I want to change the world. It is not a dream or vision but a reality that I am able to change the world for the better. I figured this out while visiting New York, New York. For my 16th birthday present, my parents took me and my best friend sightseeing for the weekend.
The night before we left to go home, we visited Ray’s Pizza, which had been personally recommended to me. This was, in fact, one of the primary reasons I wanted to visit, for the fabled New York style pizza.
We had gotten three whole pizzas all topped with unique toppings for the four of us to split, and I was carrying the box with the few slices leftover. I was admittedly walking slower than normal because of the large amount of hot cheesy pizza, and so maybe that was what caused me to notice the homeless man half-asleep on the edge of the sidewalk.
Most people in New York City are so busy they don’t notice, or pretend not to notice, the large amount of unfortunate people without homes. I was planning on eating the pizza I held in my hands for breakfast the next morning.
I was not compelled by guilt nor did I feel any responsibility for his condition, instead I acted on what was an obvious wrong that I could make right. He was hungry. I had food. Our conversation lasted no more than thirty seconds; the look of surprise and gratitude in his eyes stays with me to this day. On that day, I discovered just how easy it is to change a life.
The price of the pizza was not the important part; however, the gesture of giving what I did not need was where I found the breakthrough. Because of my interaction in New York, I have found new discoveries that I want to dive into. I want to know why it is right for me to get an iPhone 6 for Christmas, while other people my age do not have a dinner on Christmas. I want to know why it is acceptable for me to have luxuries yet some do not have necessities.
I am not tackling world hunger or extreme poverty by giving away some pizza, but I do believe I can personally change the world for the better. I want to learn how I can drastically improve the lives of those who I interact with. It now seems like common sense when I tell people that I want to help people. Who doesn’t?
That is something that is best discovered on your own. Today, I give back by participating in Virginia Tech Relay For Life – which has raised over $5 million for cancer research and patient services. Join me today to make a difference in the lives of millions.
It’s January, that lovely time of year where it seems everyone you know and love (or maybe just know) is setting goals for themselves for the new year; do more, eat less, that sort of thing. There is an overwhelming pressure to somehow be better regardless of how bad or good you thought you were in the past year. I love New Years, don’t get me wrong but the pressure, the pressure is what kills it for me.
But what about those of us who have found ourselves already? I am not the type of person who constantly tries to reinvent myself. In fact for a very long time I was a creature of habit and to stray from that habit would be the worst thing in the history of the universe, ever.
In high school I decided to leave my comfort zone, do things for me, develop interests outside of the ones I had figured would characterize me for the rest of eternity. I learned some very important things about myself along the way; music is my everything, coffee is my second everything and black trumps all other colors by far.
Jokes aside, I did some real self discovery in high school, especially over the course of my senior year, and to be candid I’m pretty happy with what I found. I learned what was and what wasn’t
important and have channeled much of my energy this year at university into putting the ideals I developed over my last year in high school into practice. Two years of too much people pleasing, too much worrying about how others perceived me and too little attention paid to what makes me happy made for one extremely unhappy high school junior.
I was constantly anxious, it seemed like there wasn’t a moment when I wasn’t worrying about something and I realized I cannot and will not live the rest of my life that way.
Starting in twelfth grade I finally began to live my life for me. Hobbies I never took too seriously became passions of mine. I threw myself into the things and relationships that I cared about and allowed myself to be completely open and vulnerable for the first time in my life. I stopped caring about what other people had to say about me behind my back and started to prove them wrong through my actions, my words and my choices.
Living my life for me did not come easy and I had to learn that my happiness as a number one priority was more important than those few extra toxic people in my life that would have lingered otherwise. It took me a very long time to accept the following universal truths: a) people change b) things change c) no matter how much a and b frighten you, there is absolutely NOTHING you can do about them. I’m constantly evolving, growing and for lack of a better word changing and that’s ok.
Things I simply thought were important to keep in mind during my senior year are now principles I live by from day to day, the people in my life are ones that want me to be a part of theirs as much as I want them to be a part of mine, life is good.
So really what I’m getting at here is it’s okay to be okay with who you are or what you’ve been working at already. I’ve just started a new chapter in my life hundreds of miles away from the place I call home and I’m expected to set a “goal” for myself to “accomplish” over the next year? Yeah right. I’m just living life.