Why do I volunteer?
It's very fashionable these days to be a pessimist. Easier too! When bad things happen in the world, or down the street, it's a simple matter of adding another check to the long running The World SucksTM list and moving on with your day. Being a pessimist makes social interactions easier as well; running out of small talk? No problem! Bring up any one of our many societal crises and voila! Instant social credibility can be yours by proclaiming “it's just so exhausting watching the news these days!" See how effortless that was? Pessimism is perhaps the laziest worldview because it instantly absolves you for not actually engaging.
Now optimism on the other hand? Optimism is damn hard work. Optimism is risking looking like a naive fool for continuing to believe in good. Optimism is like trying to get away with wearing your old high school clothes; it makes you look awkwardly out-of-touch with current trends and most people will say you’re too old to carry it off.
Most of all optimism is a deliberate, and sometimes difficult choice. One you’ll need to make over and over and over and over and…well you get the idea.
You ask me why I volunteer and what I get from it? I get the gift of being a part of a community of people who chose optimism. I get to listen and I get to learn. I get the chance to make a tangible contribution to good side. I get to show my kids that helping is harder than heckling from the sidelines but oh so much more rewarding. After all, no one ever tweeted:
“so sad about X tragedy, what is our world coming too?? Sad face emoji prayer hands emoji #wittybutappropriatelyrespectfulhashtag”
And then felt better???? No one! If you want the fix of emotional endorphins that come with optimism then you gotta be prepared to do the exercise. Sure moral nihilism takes less effort (heck it can be done from the couch!) but it’ll never leave you satisfied and you’ll just be craving more pessimism in a half an hour.
I’ll be eternally grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the 415 Food Hub.
It’s fed my soul.