I can’t help but feel like there should be something more to my life. I don’t want to spend the next four years working my butt off for a piece of paper that informs the world that I am of value, only to get stuck behind the desk of a company that adds no sustainable value to the world anyway.
To be honest, if I could make a living out of volunteer work I would put down my degree and help humanity immediately. Unfortunately economics aren’t very forgiving if you do such a thing.
Since high school I’ve been involved in community outreach. I spent every Wednesday in shacks that were meant to be pre-schools teaching children cognitive skills they were meant to have developed already, I went on a mission trip to Mozambique to do the exact same thing but with children who lived in reed huts and whose parents decided drinking while pregnant would be a good idea.
I never really thought anything I did would change someone’s life. I gave myself up for service because it felt good to help. This all changed in Mozambique when I met two of the most precious little boys on this planet.
The first one smelled almost as dirty as he looked. He obviously hadn’t been clean in weeks and I was told the children often only have 2 sets of clothes. I can’t remember how we became friends or why I took such a shining to him but every day I went to the village he would run up to me and hold onto me until I left and every day his grandmother would sit against the side of the reed school house, drink cheap booze and glare at our fun. She probably hated me, I didn’t care. I decided to teach the little one about music, at least the good stuff like Aerosmith, so I sat him down in the dust and belted out “Don’t Want to Miss A Thing” to this squirming sponge for learning. I wanted him to atleast learn to keep music in his life and not to let his grandmother get him down. I don’t know if I succeeded, I just know that we both cried when I left.
The second one had the Measles and no one would play with him or touch him for fear of infection. He was isolated, snotty, tired and in the sun the whole day. The other volunteers couldn’t hold him, they hadn’t had the vaccine, I’d been vaccinated so I held him, that little untouchable kid, until he fell asleep.
I stopped community service in my last year of highschool. I figured studying, being a prefect and playing volleyball was more important than helping little kids. Since then I’ve had no passion in my life, no source of joy, I have my studies and my writing. The writing part comes with difficulty, there’s nothing to write about, I’m tired of 1st world people with 1st world problems like being “victimised” or not knowing whether to do the ALS Ice Bucket challenge in a bath tub or outside; I’m tired of Tweets and stressing about getting 11 likes on an Instagram post, I hate relationship issues and reading dumb Thought Catalog articles on “11 signs he’s a cheater.” I don’t like dealing with stupid ceremonies like SRC elections that will only benefit people who are already studying towards a future, who already have more opportunities than my two little boys could ever dream of.
“Vote for me and I’ll make sure the clubhouses stay open longer and the booze will be cheaper.”
“Vote for me and we’ll create more jobs in the Humanities department.”
“Vote for me so I can have something that looks good on my resume.”
Is it so hard to have goals outside of our own little bubbles? Why can’t we stop talking about the theme for the next party and start talking about the refugee crisis in Syria? I don’t want to hear about Solange hitting Jay-Z in an elevator or how funny that “21” Vine is.
It feels like the state of humanity is getting worse because our brains are getting smaller, we’ve started seeing everything in tunnel vision and only think about wifi passwords and becoming “YouTube Famous.” We’ve become empty people living shallow lives only helping ourselves.
I feel like we as a generation of capable, open-minded, thinking people can find more ways to help people beyond taking no-make up selfies and pouring a bucket of ice water over our heads.
The only thing I want to do with my life is help people and then write about it along the way.
So I think I’m going to do just that.