For the most part, I spend my days on the go with nary a free minute to stop and think, at least not about anything except what I’m doing at that moment and the very next task on my to-do list.
Yesterday my to-do list included donating blood. I donate blood because it saves lives, makes a difference in my community, and I physically can…but a little part of me looks forward to donating blood because it provides me with an opportunity to sit quietly by myself and just THINK. I watch people and listen to the conversations going on around me and let my mind wander…sometimes a little too far.
The bullet points below cover the many thoughts and questions that meandered through my head during my blood donation. (Keep in mind that the blood drive took place inside the student center at a large university, so the crowd around me consisted primarily of college students.)
- Ah, this is nice…just me, myself, and I relaxing here on this bed.
- Ouch! At least he hit my vein on his first try.
- Ah, this is nice…just me, myself, and a needle relaxing here on this bed.
- I love that the campus Red Cross Club has grown to the point where it can support blood drives on campus.
- I really need to check in with my local chapter about retaking the Disaster Public Affairs class.
- I wish I could rewind the clock and enjoy just one more day as a 21-year-old college student.
- HOLD THE PHONE. Have denim shorts overalls come back in style?!
- If it means having to wear denim shorts overalls, I think I’ll skip rewinding the clock and enjoying one more day as a college student, thankyouverymuch.
- Why didn’t that boy – young man? I don’t know what to call college students these days – comb his hair before he left home this morning?! Note to self: inform Will (my seven-year-old son) that even when in college he MUST run a brush through his hair before walking out the door.
- Aside from the Red Cross employees, I am without a doubt the oldest person in this building.
- I should buy wrinkle cream on my way home.
- I wonder what kind of juice and which snacks will be provided after I finish my donation? I hope they have Oreos. (They didn’t. Major bummer.)
- I wish I had a grand piano in my living room. Though if I did, I’d have to get rid of my couch.
- What is that amazing smell?! When my donation wraps up I’ll…
Red Cross Employee: “Ma’am, you’re almost done.”
Erin: “What? Oh. Already?”
Red Cross Employee: “Yep, you’re a quick donor.”
As I dragged myself back to reality, I glanced around the lounge and was struck by one final thought:
- None of this – the blood drive, the lives saved, and yes, my short-lived but greatly appreciated time alone with my thoughts – would be possible without volunteers.
Thank you, American Red Cross volunteers, for all you do to make our communities healthier, safer places to live. Happy National Volunteer Week!