Monday, 21 November 2011

I don't feel like sharing... today

I popped out this morning to run some errands and bumped into a chap I haven't seen for years - maybe 15 years or more. I'm not sure how we know each other but it dates back to school days, although we went to different schools. I have a feeling that we went to the same aftercare, which would have been around grades 1 to 3. We've lived in the same area so over the years during school we would bump into each other. I know his name, but not his surname. And, aside from hello greetings in passing, I don't really know him.

Turns out he has recently returned to Jo'burg after years in the UK and then Cape Town. He studied journalism (he's been working in landscaping) and is looking to get back into writing / PR in the travel-type genre.

So, he suggests that we go for coffee and chat.

Mmm... I'm battling with stuff like this at the moment. I find it really difficult to prioritise activities when things hit from all sides. Many existing responsibilities and commitments and even more things I'd like to do.

To say, "No" is hard - well, I find it hard. "No, I don't want to go for coffee. I haven't seen you for 20 years and little interest to sit around chatting." Sounds so rude, doesn't it. And yet, being direct would probably be the best route.

It's the bit like the example of a lift door that opens and inside is a really unsavoury character (think serial killer) and your instinct tells you not to get in but backing off would appear rude and could offend the guy, so we get in. It would have been better to say, "I'll wait for the next one".

But, I have given him my email address because I could maybe assist with a contact here or there (as a freelancer I do know how hard it is) but to spend an hour chatting over coffee... I'm so not energised for this.

A few weeks ago a woman with good intentions did an email intro between me and other lass as she felt that I would be able to assist her friend. The friend sent me an email saying, "I would love to buy you a cup of coffee so you can share much of your adventure racing knowledge! When would you be available?"

I love AR but there's a limit. I've spent a decade writing about AR and putting it on for everyone to read and enjoy. It's all online. Now, if I'd spent 12 years studying a degree in AR would my knowledge be taken so lightly? Do you say to a specialist doctor, say a neurologist, "Hey, let's meet for coffee so you can tell me everything you've learned about neurology in 12 years?". You can read up about neurology on the web. The joy!

I did decline the coffee invitation and directed the lady to the over 100 articles that are on, which are there for her and everyone else.

I've also had a number of emails from friends (like more than five, less than 15) putting people they know in contact with me for me to teach them how to navigate - because they know how much I love teaching and how much I love navigating. Generally, the person is about to do an event like Mnweni Marathon, Skyrun or Freedom Challenge and they need to know (or think they need to know - depending on the event) how to navigate. There's usually a time factor with the race only a few weeks away.

Considering that I've never seen any of these people at orienteering (best foundation for learning basic principles) and that a snap theory course, with no practical experience, will not help them much out in the field where they will need to interpret contours, plan routes, make decisions... it would be a wasted time investment on my side. I'm swaying towards the principle of 'helping people who help themselves'. To my knowledge you can get hold of a GPS tracks for both events and if people show up at orienteering then I'm more likely to be inclined to assist them.

So, today, as the end of a very long and challenging year approaches, I don't feel like sharing. I may feel like it tomorrow or the next day, but not today.

1 comment:

seanverret said...

Fantastic post Lisa. We can only be pulled in so many directions and some times to maintain who you are and who you want to be you have to be true to yourself and say "No.". Good for you for doing it, hopefully others are doing it too!