Originally for today I planned to write 10 things I learned in a decade of adulthood. I appreciate a listicle as much as any millenial, but I also hate writing them. Instead, I wanted to talk about story. I love Donald Miller's writings. One of his most challenging has been the Storyline Workbook. Casey got it for me awhile ago, but I finally started working through it the past few weeks or so as I struggle with desiring a career of meaning. I am good at tech support, but I do not wish to remain in it the rest of my life (especially considering the pay scale is lacking.) One of the main parts of the book is to analyze the main turning points of your life, put them on a scale of -10 to +10, and see what looks to be the theme of your life. Now, I hate inferring things, but I believe what I found is I am being led to make changes by grasping onto my passions. Unfortunately, as I come to mountaintops of change, I have in turn gone through many valleys where I have given up hope. As Treebeard and Merry talk in The Two Towers:
Treebeard: “We Ents cannot hold back this storm. We must weather such things as we have always done.”
Merry: “How can that be your decision?”
Treebeard: “This is not our war.”
Merry: “But you're part of this world, aren't you? You must help, please!”
This is how I often have felt in trying to grasp what I and others can do with the world. There seem to be those who are begging for help, whether directly or indirectly, and there is myself, being overwhelmed and thus shutting down. Again, to quote the movie (I say the movie, as it does differ from Tolkien's words), King Theoden says, “What can men do against such reckless hate?” Too often I try to look at the bigger picture. As I do so, my mind races to the extreme. For instance, I think of the hungry, then I try to think of ways to feed them, then I think of the problems of the world such as drought and climate change. This is perhaps an oversimplification of my overwhelming thoughts, but I'd rather not outline the full thought process lest you think I'm crazier than you may already.
Thankfully, my wife and others speak truth to me, just like Aragorn states, “There is always hope.” Samwise Gamgee also furthers this by saying “There is some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for.” When I hear words such as these, I am able to shake off the feeling of “the glass is half empty and there's a giant crack in the bottom draining it.” Indeed, as I have been reading various books over the past month, such as Clive Thompson's Smarter Than You Think or Stephan Bauman's Possible, I am seeing how I can use my talents and ideas to help make a difference with others. I want to embrace the idea of multiples, as discussed in Thompson's book. This means that there tends to be many people thinking along the same lines as each other. By using technology such as blogging, social media, and email, collaboration can occur that may not happen offline. I want to take an idea, such as hunger alleviation, and make it a reality as Bauman encourages is possible through engaging those in need not as people to be helped but as people who can help.
As part of this, I want to advise you that I am have begun outlining a possible study in terms of hunger alleviation. This may lead to a graduate study, possibly at Kilns College. They have a Master's Degree in Social Justice. However, I am nervous about returning to academia though I love learning. There is also the money thing, again. While their program is relatively cheap (cheaper per credit hour than my Bachelor's Degree, actually), they are not accredited and therefore not eligible for student aide aside from independent scholarships. I will be researching those and other payment options. I deeply want to make a difference. I believe I can do so through combining my past experiences, such as sales management, with my passions, such as sustainable food solutions. Of course, I can do this outside of a Master's Degree, but I want this to succeed, so I am willing to do whatever is necessary to get the most people to take me seriously. If that includes continuing my education through a graduate program, then so be it. If I and others I trust deem that as unnecessary in the short term and it can wait for financial stability while I do the groundwork for my idea, then that is fine as well. I have learned over the past decade of being an adult, as well as over my whole life, the best thing is to first start, and then continue at whatever cost. As Bauman discusses, it is those who persevere through the valleys after the initial excitement who make it the longest. To that end, through the valley I go.