Strong words!! Nice job Brother.
Nah, I feel you man! I had the same feelings you did; always being close-by, going to every run......
For about the first month I was on the department.
Then I realized how I was ****ing my life away. I'm now a career guy and on a volly department as well. I am dedicated to the fire service. Doing a hell of a lot to improve my skills, making sure I'm a very productive member of each department.
But...the fire service will ALWAYS be there. If you're in it for the long haul....TAKE SOME TIME OFF. No sense in going full-bore for 5 years and then burning yourself out. Which, yes, can happen even on a volunteer department. For as long as I want to be, I can be a firefighter. My partner, friends, family won't always be as solid. There is a required back and forth, some reciprocity in those relationships. And sometimes that means going out and having a few beers. Or turning the pager off some nights and spending quality time with the people I love.
Try it for a week. I think you'll be surprised how you can still be a productive member of your department, and still put your family FIRST