I belong to a new food cooperative in Grand Rapids, called the Free Range Co-op. Members are patiently waiting for enough members to join the new member-owned grocery store that they can open a physical location. In the mean time, we have started a book club.

Only foodies know how many books there are about local food, sustainable food, healthy food and food security — local and otherwise. And predictably, the first book was called The Grocery Store. However, the next book we will tackle is called Essentialism.

Essentialism is about narrowing down life’s commitments to what is essential.  I understand the concept, but I don’t really know how to do it. Therefore I am always, ALWAYS, overcommitted.

At almost 67 years of age, I feel pressure to get things done.  I have gifts. I have experience. I have energy. I have passions and motivations that make me want to do things for myself, my family, my community and heck, for the world. The trouble is I only have 24 hours a day, the same as everyone else.

I see things that need to be done, and I try to do something about it, but I find myself more and more in a culture where people are setting boundaries, doing self care, taking time off, and a variety of other good things that make their lives more sustainable than mine. I hope I can get there some day, but for now I’m doing a pretty mediocre job of a lot of really important things.

I tackle jobs that are too big for one person and get absorbed in the doing, so much so that I don’t take time (or maybe I don’t have the ability) to recruit others to my cause. Occasionally, someone will catch the vision and come alongside. How sweet that is, but much of the time it’s hard to keep the pressure up.

My personality type is “The Visionary,” but I also like the doing part. I like to work, I especially like to finish things, but I run out of time, and I still have to spend time earning a living, sleeping, eating, doing laundry and all the rest.  

I appeal to you. If you see someone doing too much, maybe try to find out what it is they are envisioning and see if you can’t lend a hand.  There are people trying to do things for the community — this weekend’s Farm2Families event is a good example — and it’s the same volunteers all the time. If more people could stretch themselves a little out of their comfort zones and step up to help, fewer of us would have to be “doing too much’.”

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