Thursday, October 20, 2016

Why I do what I do

At somepoint I realised that life is hard. Life feels shit sometimes. That we are as a species are probably screwed. That the greed of some, or perhaps all of us, has led us to destroy the world we live in.

Despite all this, I realise that the only thing I take real pleasure from is to help others. Perhaps it is my childhood, my conditioning, I don’t know. But I do know that the only way I ever really feel deeply happy is when I am making like easier for another. 

Now obviously this has a limit, I am not going to be a doormat. I am not an endless supply of energy. But that is the reason I wanted to be a doctor. That is the reason I wanted to be a teacher or a counselor.

For me the payoff is helping people. Little acts of kindness are just as important as large ones. I always look to see how others are feeling. What others need and want. 

My job frustrates me because I want to help people but as a teacher, it sometimes feels really difficult. Because teaching doesn’t necessarily feel like help to the people receiving the education. What I am doing is facilitating them through a rite of passage. In our society, to get anywhere, you must go to school, learn about the world, about other people, learn to fit in. etc. 

So for me the pay check isn’t money. The pay check is helping, or rather the acknowledgement from others when they realise that I am there to help them.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Learning how to live

For as long as I can remember I have pushed and struggled through life. 

I have walk a difficult path. I have moved countless homes, schools and social groups, resisted and changed, conformed and rebelled, stagnated and progressed.

I have sunk and survived, risen from the depths. I have tried and wished, hoping all the while I wept. And finally I made it here.

I have crafted for myself a good life. From all the pieces, people, memories and lessons. Not the one I imagined, but a good life none the less.

The hard part now is learning how to stop. Just for a moment, to let go of the next challenge. To enjoy and relax. To remember to breathe deep and be calm. I don’t have to climb mountains any more, but I can if I want to. I can move away from anxiety because I don’t need to worry about the future. Through all the confusions of living, the moments of sadness and joy, I have gained a priceless gift. I have learned how to live well.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Preciousness of Living

None of us get to choose how long we live or how we will die, at least not of natural causes. There is no choice in the random events or illnesses that can come our way. I consider myself lucky because I already know this, as a long term survivor of a life-threatening illness. 

I do my best to live each day well. Or at least to choose only the paths that lead me to meaningful things. Now obviously I am limited by my knowledge, imagination, fears and insecurity but I have looked death in the eye and I have chosen to lead a life that I believe in.

We don’t know how much time we will get on this planet. I can’t say how many years my hips will last, or if I will be fertile when I try to have children. All these things are left to nature, or science, all for life to decide. All I can do is to remind myself that life is precious and so very finite.

Often days can seem long and daily life tedious. How is it that I could have forgotten how fragile life is? Even after spending 3 years fighting to stay living? I guess it the arrogance of the living. That as a human when a crisis ends we are adaptable enough to keep on going. Our persona resumes its normal form, despite the changes now etched into our person by experience.

I know that at this very moment I am not living a perfect life. But I know I am living a very good one. A life I have created based on my preferences and the opportunities available. I know my choices have been limited as much by my internal fears as by external practicalities. But I wish to remind myself, a call to remember, how precious, fragile and unique the opportunity to live is. To experience, to do, to just be here.

My father only got 47 years. In November I will begin my 30th. How sad the thought my father only had 17 more years from here. If he had known he would die so young would he have spent so much time at work? Perhaps he would have chosen to spend more time with his family or on the golf course or even to travel the world and live a fuller life.

Sometimes my practical side gets caught up in what we are meant to do in life. But what do I really want to do, if I take away all the rules, fears and barriers? It is with this bigger picture that we all need to frame our lives. Not in thinking about what others will think, not worrying how it might look or how scary it could be.What is this life I might design? What paths will I follow and which threads will I let pass me by?  Knowing well that no one could ever control the factors and events that spin in and out of possibility, doors closing as others open. We all make choices about our lives unconsciously every day. I want to make sure that when I make them, I know the direction I am facing.