I am by nature a stoic person; generally I take things in my stride. An avid fan of adventure, friends and family would cohesively say that I can happily throw caution to the wind. So as the departure date nears (ONLY 2 sleeps now!!) I have encountered many a question about being nervous about the next six months, and leaving family and friends behind, a new country, on my own.
I thought I knew my answer to being asked about PULSE. I knew why I was doing it, what it meant to me and what I also expected to get out of it. I mean I had been looking to apply for this for years!! So it is discombobulating for me to write how I have already been surprised by what I have learnt from this…and I haven’t even left yet.
Now this is not a reflection of how much I will miss the people I hold dear, as that is inevitable, but the answer to that very question is that I have only been feeling excitement and calmness in relation to what amazing journey lies ahead.
There are few times in life where you truly feel you are in the right place, and the right time doing exactly what you were put on this earth for. And I feel that now. GSK has given me an amazing opportunity to donate my time and skill in order to make a difference in a developing country with Leonard Cheshire Disability International. It honestly doesn’t get any cooler than that.
Pulse is all about being the change, and I have been prepared since applying all these months ago that I would be on a journey of self discovery.
But it is the people here at home, and their reaction to me leaving that has taken me off guard. I have been confronted by the honesty in their kind words about what sort of person they see me as. A close friend commented that it is very rare in life that you get that kind of raw feeling from so many people at once. It is fair to say that part of being a stoic person means I haven’t been one to show an immense amount of emotion. I was sure that by embarking on such a phenomenal experience through a developing country working on a project that tangibly changed the lives of the disabled was going to change that. What I was wrong about, was that the people at home have had a massive impact on that already.
I am proud to say I allowed myself feel and react. This may not sound like much to some, but a massive change for me. It is strange to be aware of the feeling of emotion coming over you and a wanting to hug people, when it isn’t who I have been. But this is what has happened. And I think I kinda enjoyed it.
I have learnt that when people hug you with feeling, a bit of their personality comes through. They give you a piece of them to take with you.
Like those with a gentle rock – are the softer souls who give and need to be given to.
A sudden “weight lifter type” bear hug – they are certain of their ability to provide comfort and anchoring in your life.
And the hug which when finished still has a hand resting on your shoulder – a clear sign that they need you to know they are with you by your side even when they aren’t.
1st life lesson Pulse = open your heart, mind and hugs to those that care and it is pretty amazing.
As Foreigner once belted out in a classic power ballad “through the clouds I have seen love shine” – Thank you Pulse for letting me experience this.