Friday, January 26, 2007

I never wanted...

my story to be the typical one. I never wanted to be a corporate whore. I never wanted to be a yuppie - selfish, insular, uncaring about the world around me. I wanted to make a difference, I wanted to be remembered, even if it was just by one person for one small act of selflessness that made a positive change in this world.

At times recently, I have felt like an unbelievable sell-out.

I am working a typical job: typical hours, typical ass kissing, typical work. I make a lot of money. I spend a lot of money. Almost all of it is on myself. I am not contributing to the world around me in any significant way. I ride my bike, I climb, I drink beer, I talk politics without taking any real action. I hang out with my friends. I have a fucking car payment. I travel and ski and race.

I love the things I do with my life. They are fun, and I really appreciate my friends, be they old or new, local or distant, I don't waste my time with people I don't truly love. However, I'm not working actively to make the world a more fair, more just, all around better place.

My ideals in college kept me from working for a lot of companies, because I did not want to design things that would kill people, or harm the environment. I have a good job, but it too is not helping our species evolve in a progressive manner. I miss the work I did helping get the Troy Bike Rescue off the ground and supporting its growth.

My only hope is that my job will allow me to do the following: pay off college loans which weigh heavily on me. It will give me the experience I need to function at a higher level in the future. It will give me freedom (at least somewhat) financially to do something larger with my life.

I don't need to be a hero, or a martyr, or a saint. But I've had it so good in so many ways. I want to give more of my neighbors on this planet the same opportunity.

I'm jealous of my r4L Cerissa, who has thrown caution to the wind and joined Americorps. Maybe I will start locally: Urban Bike Project.


airing out said...

Baby steps. You can change the world in a million different ways, small ways. You can change the world by recycling on beer bottle at a time. You can change the world by raising one dollar at a time for a cause you love. You can change the world with every dollar you spend. You can change the world by creating one piece of art. You can change the world by building a bike trail. You can change the world by doing something cool for a kid. You can change the world one volunteer hour at a time.

The world is a very very large place... but just because you don't change the whole at once by the age of 25 does not mean that you haven't made an impact. You influence one small piece at a time. You don't have to do it all... just one thing at a time.

Remember when you showed your disgust for the woman who threw her butt out of the car window. Well, maybe she changed her behavior. Take baby steps. One foot at a time. But don't take your eye off the ball.

I work for a HUGE corporation and make good money. I am selfish in a lot of ways. But I do what I can. I like to think the world is a better place because I'm here. I like to think I make an impact. I do my part.

wow, that was long winded.

robert said...

thanks for that. you are right in so many ways. and it does make me feel better that i have and will make the little differences where i can.

however, the other thing that weighs on me is this: i often feel like i got stuck in this oh-so-typical life line because of some level of ignorance. the reality is that i did not know what i wanted in high school. i was sheltered, in a middle class white town, and was generally clueless to the world outside of mine.

i went to college because that's what the salutatorian of the class is supposed to do. i went into engineering because that is what you do when you are slightly better at math and science than your other subjects. i went to an expensive school because, hey, that's how you get the good job.

ironically, it was my time at said expensive school that changed me. i was in a low income, racially mixed city. i was taking social and political science classes as my elective escapes from engineering. i was involved with volunteer work. i became engaged in politics and issues on the world stage.

i just find it ironic that the vehicle that changed me and opened my eyes also created what i see as the ball and chain holding me to a job and lifestyle that i never knew i didn't really want.

maybe that's what's supposed to happen when you leave the nest. maybe i'm just another priveleged white kid who doesn't know how good he has it. (for the record, my parents are not, were not rich. i was on my own entirely at the age of 19. i put myself through college. but i also had the fortunate upbringing to know that i COULD do it.)

i just don't want to lose sight of what is really important.

airing out said...

You won't loose sight... as long as you don't want to.