I sometimes feel sad and ashamed. Sad and ashamed that I am unable to do more.
I sit and look at other people, so active in helping make the lives of others better. And I wonder why I am not.
When I was younger, I wanted to be someone. Someone who helped others. I wanted to be involved, and committed, and driven to make the world a better place. I wanted to make changes.
But I didn’t. I didn’t get the right education. I wasn’t encouraged to follow those dreams. I made poor choices. I didn’t realize my potential.
I did other things. Fun things. Happy things. Positive things. Exciting things.
But I never realized the dreams and the ambitions I had to be a part of changing the world.
So, now, here I am, 25 and 30 years on, and the opportunity to do and be and change has passed me by. I have a home and a family and a mortgage and a life here now.
Real life stuff.
Real life for me, for our family, means we can’t just pick up and go be part of a project. It means we can’t afford to donate to the causes we’d like to support. It means there isn’t the time to volunteer to the degree we might like to. It means we don’t have the means to make the difference we might have hoped to make when we were younger.
It means we have to commit to the here and now and, unlike some fortunate others, our resources don’t stretch much farther than that.
Am I happy with the life I have chosen? Of course. I am genuinely happy with it, which is something I never imagined. (A dream of a different sort, for another day.)
But it doesn’t mean I don’t regret the possibilities that I was unable to realize. That I don’t feel jealousy or sadness when I see others with the time, or the money, or the training, or the energy, to do these things. That I don’t wish I could do it, too.
Everyone says to just do something. I say it, too. It’s hard, though, to see the change you had imagined when you participate in that way. Organizations ask for minimums of X amount of time or Y amount of effort or, more pointedly, Z amount of money, and we can’t. What we can do for them will make no difference, doesn’t appear to have enough value, or does not seem to be on their radar.
It saddens me. In my heart, I want to help. So much. So often. But I want to see my help making a difference. And the little I can do these days really does not seem to make a difference.
Of course, I know it does. Eventually. Added to what others can do. Which is really the most important part, of course.
Still, it’s hard to reconcile. I dreamt of being a someone who did some things and made some difference in this world. And the reality is much less grand and inspiring.