When it’s OK to be selfish

I’m coming clean.

I’ve probably committed the biggest sin known to any God-fearing, Southern-raised, casserole-making, neck-hugging, pearl-donning, high heel-wearing, gossip-knowing lady.

Y’all. I quit the Junior League.

They say it can’t be done… once you’re in, you’re in. And it envelops every part of your life, your future daughters’ lives and so on and so forth. You’ll have cookbooks from every League from Tallahassee to San Antonio and an entire room reserved in your house always for the annual rummage sale.

But it’s been done. I did it.

All joking aside – and I do mean these jokes affectionately – a big part of my life is back, and I’m just now starting to feel OK about that.

It’s important to note here that I’m not usually a quitter. (In fact, I’m the opposite.) But something needed to give when it came to how I was spending my time, and for me at this time, it was Junior League.

It was a very tough decision and I’ve grown to love and cherish many relationships that have come out of the League. It’s really a great organization for women to learn leadership skills and get involved in their communities. My League will continue to have my support as long as we live here, just not the hours of my life anymore. And here’s why:

I was spending about 10-15 hours a week (sometimes more) on all things Junior League. This would be manageable if that was all I did and I didn’t have a 40+ hour/week job or involvement, a half marathon to train for and another board appointment with Girls on the Run. But I do. So it’s not.

We’re still a one-car family. I don’t think I need to elaborate on the logistical nightmare this causes in a normal relationship. Let alone, one where one member of said family is at meetings 2-3 times a week after work.

My family life took a big hit. Because of the first two reasons, I wasn’t able to eat dinner with husband or play video games. I came home grumpy, hungry and exhausted, and usually had to start preparing for the next day before I sat down on the couch and fell asleep.

My work life could have taken a big hit. In order to get emails out and fliers completed, I had to find time during the lunch hour or in the mornings before work to get things done. The expectations are high when you’re running the show for all League communications, and I was not going to let that get in the way of the job that I get paid for (and, frankly, love much more).

I can’t partially commit to anything. I go all in on everything, so I refuse to “stick it out” for the rest of the League year (May 2015) and not give it my best. I’d rather not be a part of something at all than falling short.

So, how is everyone taking it? I’m sure there are a few folks who are disappointed. Some will step up and fill in the gaps I’m leaving behind, some will resent me for it and some probably haven’t even noticed. What’s worth noting is that I am feeling much more focused and more like myself. Ideally, I wouldn’t have stepped into a board-level position and leave before the League year ended in the first place, but life doesn’t always work out the way you plan.

Lesson learned: I am responsible for my own happiness – no one else. And yes, that sounds extremely selfish (especially when talking about the decision to quit a selfless, volunteer organization). But it’s OK to be selfish. If people can’t have you at your absolute best, then you’re only failing them (along with yourself) in the end.

In the interest of going “all in” on everything, I will make this experience mean something and promise to go full-on selfish when making future decisions about time commitments. It’s very rewarding to spend time making other people happy and making a difference in the lives of others, don’t get me wrong. I’ll just be including myself in that equation a little more in the future.


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