|I didn't take this photo. I should have looked for one that I took, as I'm sure there's something more fitting in my library, but I just want to hit publish. So, this here is a CC0 image--no credit needed. You can use it, too.|
Time warping through my mind's eye makes me feel like I'm standing still while everything is happening around me.
There's a list sitting on my Google Drive since 2013--previously in my head since 2009--of things I want to accomplish for my nonprofit. We're all volunteers, our website is not functioning correctly, and so our items we use for fundraising aren't taking off the way they usually would (with a functioning site). And so it's a cycle--no money to make things work to sell the things that will help us raise the money to make things work.
It's been this way since the start. As a volunteer-run organization, we rely on the combined time and talents of our community. I love that aspect of it. I love what everyone has accomplished and am proud of what they've built together.
But I know there is more to do. As I watch so many of the ideas from that list get checked off by others as the years have gone on (most rapidly in the past couple of years as women's outdoor organizations have started to become mainstream), it's been awesome to see the welcome they've received by the community. It gives validation that the ideas I had so long ago were needed, were on target, and were viable. It also makes me glad that someone had the time and money to make it happen.
Yet, there is a twinge of regret. If only I'd been able to figure it out. If only I'd had the time to dedicate to one project instead of trying to juggle the day-to-day needs of my organization. If only our organization was self-sustaining instead of sustained from my personal income.
And so many other wishes.
Ideas come in waves: first I see something beginning to take shape, then I see it grow and gain details. It doesn't take long; once I see it, everything rushes together to make up a final project or product idea.
And then it washes away. It's forever cemented in my mind (or in my Google Docs) but it's like I can't capture it and hold it in front of me. It's too big for me to personally fund or to create or to learn every skill needed to pull it off or understand the legal side of it and how to make it work.
It's maddening. And it haunts me, continuously. I know, even before social proof tells me so, that the idea will take hold in the market, it would be a good service for the community, it is something that will improve lives. And so on...
But when you can't quickly bring that thing to market, or even create a prototype, and you're running a nonprofit (investors don't go for that model), how do you make it happen? Even Kickstarters require massive time and some money (video production, updates, fulfilling donation-level promises), something that is not our luxury to provide, as it would take away from the community we already have.
Sometimes, I feel like I'm in a hamster wheel. If only I could get this ONE piece of code to work. If only I had the ability raise the funds for ONE project. Everything affects the other, so when one piece doesn't work, the rest falls apart. I'm always chasing it and never seeming to get closer.
Years go by. My ideas become reality through someone else's dedication. I love it, but I don't. I feel momentum slipping out of my grasp.