeling of relief I’ve ever experienced.
We have a lot of new talented on the committee this year, and someone fresh and vibrant can pick up where I left off. I don’t have to stress about doing sub-par work, and someone else gets to fill my previous position with renewed energy and a fresh perspective. And, I can devote more energy to taking care of myself in the way I need.
It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, but the hard decisions are the ones that need to be made most.