Tonight was the volunteer appreciation dinner at the zoo and honestly, I really did feel appreciated. This is the third such event I’ve attended at this zoo and it was the first time that I knew a large enough group of people there to really feel comfortable and like I was spending time with friends and not just making small talk. I also won a lanyard for my name tag because I knew all of the animals on the “who’s who” game board. So yay for me.
It also made me think about the idea of being appreciated and recognized for what I do and I realized something that I’m not quite sure how to take; I will probably not ever be at one place long enough to be “Volunteer of the Year” or any other such thing. That seems like a weird thing to think about, but not only at this zoo but at other places where I have worked the “Award of the Year” has always gone to someone who has been there a long time. I’m not disagreeing with that at all; long term commitment like that should definitely be honored and rewarded. It’s just that I feel a tiny bit sad that no matter how much I do I’m not likely to ever get to that point.
And then the tiny bit of sad went away (mostly) and was replaced by this interesting thought: I may not ever be volunteer of the year, or recognized beyond my immediate impact, but I have a chance to be a pollinator. I get to jump into a new place every couple of years and bring with me all of the experiences and information I’ve collected at my previous places and maybe make each new place just a little bit better. And I’m okay with that.
And you know what? The people I’m with on a daily basis appreciate me for what I do. And really, isn’t that the important thing?