Dirty Hands: Adding Value to Your Life

Lately I have been feeling rather, well, worthless.  You see, something happened last year when I started fostering and got more involved with rescues and shelters: I began to feel like there really was a point to my life.  Up until then, I had been so busy working multiple jobs to put myself through school, that I never really pondered the whole “Why am I here?” question.  I was just focused on the immediate goals before me.

Rescue Dog

I have always operated at turbo speed.  Working multiple jobs and going to school, then working and tackling the rescue and fostering world at full blast. After the move, before I started my new job, I had some free time but I was consumed with home projects which kept me busy.  Then I started working, another way to keep busy.  I haven’t mentioned this but about a week into what I thought would be a wonderful job that would help me one day fulfill a dream, I realized I actually hated it and decided not to waste my time or the owners, and I quit.  I stayed there until he found a replacement which didn’t take too long, so for the past roughly three weeks, I’ve been back to being jobless.  And I’m going insane.

Lab Puppy

 I don’t know what to do with idle time.  It’s always been a foreign concept to me.  I lived my life in overdrive which in turn kept my mind constantly busy.  Now that all I do is sit around the house all day, I’ve been feeling completely worthless.  I have always done random volunteering here and there.  And one of my earliest memories is of describing to my parents, in great detail, how if I won the lottery I would buy a huge piece of land to house homeless pets and also have a veterinarian on staff to offer free spaying and neutering.  Seriously, I was a freak of a little child–you wouldn’t believe how incredibly detailed the plan actually was.  Anyways, my point here is, I have always had it in me to help others, especially animals, but it wasn’t until recently that I actually began to feel like this is why I am here.  It’s what makes my life worth something.

Rescue Puppy

I have been spending my days split between job hunting and researching grants to apply for on behalf of Last Hope Rescue.  It makes me feel like I’m at least doing a little something “good” with my time.  I don’t want to take on a new foster until I know if/when I will be starting a new job and how demanding it will be.  I have contacted a local rescue that I really like but they didn’t really have a need for me (outside of taking pictures for them, which I will be doing this weekend)…until today.   Today they told me they were in urgent need of help!  It was like the Heaven’s had opened up and I could hear the angels rejoicing.  I was going to get my hands dirty and do something!  Little did I know, I was going to get the dirty in the most literal sense.

Transporting a dog

In the midst of using my hands to scoop donated dog food into a trash bag for transportation, with sweat rolling down my face, it hit me: I am happiest when I am physically doing something good.  Getting my hands dirty, both literally and figuratively.  Of course things like grants are important, and super necessary to actually get to the root of the problem, but I’m a dirty hands girl, through and through.  It’s what I love and today reminded me of that with stunning clarity.  This is how I feel the most valuable.

Elderly Rescue Dog

What makes you feel the most valuable?  Is it getting your hands dirty, too?  Or parenting your children?  Or cooking an excellent dinner?  Do you believe that there is a reason you are here on Earth?

Rescue Dogs

21 thoughts on “Dirty Hands: Adding Value to Your Life

  1. I feel really accomplished when something clicks with the fosters that they’ve struggled with. Like hey, you’re ready for a home now! I hear you on the feelings about unemployment except I have an on switch to work on overdrive at work and it automatically shuts off completely the moment I get home. My job is during the school year only, but this year it’s raining constantly so I can’t just spent the summer at the (now underwater) beaches with the pups.

  2. I always wanted to be a wife and mom. My kids are still at home (ages 14 thru 20) but don’t need the constant care that younger children do…..I guess that’s my dogs’ role now 😉 Someday the kids will all move out, have lives of their own but I’ll always have dogs ♥

    My ‘thing’ in life is being a nice person, I take great pride in that. I like doing things for other people without expecting anything in return.

  3. To be honest, I think one of my problems has been that I have rarely have had something that got me going. I mean, I have loved ones and a couple of four legged kids that give my life purpose. But it wasn’t until the very resent past that I’ve had something to be passionate about. I guess it takes a bit longer for some of us to find our way.

    Great post.

  4. I’m currently unemployed and I’m still trying to figure myself out, sometimes it takes us a little longer to figure out who we want to be. My focus right now is on my own dogs, getting our house sold and packing up for a move to some place beautiful, then I can focus on my passions… and find a job.

  5. This is why I believe you will always be doing great things. I am the same – I go insane when I have just a weekend of sitting and doing nothing. It is so important that people feel this way; it’s what pushes us to be better people, and to help the world.

  6. I feel you completely. Between leaving work and starting school again I had about 3-4 months of total down time (I say total, but I moved and had house stuff to do too) and while it was peaceful – it was so empty. Even when I started school I just didn’t feel I had enough, like I could do more and because I knew I could do more that meant I had to. I second Mariah’s sentiments 🙂 You will always be doing great things, because you’ve got a great heart.

  7. No matter how well life is going — loving husband, happy dogs, clean house, lots of friends — I am not entirely CONTENT unless I feel like I’m working towards something even bigger than all of that.

    I can see you running your own nonprofit — it seems like a perfect fit. Most people who start small businesses don’t make it because of a lack of detailed planning, and the level of detail you need to pre-dream, pre-plan, pre-brainstorm IS freakish.

    Also, getting active and dirty-handed is huge. I can’t tell you how many restaurant owners I’ve known who failed for ONE reason — they didn’t know how to change the soap in the dishwashing machine, make the perfect margarita, change a keg, or step into the sweaty kitchen and cook on the line.

    EVERYTHING you describe about yourself in this post are the reasons why eventually I see your dreams coming true. Even the agitation caused by idleness is something that will teach you about yourself and inspire you to action. Much love, and big kisses to the whole pack.

    • You never fail to be spot on. There is just such a need to work towards something better. Together we could probably change the whole world! (Now there’s a scary thought. Lord have mercy on Rich and Nathaniel should that ever happen, lol)

  8. That picture of you and the 3 dogs is adorable:) Post more, please. I have an idea about how you feel. Last night, my girlfriend was really busy working on a research paper/homework and some other stuff so I took my dog, Alex, and her furry friends, Bingo and Roxy for a walk. I first took Alex and Roxy for a walk of about 45 mins., took them to the back to brush them and wipe them off and then I took Bingo for a walk, about 30 mins and, again, brushed and wiped him. By the time I finished, about 1 1/2 hr later, Cynthia says, “Wow! You are dripping with sweat.” But you know what? Although I was really tired, I was happy. Dogs make me happy. I think they make you happy too. People that are always on overdrive like you have a hard time relaxing. Enjoy the time you have with all your dogs, I know that is hard for you to do, but try it. Its worth it:)

    • Wise words my friend; you are exactly right. I definitely DO enjoy them, but I really should try and slow down and relax a little more. It just feels so good to be doing good, but you’re right, I should be taking better advantage of this free time I have! I’m glad Alex and his fur friends make you so happy 🙂

      • Yes, they do, but I do take time off because although I love what I do, I am a pet sitter, I’ve realized that I need to take care of myself if I am to take care of others:)

  9. There’s nothing I can say here that we haven’t already discussed 100 times. ❤ love your heart and drive and passion! It will all work out for you, just take a deep breath and keep focusing on the positive. The world is a much better place because you're in it!

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