Solitary Sidelines

My husband thinks that I’m crazy.  Why, you ask?  He believes that I do too much.  He is always telling me that I need to relax.  But, there is just so much life to experience!  I cannot imagine sitting on the couch watching TV when I can be making a change in the world.

I trained one of my Chihuahuas to become a certified Therapy Dog with Therapy Dogs International.  We just recently became members of the Memorial Hospital Auxiliary where we visit the patients in the Care Center on Saturdays.  I have written a children’s book about our special three-legged dog, Penny, that is currently being viewed for representation.  As a member of the Freeburg E.S.D.A. (Emergency Services and Disaster Agency), I am assisting my Dad (the Coordinator) in preparing brochures and a PowerPoint presentation for our upcoming Open House.  I have also taken it upon myself to begin a campaign to have a dog park built in town.

And then, there are the charity walks.  I am the team captain of Memaw’s Mantel Mashers for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s annual Light the Night event.  I am the team captain of Leonard’s Legion for the Pancreatic Cancer Network’s PurpleStride walk.  I am the team captain of Gene’s Gladiators for the American Diabetes Association’s Step Out Walk.  Then, there are about 5 dog-centered events that I am also manning.

Not to mention the fact that I work out every day and take care of our 6 dogs and 1 kitten.  Am I bragging?  Absolutely not.  I am just that passionate about all of these causes.

While I can certainly understand that many people simply do not have the time to be involved in everything that I just mentioned above, I do not understand why people are unwilling to try something new.  *Betty is one such person.  I have tried inviting her to events for years.  But, she always manages to find a reason not to go.  I encouraged her to come with me and my husband to the Canine Carnival.  She declined claiming that it “wasn’t safe” for her dogs.  Really?  If I am willing to take my fur babies somewhere, you KNOW that it’s a safe place.

I have encouraged her to work out and even offered to have her come to my house so that she wouldn’t have to be embarrassed at a gym.  Again, excuses prevailed.  Her knees hurt, she was tired, she doesn’t like to sweat.  Bottom line:  She doesn’t want to work.  Believe me, I do not sit at work and count down the hours until my sweat session.  But, I know that in order to be healthy, it is a necessary evil.

Then, Betty said the most peculiar thing to me.  She is actually the person who got me involved in the PurpleStride walk.  One of her friend’s husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and invited her to come to the walk.  I, in turn, was invited and loved it!  So, when the even rolled around the following year, I called Betty up to ask if she was planning on going.  To my surprise, she was angry because the friend had not personally invited her to attend.  She refused to go to the walk.  Matt and I went, however, and saw the friend who gave us a huge hug and thanked us for coming out and showing our support.  Betty missed out all because she was wanting an invitation.

I wonder how many people out there act the same way.  Sitting on the sidelines, waiting to be invited to participate in life.  You know what?  You don’t need an invitation!

You have the ability to do whatever it is that inspires you.  When you feel passionate about something, go for it!  Believe me, I was definitely nervous the first time I signed up to be a team captain.  And I used to be so shy at events like the Canine Carnival.  But, like Jillian Michaels says, once I got out of my comfort zone (a.k.a. my box), I found that a whole new part of my soul was awakened.

I have been a part of touching moments that I will remember for the rest of my life.  I have made connections with people who are just as enthusiastic about charities and dogs as I am.  Plus, I generally feel stronger, happier and friendlier all from expanding my horizons.

While trying something new can be scary, it is definitely worth the risk.  You will not gain anything from staying inside your “box,” going to the same places and doing the same things over and over.  And you don’t have to do anything huge.  Start with something small, like going somewhere different for dinner.  Attend one charity walk with your friend and see where it takes you.

So, consider this your personal invitation to participate in the greatest event ever:  your life!


*name changed


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