“Just do your best” was a saying I heard a lot growing up. I have given my youngest son similar advice even as recently as last night on the phone: “Isn’t it always good to do your best? If you don’t try people won’t respect you. If you do try - even if you fail - people will respect you.”
As I sat as my computer contemplating a couple major undertakings that we, HAC, may commit to I thought of those words. “Maybe that’s my problem,” I thought. “All these years I have been trying to do my best and look where it has gotten me. A stressed-to-the-limit senior citizen who is still trying to make more and more happen.”
“Wouldn’t a little coasting be okay?” I asked myself. “I enjoy being lazy. I really enjoy getting into bed at night. Why do I take on more and more projects?” I feel a headache coming on.
“Maybe if I had tried harder, worked harder, there wouldn’t be so much left to do.”
“Isn’t recreation (re-creation) supposed to take care of this problem?”
“I try to recreate as often as possible but I just don’t enjoy it as much anymore.” I take a deep breath. “Blow all the air out of your lungs a couple of times. Clear your mind,“ I thought.
And I continued to think: “There are so many opportunities and so many problems to solve. Maybe I should just write them all down and make a decision. I could do that right here. But it wouldn’t work too well to make some of these ideas public before we’ve figured out if they are needed and how we might accomplish them.
“Sure. Some of the stuff is personal - like my son, a freshman in college, calling last night after a great year academically, saying he isn’t happy and doesn’t want to go back next year.
“I think he is just talking things over with us, but it is still a worry.”
The work worries involving HAC’s future continue even after 40 years. So many people who don’t need much financial help ask us to help them now. “Shall we focus one of our priorities on them?”
We’ve been asked to do a (for us) monster development, way beyond what we have done before. “Should we do it?”
We have the opportunity to do a long-term combination commercial and residential development. “Should we do it?”
We have several potentially complicated, but possibly useful collaborations with other agencies. “Should we do it?”
We have talented managers who have taken on a lot this year. “Can they do it? Should we ask them to do more? Or shall we let some of the things they are trying to do go?”
One of our major initiatives starts Memorial Day weekend: we will try to turn NOAH into a day shelter, through the end of September, BUT we need to raise $20,000. “Can I raise the $20,000 and soon?”
The community is depending on us (me).
I am working with people in the community to open a new NOAH facility which would be operated 24-7-365. It will take a couple of years. “Can we get it done?” It is going to cost a lot of money, but it will make a big difference.
Perhaps when I was young I thought the admonition to “do your best” also meant “make the world a better place.” Looking back that is what I must have thought.
It sure makes saying, “No,” hard.