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Moments of Freedom July 5, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Less IS More, Life Balance, People, Travel & Leisure.

170px-Alice_par_John_Tenniel_02Time is our most valuable and irreplaceable commodity ~ a bank account which mandates daily withdrawals, prohibits deposits, and pays dividends when we spend it wisely.

When I ran a domestic violence crisis intervention team in NJ, one of my volunteers wanted me to get involved with her favorite cause.

It would have required attending meetings several times a month at night.

The cause didn’t appeal to me.

I said, “no thanks.”

She did her best to persuade me, not because she thought that I would enjoy being involved, but by arguing that “they” needed “me.”

She tried to make me feel guilty for not being more generous with my time and talents.

She did not succeed.

Why should I feel guilty about not wanting to join a cause that appealed to her, but not to me?

As a general rule: It is not selfish for you to do what you want to do with your time. Just the opposite, it is selfish of others to expect you to do what they want you to do.

Big-BenJoining a cause that is not in line with your core values, or attending a social function that doesn’t interest you, is not a good use of your limited time on this planet.

Quote: Moments of Freedom will never be given to you ~ you must take them.

No rules. Just write!

Related posts: We Can’t All Be Mother Teresa * What The World Really Needs


1. Carl D'Agostino - July 5, 2011

Find one. Or at most two. Give them full energy. Don’t neglect family job and health.

nrhatch - July 5, 2011

Thanks, Carl. I agree.

I’ve volunteered in many ways over the years ~ most recently at the library. When volunteer positions are a good fit for our time and temperment, they add to the joy of life. If not, they detract.

When we listen to our heart . . . instead of the cajoling of others . . . we end up exactly where we’re meant to be.

2. gitikapartington - July 5, 2011

that came at the perfect moment for me…thank you x

nrhatch - July 5, 2011

Oh, I love when my attention is directed to exactly what it needs to see . . . at the perfect moment for me. Yay!

3. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide - July 5, 2011

Good for you for standing your ground. Sounds like you were doing really valuable work already.

nrhatch - July 5, 2011

When we know what we WANT to do . . . it’s easier NOT to get pulled off kilter by others. We can stand our ground. 😀

After I stopped practicing law, I ran non-profits for the next 10 years as a way of giving back for all the good in my life.

4. Tilly Bud - July 5, 2011

If your heart’s not in it, your value will be low.

nrhatch - July 5, 2011

Exactly. I’ve worked with many volunteers who didn’t really bring their “A-Game” with them . . . they were more “liability” than “asset.”

5. Vix @ LittleMissEverything - July 5, 2011

So true. I think as you get older you realise you have to be a bit more selfish and do what you want to do with your life otherwise you’ll just be unhappy!

nrhatch - July 5, 2011

I’ve dropped the word “selfish” from my vocabulary . . . unless I’m trying to dictate to others how they spend THEIR time.

If it’s MY TIME, it is not selfish of me to use it as I choose. :mrgreen:

6. Cindy - July 5, 2011

Learning to say NO is not the easiest thing to do, but boy – once you master the art – it sure is liberating.

nrhatch - July 5, 2011

Yes, indeed. Learning to say NO is one of the first steps to FREEDOM. We realize that, if others get annoyed because we aren’t doing what THEY want us to do, we can shrug our shoulders and continue on OUR path.

Nature does not ask, what do THEY want me to be . . . it’s beauty lies in its authenticity.

7. William D'Andrea - July 5, 2011

Whatever job anyone takes, whether it’s volunteer work, or paid employment, he or she will always have too much to do, never enough time, and too much criticism. If it’s paid for, it’s never enough; and if it’s volunteer work, he or she gets nothing in return. Then if he or she is not really interested in what they’re doing, they’ll only do the minimum required, which is hardly ever enough.

nrhatch - July 5, 2011

That’s too bad, William. My experiences do not mirror yours.

I’ve had some wonderful (paid and unpaid) positions ~ with exciting work to do and plenty of time to do it. And I’ve seldom been criticized when I’m putting forth my best effort.

But, if I’m not enjoying the work because the subject matter doesn’t speak to my heart, it gets old fast. 😦

8. Debra - July 5, 2011

Great post, Nancy.

There are many causes out there and probably always will be.

I wrote a long comment but then decided not to hit enter.

I will just say, I have been there. 🙂

nrhatch - July 5, 2011

Same here. It started in Law School with several groups that wanted me to join their ranks. They didn’t feel that I had the right to say, “No, thanks.” I disagreed. 😉

9. kateshrewsday - July 5, 2011

Must make mental note and staple this post to my head the next time someone asks me to do something which does not fit in with my plans….

nrhatch - July 5, 2011

And, remember, it gets easier with practice:

“No, thanks, that doesn’t appeal to me.”
“No, but thanks for thinking of me.”
“Not right now. Maybe next time.”

Freedom . . . aah! Bliss!

10. Naomi Estment - July 5, 2011

Couldn’t agree more, Nancy. I believe the world is a better place when we all follow our hearts, albeit sometimes easier said than done 🙂

nrhatch - July 5, 2011

Thanks, Naomi. It’s difficult, but it’s worth it . . . after all our freedom is at stake. 😀

11. Rosa - July 5, 2011

This post is screaming at me today! I love it and it is soooo relevant to my life right now! Thank you thank you for helping me to see that I don’t need to feel guilty about not wanting to spend my time doing things that I don’t feel driven to do just because someone else would like for me to!

nrhatch - July 5, 2011

People push us to make the decisions that they would make if they were in our shoes . . . but they aren’t in our shoes.

When we make decisions for ourselves, we are far happier and more productive.

Good luck, Rosa!

12. When One Door Closes…. | gitikapartington's Blog - July 6, 2011

[…] fellow bloggers’ post arrive in my in box today and the first sentence was ‘Time is your most valuable […]

13. Alannah Murphy - July 6, 2011

I hate pushy people. Especially those who try to make YOU feel guilty just because you do not want to go along with whatever it is they’re asking of you. Fortunately, I am the most STUBBORN human on the planet and nobody can get me to do something I do not want heh heh

nrhatch - July 6, 2011

Me too! One of my favorite quotes (from Pride & Prejudice):

“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” ~ Elizabeth Bennet, ch. 31

14. adeeyoyo - July 7, 2011

Don’t let others make you feel guilty for following your gut. After all you have to live with the decision.

nrhatch - July 7, 2011


Recently, I got “sucked into” working on a committee that didn’t interest me. At the first meeting, I saw that there were too many people on the committee for it to function efficiently ~ it was more of a Social Club than a committee.

I resigned. 😉

15. Jeanne - July 7, 2011

Love the P& P quote.

Our pastor just asked what Freedom means to us individually last Sunday with the Fourth of July just around the corner.

Freedom to me is being able to choose how I spend my time. Every day at work demands are place on my time to accomplish what needs to be done at the business but after work being able to choose what I spend on my remaining waking hours is freedom.

I’m getting better about not being guilted into things and recognizing I only have a small amount of time available to me outside of work. I do say yes to the things I want to be involved in and have volunteered in many ways over the years doing things I enjoy.

nrhatch - July 7, 2011

Same here. Before volunteering at the Island Library this spring, I wrote Volunteers of America:

Volunteerism works best when we work from a place of passion ~ the intersection between what we love doing and what needs doing.


Over the years, I’ve volunteered in many ways that added to my enjoyment of life ~ coordinating the Moot Court Competition in NC, serving the NC Bar Association on its Ethics committee, fundraising for the United Way, acting as a judge for CANStruction, organizing a Bowl-A-Thon for a sick child, teaching Yoga to middle schoolers, gleaning fields in Western MD, boxing food donations for the hungry, mentoring and speaking on career panels, serving on Reunion committees, etc.

In each case, I became fully engaged in the intersection between what needed to be done and what I love to do.

William D'Andrea - July 7, 2011

The best definition of freedom I’ve ever heard is “Freedom is not being able to get away with anything you want. People who think that way don’t get away for long. True freedom is ‘self control’. If you can not control yourself, someone else will control you.”

nrhatch - July 7, 2011

Good point, William.

As I see it, self control stems from mindfulness ~ being in control of our thoughts, our words, and our deeds.

If we want to control our self, we must be mindful and aware of WHO we are and HOW we want to live.

16. eof737 - July 7, 2011

Aye, aye… given how little time one has of late, I can relate. If we are not invested in the cause, then it’s best to stay away … 🙂

nrhatch - July 7, 2011

I expect that some/many people volunteer because it looks good “on paper” (and in their conversations with others).

Of course, if they don’t ever get around to rolling up their sleeves to help, they aren’t contributing a thing.

17. CMSmith - July 9, 2011

Good post. I envy you that you are able to not get sucked in. I’m doing better than I was previously.

nrhatch - July 9, 2011

Sometimes I do better than others.

Lots of things interest me, so it’s often easy to say “YES.” But when something doesn’t appeal to me, I’m getting better at saying “No thanks.”

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