A woman on a mission
How Liz reached 100 good deeds on missions
September 04, 2019
Since joining GoodGym in 2018, Liz Mills has completed 100 good deeds through missions and a huge 251 good deeds overall. As Liz approaches the 150 mission milestone, Rebecca caught up with Liz to find out why she enjoys doing missions in the community.
I joined GoodGym knowing that I wanted to do missions. In fact, the only reason my username is Elizabeth is because I thought it would be easier for older people to hear over the phone than Liz! There were three main things that attracted me to them.
1) It fitted my ideology: I've always liked the idea of a community caring for its members regardless of any familial bonds. This seemed to fit with mission running, which appeared to result in a community that cared for elders locally, indiscriminately and responsive to an immediate need.
2) I liked the lack of commitment involved: As missions are one off tasks that don't require more than an hour or so of your time, I could simply not sign up to any at all when life got too busy.
3) I thought it would be easier to make friends one-on-one during missions than in bigger groups on group runs.
11 months after becoming mission verified, I've reached 100 missions. I didn't expect to do so many in such a short time frame. However, the more I did, the more I wanted to keep going. Here’s some of the reasons why.
Different but Equal
First off, the reality of community care is much more compelling than I expected it to be. I’ve found it humbling to see how much value mission beneficiaries place on our willingness to give up our time to help them, frequently for less than a hour. I've even seen several beneficiaries in tears about it. Simply knowing that they're not alone helps.
This gratitude isn’t a one way street. I’ve often valued the beneficiaries’ experience and knowledge as teaching moments during tasks (particularly during gardening tasks!) This symbiotic relationship, which exchanges physical ability for experience, wasn't something I'd thought about beforehand. However I've liked the idea of us providing different (but equal) contributions when accomplishing a task.
As for my vague concept of "making friends", this barely scratched the surface of my experience.
As hoped, I did make friends during missions (only mission mates know where you've buried the bodies, or allow you to invoke the "silence of the balcony” whenever you have something private to discuss).
Moreover, I’ve learnt a lot from other runners from mission-specific skills (lots of neat furniture moving tricks!), to the low down on the social side of GoodGym (including the Facebook group), to philosophical musings (randomly, also lots of talks about bottoms. This may just be my energy though).
Having my peers share knowledge in this way has been very satisfying, as it’s felt both like I'm worth being taught and that we’re all working together towards a common goal.
These feelings of worth and of working together have been reinforced by support from within the GoodGym community, with GoodGymmers sending cheers and commenting on mission reports, sometimes even regardless of having met you. This has in turn inspired me to do the same for other mission runners, feeding into the normalisation of a supportive community and fostering that feeling of togetherness. It's felt good to be an active participant in creating/maintaining this community.
Familiarity breeds confidence and competence
All of the above isn’t to say that there haven't been a few bumps in the road.
Early on I felt like a complete liability (when I used to call loppers "those scissory things"). Despite this, I've always felt welcomed and valued by my mission mates, which caused me to sign up to lots more so that I could learn quickly. Now, I know that I have skillsets to cope: Familiarity has given me both confidence and competence at most of the standard mission tasks.
I’ve also had (and still have) instances of feeling inadequate during and after missions. I cope with these by reminding myself that although I enjoy doing them, it's perfectly ok to take a break from missions if I need/want to. The flexible nature of mission running allows me to do this without feeling exposed or embarrassed about it.
Magic Mission Moments
Mission running has already provided me with a depth of benefits that I couldn't fully grasp when I started. I've made friends, celebrated milestones and learnt new skills, all while helping people when they've needed it the most.
It's too simplistic to think that the next hundred will bring more of the same. The truth is that despite doing lots of superficially similar tasks over the last 11 months, certain moments with both beneficiaries and mission runners stand out in a way that transcends reason. In doing so, these moments have shaped my understanding of human connections and community like nothing else. I can only hope that my next hundred brings me (and others) more of such moments as the mission community continues to grow and develop.