My family complains that I’m hard to buy gifts for, and I have to admit, I suppose they’re right. Things I want, I’m likely to buy for myself. And honestly, I’d rather give than receive. But sometimes, it’s two way street:
This is the local Capital Area SQL Server User Group I head up. I haven’t added up the number hours a year I spend on this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s in the triple digits. And I don’t get paid. It’s all volunteer. Now that’s not to say I don’t get something tangible out of it, I do get to attend PASS Summit every year at no cost. But that’s not the only reason I do it. I do it for #sqlfamily. I’ve mentioned them before, but let’s just say, that the help and advice I’ve received from them is amazing. It’s made me a far better DBA. So I give a lot, but get a lot more in return. Thanks #sqlfamily.
If I give a lot of time to CASSUG, I give even more time to the National Cave Rescue Commission. In a normal year, I will teach at least one 2-day OCR and a Weeklong. To be clear, a “week-long” for instructors typically means arriving sometime on a Thursday and working 14-15 hours days until the following Saturday. I’m planning the 2020 Weeklong, which means I will spend far more hours than usual doing work for the NCRC. I also am a Regional Coordinator, which means meetings with my fellow coordinators as well as working with local resources. Now I’ll admit, there’s an additional reason I do this. I figure if I ever get stuck, I want some trained folks out there.
RPI Outing Club
I still work with the RPI Outing Club, mostly on caving, because it gave me so much I want to give back. That and being around young people does make me feel younger.
Blood (and more)
This and the holiday tomorrow is what prompted this post. I give blood pretty much as often as I can. It literally is the gift of life. I figure I’ve got plenty and I can make more. I’m partly inspired by a childhood friend who had a rare platelet diseases and needed multiple transfusions. I was too young to give then, but I figure I’ve more than made up for it since then.
I’m also a registered bone-marrow recipient and a certain friend knows, if the time comes and I’m a match, she’s got dibs on one of my kidneys.
I’ll admit, I thought twice about putting this down. Not because I don’t love giving them things, but because I figure it’s sort of my job. But I’ll admit, I take enormous satisfaction at times at sitting back and seeing the smiles on their faces and knowing that I had a role in that. And ultimately, they’re the most important to me. And for everything I’ve given them, they’ve given back to me 10x.
What do I want?
Now, I know I’m not on the gift list of most of my readers. So I don’t expect anything, but I’ll say what I want. Be kind. Give time. Give your skills to another. To quote Whitman:
Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
What will your verse be in this holiday season?