November 1, 2013

Day 23 – Good, good life

A good day, a good day for me is knowing I made a difference in someone’s life, however small this difference maybe.  I feel great knowing that I was able to help someone, that right there, is something I value.  I was able to see this in my line of work and this is what made it so amazing despite all the stress.  Coming here, working with different students, listening to them improve and watching their confidence grow makes me smile.

Is it selfish?  Helping others isn’t a selfless act and whilst many would like to help, not everyone can. Before coming here, many friends/family members said they were jealous and wish they too could come to Vietnam.  My view was well why not join me?  Also, I thought if I could do it then hell so could my friends but I realise it’s not that easy.  I gave up my job, my flat and took off and whilst yes it was a big deal, I managed it somehow because it was my time but for others this isn’t always the case.

I also had friends say I was lucky, that I am and I believe I’m truly blessed with my life.  I had friends and family support my decision to go and more importantly some encouraged me to take the plunge.  I spent what seemed like weeks sharing all my anxieties and doubts about this trip and each time I was given advice or a different perspective.  Over time, my fears didn’t disappear but they became manageable and I knew I would be able to go and deal with whatever hits me on the other side.  I am so grateful and appreciate the reassurance, love and support.

This brings me onto people, people we have in our life, those we can rely on, those that bail on us, those that believe in us and those that inspire us.  Over the last two years or so, I became a people’s person; I finally appreciated and understood the importance of people in my life, all the relationships that I had maintained and all those yet to come.  Whilst, I love to think that I could manage just fine by myself, this of course was not true.  Because I was supported, motivated by people along the years, I feel that I’m able to share this or pass this onto people I meet.  Someone helped me reach my goal, I help someone else reach theirs and they then help someone else, it’s a constant cycle.

Now, the question is, had I not been supported, would I be bitter and resentful? I don’t know for sure but I don’t think so. I think we all have a choice and growing up no matter what life threw my way, I wasn’t going to let it get me down.  I managed to find the strength from somewhere to keep going and I chose not to stop.  I could have stopped though and I could have taken a wrong turn somewhere.  But, then I believe there are signs along the way, we just need to be able to see them.

We get blinded sometimes though, it’s like life is a competition, if she did this then I must do that.  Life isn’t a race yet we are constantly running, racing one another, trying to reach the finish line and sometimes we are so busy running that we pass it without even realising it! I’ve met people here much younger then me, 18/19 year olds and older then me, 31 and 41 year-old.  I don’t sit here and think I wish I had come ten years ago or that I wish I had done more in my life when I was 21.  Partly, because no amount of wishful thinking can change my past and partly because I understand that I wasn’t supposed to have done this then, my time is now and it’s fine.

Being content with who we are and where we are is hard.  People say not to compare your life with others but we do it anyway.  Am I content?  At this moment, right now, yes I am.  At the beginning of this year, the only thing I knew is that I wanted to go to Ireland, which I did and it was great.  All the other things enfolded as the year went along and once I finished studying in September I thought it would be great to end this year volunteering.  Whilst, I’m very organised and I love to research and read up on things, I no longer plan as much.

Our whole life, we have some sort of plan, I mean you’re in school and then college. Then your parents say you need to go to university and get a degree so you get a good job.  Once that’s done, settle down, get married and hey lets see some grandchildren! Trouble is once you’ve graduated there maybe no plan and so we panic.  Plus, not everyone wants this to be their life, I mean there is so much more to life and breaking away from this convention, is hard.  I don’t have a plan, all I know is that there is a lot life has to offer and I want to experience as much as possible.  Trouble is it goes against tradition so yes I do what I want but it’s not easy.  It’s unheard of, new and hard to accept sometimes.

The unknown is scary, unfamilar and not having a plan well how often are we encouraged not to have a plan?  How often are we told to get lost and spend time finding something deep within us?  We don’t, we are all too busy preparing, planning and thinking of every unforeseeable circumstance that we hardly ever stop to think about the things that could go well.  Before coming here, some questioned why I wanted to go to a country where they had foot and mouth, where I could get HIV, rabies or malaria!  Living in London, is it the safest? We have knife-crime, gun crime, theft; I mean the list is endless.  I trust that I will be fine here and I will be able to overcome any problems that come my way.

I believe in fate, I believe things happen for a reason and things don’t always work out for a reason.  I believe that I was meant to come here now and it’s on me to make the most of it.  I don’t know where I’m going next but I’m on my way!