Kim LaFontana T’97 gets honest about commitment, community and the pursuit of happiness
I’m under water. My to-do list is a mile long, and some of those to-dos have been camping out there for months on end. I’m over-committed at work, at home, in my community. A friend recently told me that there must be several of me because she sees me everywhere. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I love being part of a community – sometimes defined within narrow geographic boundaries and other times not. I just can’t be one of those people that sits on the sidelines, watching others do the planning, the fundraising, the organizing. I’ve never been able to do that – I’m a joiner. Joining gives me a sense of belonging, contributing, being a part of a whole. It lets me show I care and to place my bets on what I think matters.
When we had babies and were tired of apartment living, my husband and I chose a small town outside of Boston and bought a fixer-upper Victorian. We liked the walkability, school system, sense of community that we felt from our first visit. Fourteen years later, it’s truly our home and we feel deeply connected. We joined community organizations, I’m on the Board of the town softball league, and we’ve made lifelong friends, many of whom co-founded a local non-profit with me that helps fund the innovation for our public schools. Our fixer-upper always needs more fixing and there’s more clutter around than I care for, but that’s the price of joining – there is always something that’s got to give. I’d choose spending time at Spirit Day to cheer on the fifth grade kickball team over cleaning my house any day.
I love that my daughters see me try to do everything, and fail at it regularly. Sometimes it hurts – I missed my younger daughter’s 8th birthday when my last minute flight home was cancelled – but I show up all the time and cheer as loud as anyone. More often than not (I hope), it is teaching them something important. Join in. Care. Be part of something. Be the person who others turn to and count on. Find your community and dig in.
I’m underwater… but I love it. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.