Paper Towns

tumblr_n34u1jQuYv1qe7mxjo1_400 If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life & death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.

The past days have been filled with many ups and downs, with different emotions being triggered due to different happenings and circumstances. While I’d say I was deeply affected and really emotional, the me who’s typing all these now is through a rationale mind and not saying things due to bouts of anger.

With an expecting and happy attitude, I dedicated my entire summer to a project that means a lot to me (it still does). Albeit being skeptical as to whether I was able to cope with the various commitments, I decided to go for it, because ultimately I knew I would regret if I didn’t. I’d be lying if I said the whole journey thus far has been a smooth sailing one, because, for various reasons, it really hasn’t. I admit that throughout the past few months, there have been instances where I question myself, if the time & effort put in is really worth it. And I immediately feel guilty for even having second thoughts, because complications aside, this project is in line with my beliefs in volunteering. Back in February, I posted this before my interview results came out:

During my interview, I got asked the primary question that all volunteers will probably come across at least once in their lives:

What does volunteerism mean to you?

Honestly felt that my answer during the interview wasn’t able to perfectly encapsulate the thoughts that I have pertaining to this question because of how nervous I was haha. Volunteerism is something that should come from your heart, and not for the sake of superficiality – for it will not only be detrimental to yourself, but your beneficiaries as well. Volunteerism is seen when you contribute your time & effort in various ways, even if it’s just spending time with your beneficiaries, without expecting any personal returns or gains, apart from satisfaction and happiness within. Volunteerism means to befriend your beneficiaries, getting to know them for who they really are, being able to see past the possible disadvantages they may have in their lives. Nobody is perfect, we might just  be slightly more privileged than others out in society, hence affording to render our services to alleviate their lives, be it in terms of physical items or simply inculcating values etc. Volunteerism shouldn’t be seen as something that’s noble or whatsoever, it shouldn’t be something that you choose to do just because you have some time to spare. Volunteerism should be nothing but sincerity, it should be something innate, where you don’t feel compelled or pressurized to do whatever you do. Because volunteering means as much to me as the importance of people understanding the spirit of volunteerism. So this, is what volunteerism means to me :’)

This is my main drive and motivation for continuing to pursue what I truly believe in. One particular sentence from above struck me hard yesterday, “… without expecting any personal returns or gains, apart from satisfaction and happiness within”. Volunteering is meant to be something where everyone works together towards a common goal, and when needed, we contribute. To be proactive in helping others, with minimal complaints. Everyone is busy, everyone has their own commitments, everyone has their own lives to lead. But as grown-ups, the least we could do is to fulfil our responsibilities & carry out our duties diligently, isn’t it? And for things that you haven’t done, it doesn’t make any sense to claim full credit for them. Not giving the proper credit is fine (I’m totally okay with that, I didn’t help out just to have my efforts recognised anyway). But shamelessly claiming to have done something when you didn’t contribute at all is an action that is way past my limit of tolerance.

Perhaps we might seem to be blowing the entire issue up, or overreacting, but the very fact that our efforts have been completely discounted deeply upsets and infuriates me. Because this insensitivity in words & such a bold (wrong) move, shook up so much dynamics and people who actually dedicated so many hours/so much effort, deserve an apology at the very least. I guess only the people who were present would understand the tediousness behind a seemingly simple task, and nobody else could – or even should – say that they fully understand, because they don’t, and never will, unless they have been through it themselves.

I don’t regret joining this project, I really don’t. The interactions I’ve had with the donors/beneficiaries so far reaffirmed this. I’m still holding on to my beliefs, staying true to my heart, & continue to contribute whenever possible. Hence, despite certain discrepancies in expectations/working styles, as much as I am affected by it, I wouldn’t let it affect the project (to the best of my abilities). Why should such problems affect our common vision in helping our beneficiaries anyway? From this whole experience thus far, I guess one important thing is to minimise miscommunications whenever possible. Loads of thoughts pertaining to this, shall save it for a later post some time soon when I’m able to free up some time again.

Anyway … this whole thinking process of how important volunteering is to me, coincidentally led me to finalising a huge decision on Monday, 29 June. It’s a big leap, a huge step, and a drastic change. But I’m excited to know what’s in it for me in the coming years, may my decision be a wise one. Still uncertain about it, but so so thankful for all the support/respect/reassurance from the friends who’ve heard the news from me :’) It really means a lot, and I sincerely thank those who have been sticking around and being concerned, while ensuring that my choice will be a wise one. One decision made, two more decisions to go. And I’m still lost about them so … I’ll just take things in stride for now. And hope that someone pops by along the way to give me advice that I really need.

May things get better from now on x tumblr_mtancr34aQ1qcqbdbo1_400 PS. Exactly one year ago, I embarked on my Korea trip with friends whom I’ll treasure for a lifetime 🙂 Such memories will never fade, and may we be able to relive them again in the near future.

PPS. 1 July marks Chad & Avril’s wedding anniversary hehe.

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