I did not make a New Year’s resolution.

I kind of made a “Decembers” resolution. It actually wasn’t on purpose, but it just sort of happened.  Stay tuned as I lead you down this path…

See, it all started when I was having a discussion with one of my coworkers. We were talking about a an interesting topic in relation to giving back. He is involved in eight charities, and has a webpage dedicated to those charities. The more I conversed with this particular individual, the more fascinating he became to me.

Often times we judge people. Not just a simple judgment, but a harsh judgment. If you were to look at him, you would not see someone who has this penchant for giving back to other people.  In fact, he looks nothing like me, doesn’t behave like me, doesn’t have any of my interests… this guy that has captivated my interest looks more like a hard-core rocker dude. I am a woman who represents the misplaced west African Diaspora. Ok, I just wanted to throw in that tiny history lesson in there… otherwise I’m a black woman born in America.  So yeah, we are sub-culturally different.

img_0149All right, let me tell you how this entire conversation went down. I listened to him talk about his various charities and he moved me on and emotional and quite possibly spiritual level.  He took his time and laid out what he does, when he does it, and his experiences. I won’t bore you with the details of the content but, the discussion we had was quite intense. I listened to this man discuss his efforts me with quiet passion. He wasn’t boastful. He showed me a level of humility I had not seen in such a long time. I promise you he touched me in such a way that it brought tears to my eyes. Listening to him to recall his experiences moved me on a deeply human level. I sought his advice how to move forward.  He simply said “just go for the low hanging fruit first.”

And so I did! I decided in December I was going to start “Being of Service” which is Extant point #5. Hell yeah! I was all motivated and had the beginnings of a plan. I even tweeted about volunteering … and I’m no master tweeter. I took this burst of motivation as my call to action.

I confirmed a slot with the Red Cross mobile truck  that routinely comes every 56 days to my job.

img_0150Yesterday I attended my assigned Red Cross appointment for blood donation.  Now, many of you may think this isn’t a way of being of service but for me this is really a horrible experience. I freaking hate blood, needles, … any form of pain. Nevertheless I figured donating blood was low hanging fruit I could manage on a periodic basis. Because the Red Cross comes every 56 days, it’s easy to sign up for a donation slot. I figured I could get into the routine of donating blood and at least I was starting down the path of being Extant… until they ran the preliminary test on me.

My blood is not good enough for the Red Cross.

Apparently I maintain my struggle with low iron and do not fall within the range for donation.  I’ve always known that I struggled with low iron/anemia but I figured the bulk of that struggle was during years of pregnancy.  The minimum number necessary for donations is 12.5 something… My finger prick the first time yielded a 12.3. They tested and additional finger on the other hand which yielded a 12.2.  Ironically, both middle fingers were tested, and bandaged nicely. (I find humor in some of the most ridiculous things.)

The start of my “Being of Service” activities were immediately thwarted! They gave me a T-shirt, some juice, raisins, a temporary deferral letter, and a coupon for Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and sent me on my way.  I was rushed out of the mobile donation center with the quickness… I’m convinced the stationary chair was still spinning.

After I returned to my “fulfilling” engineering job, I actually sat there and thought about what was going to be my plan.  As silly as it sounds, I actually felt like a failure. I could not get my “Being of Service” activities off the ground! I was more caught up in trying to perform the activity versus appreciating the purpose and intent. Perhaps I needed to reread my post on altruism.  Anyway, clearly I will most likely struggle with blood donations in the future.  My plan was foiled.

Now I had to come up with another plan. Crap!

The whole point of chasing the low hanging fruit was simply to get myself in the habit of “Being of Service” on a routine basis. Eventually the goal is to make a lifestyle change. So I started chatting in the window with a mentor of mine. I went through this whole long discussion about giving back, what it means to be a Extant, the Red Cross hates me and only me (insert some whining here), etcetera etcetera etcetera.  I was totally on 10 at this point because I fail at many facets of my life on a daily basis LOL.  I had every intention of being successful at the start of my “Being of Service” campaign.

My mentor simply suggests volunteer this weekend at the science fair.

I mentally kicked myself in the you know what because we are part of the same professional organization, and I did not take the time to look at the calendar events. Okay, no harm no foul. So now I have an opportunity to give back to students in a science fair which is totally up my alley. I get to be a judge!

This had me thinking, maybe I should focus my service activities (for now) on professional activities img_0152which would also help make others better (Extant point #6). I get the opportunity to influence students and young professionals in a manner that can be exciting and inciteful.  I am much better at service when serving in the capacity of a mentor, teacher, motivator, etc.

The amazing thing about this revelation is I remembered hearing something in church a couple months ago. The pastor mentioned “often times born out of your burden or your service is your purpose”. I love that. For some reason I could not forget that particular point.

I couldn’t.

I wouldn’t.

I didn’t know that would be the genesis for birthing Extant point #2 (Discover your Purpose).

Originally posted 2017-01-05 07:32:43. Republished by Blog Post Promoter