Slim and Franke

Slim and Franke

Thursday, August 18, 2011

OKAY HERE'S THE DEAL

How might I learn to venture outside the realm of my comfort zone? My life was burdened by 32 years in banking, plus volunteer organizations, boards of directors, neighborhood associations. The safety of our rural life, my spouse, our family is my panic room. Yet friendly interaction with new people tends to call me out.

It is a fifteen minute drive to my monthly meeting of the LAVFW (Ladies Auxiliary for the Veterans of Foreign Wars). The first thing I think about is that it needs to be changed to the SAVFW (Spouses Auxiliary) which you see pegs me as a boat rocker. (I keep my mouth shut because I want to belong).

The second thing that stirs my rebellious brain is why does this meeting take two hours? Every meeting begins with our President (who has served three terms) attempting to follow the orders of procedures out of a book. How many terms does it take to finally learn the procedures? The lengthy interruptions during this meeting usually deal with aside comments about the failures of some member who is not in attendance to defend herself. (I keep my mouth shut because I want to belong).

This last meeting our post president was very unkind regarding the organization's new State President. It seems this State Pres. is a successful career person with computer knowledge and skills and wants to get every branch of the LAVFW to become savvy enough with computers to allow reports to be sent on CDs to the various posts. A great idea...yes? no? I seem to be the only computer literate person in the room as the remainder of the gals cluck their tongues at such nonsense. I am a total duck out of the frickin water. I don't keep my mouth shut this time and have regrets as I am greeted by stares. "Mars, I'm from the planet Mars" I want to say.

Yet, these women are hardworking volunteers who give of their time to veterans and to serve the local communities. They sacrifice to make, gather and deliver necessary items to our veterans in hospitals and nursing homes. They promote scholarship opportunities for children in our local schools. They make donations to families of veterans who are in need. They give support and encouragement to veterans like Ron who have medical concerns.

Our small group has around 40 members with only about 15 average participants. I cannot help but feel that many who do not participate may stand back because they don't blend with the ideas and opinions of the small active group that seems to control the meetings and the direction of the group. (Ever heard the term "click"?) Rather than try to change the group for wider acceptance, they opted to not attend or participate. I am close to making the same decision.

It is important to me for some reason to have some activity outside the confines of my protective bubble. Yet it is also stressful. Any ideas on why I am doing this to myself? Any ideas on why I can't simply relax and enjoy the differences and accept the others as I want them to accept me?

(I don't have to worry about my fellow members of the auxiliary reading this because none of them have computers.)

15 comments:

  1. They don't seem as smart as you or have anything in common with you - so why do you go? Just asking.

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  2. Chatty Crone -- I don't think I am any smarter than they are just different background. Plus I am there for the good work for veterans. I also might find a good friend in the bunch somewhere. You never know. But, yes, you ask the question all my family asks. LOL

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  3. I know how you feel...have experienced the same type thing and I always have opted to quit going...not saying that is the best choice.........maybe one of those easier road ones.

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  4. Changes in the wind -- There is a part of me that thinks maybe I could be a friend for others who might come and learn that everyone is not exactly alike. It's a pipe dream I am sure. My past efforts to champion the rights of others usually fail:)

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  5. One day you'll know why you go.
    I too have been to a lot 2 hr long 30 minute meetings.

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  6. So with you on meetings. I prefer them short, or preferably nonexistent.

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  7. Some women's organizations seem to thrive on jealousy and attempts to one-up each other. It sounds as if that is rampant in yours, or that the head of the group is inefficient and cannot control the group.

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  8. Cliff -- And even after a 2 plus hour meeting we usually don't accomplish anything. It sets my teeth on edge.

    Riot Kitty -- Yep, those waste of time meetings were among my most hated assignments when I worked outside the home.

    kenju -- May I simply say that once more you have hit the nail on the head. Did you notice that I said our post has elected this woman three times as president.

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  9. Too bad you don't have a laptop to bring to a meeting to blow them away with the savvy it takes to read a cd!

    I hate meetings without regard for input of differing opinions n valid points...

    A good cause being led astray-

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  10. Snaggle Tooth -- Oh but I do. What a GREAT idea!!

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  11. Snaggle's suggestion is a good one. If you truly feel the organization is a worthy one and the work you do with/through them brings you personal satisfaction, then I think you have to sort of grin and bear it. However, if you could do the same sort of thing or offer your time/effort in a way that didn't involve long drives, long meetings and people who end up frustrating rather than enhancing your life, I'd move on...

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  12. That sounds excruciating. I cannot stand long meetings with long-winded people. The past two years I haven't even attended our condo board's AGM - I send my husband who is more patient. I have no advice to offer except: Run away!

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  13. Staying quieting is just accepting is mental abuse....

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  14. Talon -- The part of me that enjoys a challenge is stimulated, the part of me that is supposed to be retired from such agony is wanting to run away. I am allowing it to be quite a conundrum.

    Sparkling Red -- Now that is some pretty straight forward advice. LOL

    Brown English Muffin -- You are so right on that point.

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  15. I am encountering similar issues with the library board. I think the first step is going to be enforcing term limits and attendance regulations. That has not made me very popular, I'm afraid. (one woman quit the board because she said I "looked at her" when I spoke up about missing board meetings. Who knew my "look" was so powerful? LOL)

    If I were you, I would go ahead and rock the boat. See if you can't find some allies who are ready to get some things done and move forward.

    You go girl! Bring those folks into the 21st century!

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