I know I'm not alone in my tendency to over-commit. Some days, I look at my calendar and an horrified by how few free days I have. It seems like just two years ago I was all, "What HBO show will I binge-watch tonight?" These days, I can't even find time to pee.
After suffering a near panic attack in June, I started making hard decisions about my time. In the weeks before my wedding, I committed to not making any plans aside from essentials (for example, doctor's appointments). Not even fun things, like happy hour. Instead, I opted to make only game-time decisions. You wanna grab a drink next Tuesday? No. You wanna grab a drink tonight? Bring it on!
Boy, oh, boy. Was that ever a relief.
As Braveheart would say, Freeeeeeeedom! It was great to be able to fully enjoy the things I was doing every night. These things felt right in the moment, not felt right two weeks ago.
But I digress.
The thing I wanted to get to (which is Hey Eleanor moment #239) is how I said no to a big, important thing I committed to two years ago.
The short story: my friend Danielle is probably one of the most amazing, "I want to change the world and no one can stop me from doing it!" people I have ever met. She's both visionary and light-hearted, driven and hysterical-- something I just adore. She's also insanely into animals, specifically dogs (she's a dog trainer; if you live in the Twin Cities, you and your pooch should take her classes). And you all know how I feel about dogs.
In 2011, Danielle launched a non-profit called Canine Inspired Change. It's a program that brings therapy dogs to people and communities that need them. Think at-risk kids, people in hospice, sober houses, the Courage Center. If you're anything like me, 10 minutes snuggling with my dog can erase a day of BS at work. Dogs are more magical than unicorns. You can read more about why I love what she's doing here.
I believe in Canine Inspired Change. 100 percent.
I mean, look at this letter from one of the grade school kids they worked with recently:
That's why it was easy to say yes when she asked me to be on the CIC board. Dogs + helping people + Danielle = What's not to love? The problem was that as time went on, my calendar started bursting at the seams. This thing I really, really wanted to be a part of simply could not get my full attention. It made me feel awful. I didn't want to let my friend down.
I hemmed and hawed about how I could make it work. For months. Then, magically, this MarieTV episode plopped into my inbox. Essentially, Ms. Marie points out that life changes. It's okay to back out after you've said yes. Be honest about it.
I know this seems obvious.
But sometimes when you're in the moment, it's not.
After missing several board meetings due to travel for work and wedding planning, I called Danielle and said that while I love her organization, I couldn't make it to the meetings and day-to-day commitments required of a board member. She completely understood. I then offered to support CIC through social media (a place where I'm already talking about things) and word of mouth (I talk a lot, too). These are easy things I can do and don't require me to drive clear across town for a meeting.
In the end, I think both Danielle and I are happy with the decision. Why would she want someone who doesn't have the time to work on her non-profit? And why would I want to feel guilty about it all the time?