i went to school for social work because i wanted to change the world. and between then and now, i’ve learned that the whole world is a pretty big place. that the world has a lot of problems. and i’ve also realized that there are a lot of ways to make an impact. and while i have become a little more realistic about my capabilities, i remain idealistic and optimistic about the possibilities. because i will always believe they are endless. so maybe i can’t change every inch of the world, but i am committed to changing the parts of the world i touch.
when i was little, i went camping with my family in the summer. our days were filled with fishing and getting lost in the woods, and our nights were spent with hot dog roasting, throwing random items into the fire pit, and sharing stories. we made smores.we found constellations in the stars. we got bundled up in our tent. those are some of my favorite childhood memories. and on the last day of camping, before we headed home, we had to clean up. i knew it was coming every time, but i dreaded it all the same. we usually spent the whole afternoon picking up our campsite and walking around to make sure we didn’t leave any trash behind. ‘it’s our responsibility to make sure it looks cleaner than when we got here” my parents told me. i didn’t know that i would carry that lesson with me all this time.
i haven’t been camping in over five years, but i still want to leave this world a little bit better than i found it.
this is not only a goal, but also a commitment. a promise. a purpose. i believe that this can transpire in different ways for different people. but for me this means working with individuals. this means i have chosen to pursue a career in working with people who have mental illnesses, who are addicted to substances, who may not have a home, who may not have enough food to eat. this means spending my time mentoring youth who have grown up in foster care. this means being kind when i don’t want to. this means helping in whatever way that i can. this means not casting judgement on people i do not know, and this especially means taking the time to get to know people for who they are.
to clarify, i’ve learned that i don’t want to change people’s lives, i want to help them change their own. it is a kind of funny way to look at it, as my whole living and income is based on helping people. but the truth is i don’t like the power differential that it brings. and the truth is, i think people who are homeless or who have lived with a mental illness probably have more insight as to what will work and hasn’t worked than i do. while i do have skills and knowledge to offer, i more importantly believe that everyone has something to bring to the table. i believe in the inherent capabilities of people. i care about progress. but the bottom line is: i care about people. and i won’t ever feel like i’ve done my job until i have helped you get to where it is you want to go.
today i asked my boyfriend if it was weird that i didn’t have any roots. and by this, i mean that while i have a certain level of attachment to all of the places i have been and understand that i have been shaped by all of these places, i don’t necessarily feel tied to any of them– if that makes any sense. i guess what i am trying to say is that i feel most at home when i am in someone else’s. talking about how to get from here to there. setting goals. finding solutions. learning from the past. moving forward.
i could have a lot of different roles in this world. but i like the one i have chosen because it is who i am and who i want to be.
because really, i just like to see people get better.
what if everyone in the world could achieve their fullest potential? what would it mean if you did? and what would happen if you started today?
how do you plan on leaving the world a little better than you found it?