I have spent much of my free time over the last week deliberating on the word contribution – what it means to me, how it plays a role in the life I lead and the work I do, who I impact. It’s a concept, if not the word itself, I’ve thought of often over the five years (five years!!) since I first worked with a career counselor to take the baby steps to a change.


As with most ideas I throw out to the universe I start to see “contribution” everywhere:

  1. In a social media post to an outdoors acquaintance who made the gut-wrenching decision to shutter her business, a friend asks her to be more compassionate towards herself and her decision, to consider the contributions she made to the people around her and the lives she impacted through her business. One only has to read a fraction of the reaction to her announcement to feel the contribution to her community.
  2. In a book gifted to me entitled Nature Cure, Richard Mabey writes, “My scribblings still felt like a poor contribution to the world and I itched to do something more assertive and conspicuous – make a cave painting, do up a shepherd’s hut, rescue the fen.” (The book is so British I have to look up a colloquialism every other page but his elegant sentiments of our connection to nature sing to me.)
  3. In an exercise I’m working through for a writing workshop, I explore my roles (contributions) in my families, from my family of origin to my outdoor family. In my family of origin I might be a peacekeeper whereas here I might be seen as the career-changer.


This year I’d like to push past what feels like navel-gazing sometimes and explore more consciously what my contribution will be to the world around me. How can I offer my time, skills, and strengths to my community or community organizations that will line up with my values and create value for all involved?


If you feel like sharing, let me know on social media what you like to contribute your time and efforts to.

Published by Kate Monahan

Travel happy. Outdoors professional. Writer. Photographer. Educator.

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