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Community projects- obligations and measured effort

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

From when we were toddlers we had obligations. Then they escalated into school routines and chores.


As we grew we realised how many tasks we carry out each day from bins out to be emptied to cutting toes nails to house cleaning and work. Dozens and dozens of tasks each day. But when our mind breaks down we cannot seem to carry out the most basic of tasks like rising out of bed and getting a meal. Furthermore those friends that dont understand will without realising, place pressure upon you with options you have no chance of accomplishing. "Just come out with us one night, we'll have a ball". 


I've always had a side to me that included some sort of community inclusion like maybe a local councillor or mens shed co-ordinator or similar. But I saw my restrictions and opted to do a few projects that didnt include so much communication with people. I lived in a very small town and there was no shelter. I approached the local council with my plan to build a rotunda near a river for visitors, (I had built 3 previously) To complete the task I had to work with some local committees and thats where the trouble began.


Primarily those members too offence that 1/ they hadnt thought of the idea first 2/ that the rotunda would take away funds for other projects they had planned previously 3/ They resented the fact I had only been in the town 5 years whereas they all grew up there.


Yet again I had to learn a lesson. Seems life as a sensitive bipolar/depressant cant get the obligation levels accurate, and my efforts are always full on, hence from the mania. So the obvious occurred, complete breakdown of emotions half way through the project. So I resigned from it. There is now a shelter with bbq in that park next to the river, no pretty rotunda but a shelter none the less.


Community projects for many of us should be measured and without obligation. No obligation means an open membership, attend if you feel good, leave when you are not feeling good. Simple.


Try to accept that we are not suitable for some positions in society. This forum however allows me an open obligation- I can close my computer anytime and open it anytime. Plus the satisfaction of helping people nationwide. A big difference to joining a dozen people on a project giving out sausage sizzles at a hardware store where you feel you are letting others down if you need to return home because a guy snapped at you because his onions were raw.


 Charity begins at home




5 Replies 5

Community Member

Hello white knight


I am drawn to another of your posts. This one I can resonate with strongly having taken the path of volunteering at several different places over the years both whilst working and later after retiring early.

I found myself smiling at the undertone in some places. Other moments left me feeling for you having to experience what many others do but say nothing.

I will write more another time. I have been on the computer too long today.

Speak again



I very much appreciate your post 



Hello white knight,

I enjoyed reading your analogy of tasks required growing up. Your entering into the world of utilising your valued time to help your community.

They were lucky to have you on the council coming up with ideas that would not only provide a beautiful place for locals to meet but also enhance the overall outlook of a very small town.

Committees!  I was on most occasions asked if I would join. I felt obliged and offered to “come along.” I came to realise that they attract certain character traits. When people like yourself join and come up with something very creative they cannot cope. This highlights their lack of input. Those certain character traits being controlling, lacking preparation or planning before a meeting. I remember only too well the number of hours wasted on empty chatter that led to delays in starting and meetings dragging on. Agenda and rules not followed. Local catch up really. I stood up during one meeting that had not commenced after half an hour. As I was leaving I announced. “Well I don’t know about anyone else but I have a home to go to, a meal to cook and much to do before I go to bed and then get up to go to work tomorrow.” Incredible most of the people followed me out!

Having said that, there are some committee members who work very hard and dedicate many hours who are not controlling in the least, more productive.

Small country towns do not seem to like “newcomers” even after you have lived there for 20 years, to come up with ideas no matter how brilliant about “their home town”.That mentality exists today and is the bane of where I live. They do not like people who volunteer who come up with new ideas. They cannot seem to accept change unless they introduce it themselves. This is rare.

Directions I am given are drive down the main town road (which one is that one? There are now two. There might not have been 40 years ago of course.) When you see an old tin shed on the right that is Joe’s old place. Who is Joe? Joe apparently lived their prior to his 80 year old son who now has sold the property and gone into a nursing home. Who looks out for tin sheds when driving? Then there is the matter of some of them having different names for the same roads!

Sit down after volunteering for a friendly chat only to listen to the same conversation about people who are related to each other and who went to school with which friend or relative.

People’s names are not their actual names. Total confusion reigns when nicknames are used by some and birth names by others.

I started sitting, smiling a lot more. Laughing, joining in. Then there came a time where I thought why am I here? I did not feel welcome. It was like I spoke a foreign language.

I am a very sensitive person and softly spoken. I also take my time when I talk as I think about what I am going to say in reply. The majority of people do not have the time to listen.

I am so very sorry that you experienced your complete breakdown of emotions as a result of selfish, inconsiderate people. Your efforts should have been greatly appreciated. It is a huge loss for them and the town.

You have also endured the sausage sizzle brigade where the sausages have to  line up one way and the onions another. The bread has to sit perched ready. Sauce bottles at hand. Heaven forbid that the onions were not cooked properly. Snapping at someone about onions. My goodness it is not a four star Michelin hotel.

You are better off dedicating your time where it is appreciated.

You provide much support on here and I am a reasonably new member. I have read several of your responses and references to past posts which I have also followed up. Those past posts are still very helpful today.

Thank you for appreciating my response. It can be hard sometimes to know if I have said the right thing or not. At least I cared I tell myself.


Hi Em. Lovely detailed reply.


Argh small towns. I was behind an elderly lady at a small grocery store. The cashier asked for $31 and ten cents.


The old lady got the $31 from her purse then dived her fingers back into the purse for that 10 cents. She looked up and began a conversation about how long she has to wait for people at the cashier when they have to retrieve their eftpos card from their wallet or insert their PIN... then, as she knew the cashier she began to talk about her grandchild in the swimming carnival.  Finally, with her finger frozen in the purse she asked "what do I owe you dear". "10 cents" she replied. At that point she realised she didn't have it and said "give me back that $31, I'll pay by card... now I wonder where it is"


On committees, you painted a very accurate picture. 



Hello TonyWK,


Hmm detailed reply most definitely. Too much more than likely. It is as though my mind will not stop when I reply to some people and my hand keeps on putting thoughts onto paper.

Similar to the lady at the counter trying to pay, talk and count all at once.

Bless her. Perhaps she is lonely and only can have conversations with staff in medical places or shops.


I hope that I have not put off others replying to you as I think the subject is a good one.

I read back over your initial post and I think that I focussed on the committee, volunteering side.

I needed to notice how invalidated your feelings were. That is what can happen with controlling people.


When we are drained from our emotional state or mental health symptoms it is the small things that become major and unachievable at times. All too hard.

You have achieved much despite the controlling ones.

You know in your heart that the rotunda would have stood out majestically  as opposed to the boring shelter.

Their loss. You still have your win as it was your idea. They had to be seen to do something to save face.

Thank you