What life event most changed your perspective of the world?
Life isn’t meant to be a daily grind. It is supposed to be a purposeful pursuit of helping others. It is the only answer to the big question “What is my purpose in life?” What a waste to have lived and died and not left the earth a better place in some small way. We were not created to live in isolation, each of us has something to contribute. and it is in that contribution that we find purpose, fulfilment and contentment.
1st August 2007 I sat at an office desk overlooking an empty courtyard and concrete block wall. All day I’d been making chase up phone calls to soon-to-be-exchange students. Students I’d called the week before, and the week before that, with the same requests. I’d listened to so many excuses and not one believable reason amongst the lot. For three weeks I’d heard so many mothers berated for things they hadn’t done. “If my useless mother had woken me on time I’d have gotten down to the post office in time.” Honey, the post office closes at 5pm what are you doing in bed at that time of day? “Mum hasn’t found the forms yet.” Darling, they are your forms for your overseas trip which your parents are paying for, get off your tushie and do at least one thing for yourself.
I knew I was in trouble when I started thinking about how much wine it would take to render me comatose. Coming to work the next day with a hangover wasn’t an option. Something had to change and as the Chinese proverb says
If you don’t change your direction
You’ll end up where you’re heading
There had to be something more satisfying than pandering to a set of spoiled adolescents. I had struggled with how the work was helping to move people forward in a way that promoted self-determination. Later that afternoon I spent ten minutes with the boss who graciously released me with a week’s pay in lieu of notice. I left feeling like I’d scooped first prize.
It didn’t take long to enrol at college, complete a number of certificates and diplomas and continue on to university. As a mature age student there were challenges but it was one of the most satisfying times of my life. The study changed my perspective on the world and more importantly of people. Tertiary education encourages students to explore both sides of any and every issue. Study changed what needed to be changed. It has given me a broader view of life. I notice now, the many shades between white and black to which I was previously oblivious.
An interesting aside to this story is that I studied business administration because my parents wanted that for me. That was in spite of the vocational spot-the-looney aptitude tests which strongly suggest a career in social welfare. Before deciding on which course to study at college I visited the vocational counsellor. Another battery of tests indicated that my natural tendencies favoured social welfare. Hello! Thirty-five years later and I’m finally where I ought to be. Never mind, I’m here now and loving life.
My journey puts me in mind of Bill Cosby’s anecdote: