Caring Too Much

Yesterday, for not even close to the first time, I was told I care too much.

In nearly every job I’ve had, at some point, a superior (usually much older) tells me to “not take it personally” or to “not be so passionate.” And honestly, I’m not sure I can change that about myself – or want to.

So far, I’ve been lucky enough to find opportunities that allow me to invest deeply, give care, and act in some way to make this world a better place. Don’t get me wrong, there’s been a lot of photocopies, drudgery and data entry along the way, but the variety of work I’ve found not only pays the bills (kinda), but also gives me outlets for my passion.

I pour myself into my work – finding that understanding the entire picture helps me make strong, informed and impacting decisions. My friends often laugh at my spreadsheets, lists, brainstorms, color coding and filing – but for me it’s the only way.

And when I’m given a project, I take full responsibility. I often worry about every aspect, and yes, if there are problems, I take it personally – as they reflect on me and my work.

I also find that the “just accept it as it is” “there’s no changing it” “meh it’s okay” attitude that most of us encounter in our working lives is what creates more problems. Just accepting a half-ass, half-hearted attempts is not okay with me. Whole- ass it.

This is where I will admit my weakness. In pursuit of ‘perfection,’ I sometimes (okay most of the time) miss what really has been accomplished.

In pushing forever forward, perhaps, I lose the picture of what I really am doing right now. I blame Girl Scouts for the “always leave it better than you found it” that constantly rings through my head, but I take that motto very much to heart.

Whether it’s in my academic work, social work case management, historical preservation, victims’ rights, Church, I want to leave it better than I found it. To invest fully and whole heartedly into doing what I can to right at least some of the small wrongs this world offers up to us.

Yet I know, deep in my philosopher bones, that Seneca is right:

There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living: there is nothing that is harder to learn.

On the Shortness of Life, Seneca


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