I am still in that state of awe. Major changes are happening, dreams are actually coming true. Things that I barely allowed myself to consider are just months away from becoming reality. If you have never allowed yourself to dream, you will never understand the state I am currently in. I am overwhelmed as well. Overwhelmed by all that has to happen, all that has happened and all the support that I have been offered. In case you were wondering, I have accepted an assignment to teach Science in Liberia. My lifelong dream has been to serve in Africa.
I worked only one day this month, which required me to pull from my savings. I had not wanted to, but I realize that to prevent stress and get things done, I need to access that money when needed. I have never had money like this before, so it feels so weird when I start to stress about funds that I think, oh wait I am not broke. Thus being said, I by no means live a life of luxury. Although I will need to start buying more suitable clothing for my next adventure.
So where to begin? How about with this thought, Changing the World is more about changing yourself. Keep that in mind always, especially if you dream of making the World a better place. Sometimes looking at it from a different view makes you understand your own view of things. A year ago I started making changes in my life. I also started on the biggest adventure ever, living life.
I made a decision to join the Peace Corps, which I had no idea it would take nearly a year to get everything together. Amazing how much you have to do, to give up 27 months of your life into service, away from home and family. Once I started my application, I determined that the year 2013 was going to be life changing. And boy was it! I also determined that I would bike across the continent and quit my job. All of this because I got in a scuffle with the person most important in my life. What happened in that scuffle was that I realized much about myself.
I realized that the only reason I was sticking with a job I hated, being stagnant in my life, and basically just existing was because of my perceived obligation to the relationship. Now I have no fantasy that a relationship has no obligations, but for me staying was wearing on my soul. I signed up to bike across the country, and pursued my Peace Corps application with a vengeance. It was not the relationship that was holding me back, it was me. I have these ideas of how things are supposed to be. Once I let go and realized that my reasons for not pursuing my dreams were not real, life began to take shape.
I am blessed with a person in my life, who although it will hurt him for me to leave, is fully supportive. Richard always says things about how meaningless his life is. Things such as: you are going to change the world and I am going to do nothing with my life. I am so happy to hear him now say exactly what I need him to say. It took me months but he now understands that he has a very important role. He is my rock. My reason to come back. My support unit when everything overwhelms me. For every person that changes the world, they had that one person or group of people who supported them. They are as important if not more important than the one making changes. Without them sadness, loneliness and despair would be overwhelming.
The feeling I had on my last day of work was so fabulous. I was thrilled to do my exit interview, which did not actually happen. I was thrilled to never have to deal with certain people ever again. I was sad to know I would miss others. I was scared about not having an income. In fact when I finished my ride this was a huge hang up for me. I struggled with not having money and not having a place to live. I stayed with a friend, bless her soul, but it was an inconvenience to her and crowded. I miss living close to her, but we still hang out.
What I found out was that my happiness was stagnated. I needed to leave that job, it was way overdue. I had lost my love for that job about 4 years ago. The reality is, that I loved the job when I first got it. I was excited to learn and felt like I was making a difference. I guess in my life, I crave that season of making a difference. I think most of us want to feel that our participation is meaningful. It keeps us feeling needed and useful.
When you get to that point where your job is dragging you down, you no longer get up excited to get to work, it may be time for a strategic employment move. I now work in catering, and frankly I find it fun and no stress. Also biking across the continent gave me so much strength, courage and faith in myself, I feel as though there is nothing life can dish that I cannot take.
I am stronger than I have ever realized. I know that 27 months is a long-span of time. The reality is that it is less time then the rest of my life. The other reality is that I am no longer just going to allow myself to just exist. I am going to live an adventurous life. Why do we feel the need to live a mediocre unfulfilling life when we can strip down our fears and our hesitations and plunge in. You can never have dreams come true if you do not first have a dream and secondly let go of your fears.
The first step is always the hardest. I have learned so much about myself in the past year. I now live on around $500 a month. Seriously I am blessed to have a housing situation that requires such small rent. By letting go of the idea that I need things and space, I allowed myself to begin living.
Yesterday I called around looking for insurance coverage for my stuff while overseas. I found that no one will insure me without a storage facility rented out. I conceded that the worst that can happen is my electronics are stolen, but the reality is that in 27 months they will all be outdated and need replacing anyway. Am I really going to trip out about this? No, because insurance equates to some form of security and security equates to fear and hesitation. Strip it all down and face life.
I have this wonderful pair of friends. One is from Jamaica and one from Puerto Rico. I love them both and I admire them for having left behind all they know to live here. My Puerto Riccan friend was raised Pentecostal as was I. We have a strong bond. Having grown up in similar faiths we understand each other. I have walked away from my faith, where he has tried to continue living his. I resent my past, he loves his. We have drastically different views of religion, but we understand the other one.
Growing up we attended many revivals and had several missionaries share their stories with us. I have always been fascinated with Africa and early in my life thought that being a missionary would be great. The issue was that I did not want to go and preach the Gospel, I wanted to heal the bodies that were ravaged by the harshness the World had dealt to them. In some of the revivals we would fill out these questionnaires about gifts of the spirit. According to the Pentecostals, everyone has at least one gift and should be fruitful with it. Each time I took the quiz it came back that I would be best in service as an Evangelist or a Missionary. Noting that I would be rich in spirit and not in money. I would be successful in poverty and lack of money would be of no issue to me.
I always remember those things, simply because the idea of being a Missionary and living an adventure outside of modern society has always appealed to me. I have embraced the idea of never having much money. My marriage was absolutely opposite of this. We lived life of debt to keep up appearances. I loathe paying bills and having that threat of bad credit loom over me. I gave up a life of luxury and any hopes of being well off many years ago. In fact I embraced simplification of life and learned to do without. I have not owned a car since 2005. Wow 9 years ago, incredible to think that I have never once thought about buying one. I am grateful to have one offered in certain cases, but overall I enjoy not having one.
My friend and I have discussed these ideas of missionary and evangelist in-depth. I know that my calling is not one of religious but one of humanitarianism. I understand that being a missionary does not mean I have to spread the Bible around. It means that I am in service, it has taken me years to put this together but that is what it truly means. So yes I am a missionary, but not one of faith, one of compassion. I want to share my life and my love with those that need it. I want to share my knowledge and abilities with those who need it most. I want to make a difference in someone’s life, which ultimately I have. I have a made a difference in my own life and it shows on the smile I put on daily and in my sharing of myself with others.