For me 2011 has been a year of volunteering for things, getting involved in the community etc. I unintentionally found myself as the president of my local WI; on the WI committee; a co-organiser of Storyslingers, my writing group; a member of two other writing groups, plus a writers’ network; a member of a Local Action Group for a funding body; a voluntary press officer; a member of a reading group, and a few one off things.
Out of all these things, the only group that has given anything positive back to me has been Storyslingers, and the writing network. The others have simply piled stress onto me, demanded more than I am capable of, and even insulted me.
I now realise why a lot of young people don't get involved in community things; life is in too much of a delicate balance while you're trying to establish a career, not living in your own house and with more money going out than in. These community things are better for retired people who have security, have already ploughed all their effort into their own lives and careers and can comfortably give something back. I'm not there yet!
And if you ever come across some gullible youngish person willing to volunteer their time to help the community, please consider the fact that they are still learning, they are likely to be struggling financially, and the last thing you should do is to rant your discontent at them.
2012 is going to be a year for me, for focusing 100% on my career, on spending some time with people of my own generation.