May 14th, 2010


Far to go / loving and giving

This Sunday I'm running in the Town & Gown 10k again, in aid of Muscular Dystrophy. About 5 of my colleagues are running too, and I don't think any of them are trying to raise sponsorship at all -- for them it's purely about the running. I found this surprising, but perhaps I'm just naive and lots of people take that attitude -- if so, how do these events actually make any money for the charities? (Do some people raise so much sponsorship that it makes up for it?) I can sympathise with a certain degree of embarrassment in asking people to sponsor you -- I don't find it easy, and certainly when it's a regular thing there's a sense that people are probably rolling their eyes and thinking oh no, here we go again. But if I really couldn't bear it, I wouldn't enter charity events! Or I'd just sponsor myself to the tune of £50 or so and accept that as the price of taking part. :-} I just worry that the whole thing is a really inefficient way of raising money for anything, and it's just a sop to middle-class guilt, and I'd be better writing a cheque to the charity and not wasting other people's time by asking them for money. The more I think about the whole "get sponsored to do things" model, the more absurd it seems. Mind you, the more I think about anything the more I just unravel it. Perhaps I should do a sponsored not-thinking-about-anything-for-a-day in aid of an Existentialist society or something.

But I am weary, weary, weary of being constantly made fun of by colleagues for trying to do the right thing, for trying to think about what the right thing is in situations, for trying not to be selfish; I am tired of getting snide comments like "oh you're so virtuous" and "I'm just not such a good person as you" in response to anything I say about anything I do. I don't want to preach and I try not to come across as preaching (though I do question and debate rather than just pretending to agree with things that I don't agree with), I don't think I'm particularly "good", I certainly don't think I'm "better" than other people as a person, in fact most of the time I think I'm a big heap of fail and I struggle to stay motivated to do anything. I don't think people are innately "good" or "evil", I think it's all about actions and patterns of action and choices, and you can't necessarily infer anything from the information you have about one person's choice in one situation. Obviously I think some choices are 'better' (which is almost always a relative judgement rather than an absolute) than others, otherwise how would I ever decide to do anything? But I don't even think I make relatively-good decisions more than average (how the heck would anybody measure that anyway?), I think I try hard but (as in most things) I feel as though I work harder than some to compensate for finding things harder.

But there's a whole nother blog post in there (a book, really) about trying to get things right, about guilt and blame, about fail and win, about the unfashionability of morals and the mess we've replaced them with, which I'm probably never going to have the time or energy to write.

Anyway ... in the unlikely event that you still want to sponsor me after all that angst, my online sponsorship form is here (they're officially endorsing online sponsorship this time, which is definitely progress!), & I will be very grateful indeed (because, at the risk of sounding cheesy, it does make the running seem more worthwhile, even though these days everybody's given the money before the run, so the original model sort of doesn't work any more). And if you don't, that's fine, & I promise I'm not judging you for it in any way! (Saying that makes me feel like people will think I'm saying it because I am judging and want to deny it, but honestly, no, just no. Let me at least be the owner of my own thoughts.)