Column: Big decisions don't come easilyI’ve been wrestling with a big decision in my life lately. I’ve decided that the time has come for me to step down as president of the Farmington American Legion Auxiliary, but it’s not been an easy decision by any stretch of the imagination.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
I’ve been wrestling with a big decision in my life lately. I’ve decided that the time has come for me to step down as president of the Farmington American Legion Auxiliary, but it’s not been an easy decision by any stretch of the imagination.
It’s little secret that the Legion is struggling these days. The club has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy since October, but that’s not the reason I’m stepping down. It’s a contributing factor to the guilt that’s gnawing at me, but the business’s woes are not the reason.
My reasons are far more personal. My life has changed and so have my priorities.
When I agreed to seek election as president three years ago, I’d only been a member for about four months. I’d gone to two or three meetings, but I had no idea what the American Legion Auxiliary could really offer. I didn’t know protocol, I didn’t know how the organization was set up. All I knew was I had a deep respect for veterans and my community, and I knew I wanted to be a part of something that helped both.
I was also single, and I was living half a mile from the Legion. I could stop in on my way home, I could be there for hours on end when necessary. I could spend as much time as I wanted to organizing events and filling out paperwork. And I felt good about doing all of it. I enjoyed learning more about the organization, and I was up for the challenge of breathing new life into this group.
And then along came The Beau, and my priorities started to shift. I started cutting back on the time I wanted to spend at the Legion. I started spending more time in St. Paul, working on the kind of adult relationship most people started when they were in their 20s or 30s.
When I made my decision to move to St. Paul, I knew that my life in Farmington would be different. I’ve made the drive down here for nearly a year already. Most of the time, it’s not too bad. Other times, like when I have to drive home after an Auxiliary meeting and it gets to be close to 10 p.m., that drive can be a bear.
Well, now we have a puppy, too. Not that this is Rissa’s fault, but again, she adds a different aspect to my life that I didn’t have to think about before. The Beau works evenings, so Riss doesn’t get to eat her second meal until I get home – and when I get home at 10 p.m., I feel really bad.
The Beau also has a 9-year-old daughter, and lately, we’ve been getting her more often than we did before. Not that that’s a bad thing; in fact, it’s made me incredibly happy. But she’s another new priority.
Outside of all things related to the relationship part of my life, I have to think about my friends and family. A few months ago, one of my dearest friends was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Before she was to go to the Mayo to have surgery to try to remove it a group of my friends had a breakfast for her. I missed it because I had to come to Farmington for an omelet breakfast. I put omelets before one of my best friends, and that’s when I started to realize how out of whack my priorities had become.
I’ve struggled with this decision, because I really do love our veterans and I really do love this community. I fully intend to continue on in the American Legion Auxiliary, but I’m not sure where. I may join somewhere nearer to my home, somewhere that I can just be a member and contribute for a while, rather than being a leader. I haven’t made that decision just yet. One step at a time.
I know I’ll disappoint members. I know friends in neighboring Units will also be disappointed. And I’m sorry about that. Please forgive me.
What I’m not sorry about, though, is putting myself and the people closest to me first for a while.