Time flies. When I left Toronto for DC, six months seemed so daunting. I’ve written about this before, but I don’t really remember the first two weeks…just bits and pieces. Just like the goat, it was a leap of faith and I had to tell myself that yes, this is fine. I’m fine. And then looking back on the last six months it is definitely more than fine!! What I have accomplished as an individual, professionally and across all aspects of my life and community is an incredible transformational feeling.
When you are carving out a new life in a different city, you tend to eat at restaurants…A LOT! I learned a long time ago, the best way to meet people is sit at the bar in a busy place and people will start chatting. Strangers are friends waiting to happen and when you lead a fairly transient lifestyle, this is true. I have chatted with many people in DC and from all over the world. The inevitable question comes up…what brings you here? When I bring my new found friends up to speed on my time here, the response is usually the same; thank you for your service. This is not something I am not entirely comfortable with. The other response is the world needs more people like you. And again, completely outside my comfort zone.
Here is why these incredibly kind compliments make me a little squeamish. I did not do anything that extraordinary. The founder of Save the Children is quoted as saying that, “the world is not ungenerous, but unimaginative and very busy”. I just chose to slow down and open up my imagination to understand what is possible. I chose to discover, explore, learn and see things from every different perspective. We all possess these abilities, but tend to limit ourselves through the daily pressures of life in this ever changing and dynamic world.
As I get ready to head home and celebrate Christmas with my family and friends, I will always remember the incredible courage and fearlessness of the children and families at the transit shelters I served in last summer. I will always remember the passion and dedication of the US Emergencies team at Save the Children who work tirelessly and selflessly to protect and ensure the needs of children are met in the aftermath of a disaster. And lastly I am incredibly grateful to my community; my new DC family, and friends and family back home who gave me the courage to keep moving forward on the tough days and would celebrate with me when such simple milestones as finding a place to live were achieved.
And in everything I’ve experienced and accomplished while in Las Cruces; El Paso and DC my biggest learning is how to proceed with life once my time here is done. The messages are simple…take risks, push boundaries, do things that make you a little bit uncomfortable, take time to slow down, follow your instincts, always feed your passions. Embrace the community of people who surround and love you; because if you are ever stuck on a boulder between two mountains…your belief in community is what gets you to more than fine! This makes us stronger and resilient. This is the true meaning of balance and what I will bring back to my life in Canada.