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12 June 2003 (Thursday)

the utility of bunnies

I've been reading old diaries from high school. Much of it makes me wince amusedly in its naivete, as is to be expected, but much of it saddens me, too. Over the years, slowly and steadily like an erosion, I've sold out.

My original idea of my life's purpose was simple and selfless: committing my skills and talents to where my world most needs them. Studying medicine and joining Doctors Without Borders in sub-Saharan Africa, maybe. Or teaching kids in low-income neighborhoods, staying after school to help them with homework. Or designing the next generation of solar panels. Once upon a time I had much grander designs, bigger dreams than a life of comfort and day-to-day pleasures.

These days especially, with volatile nations struggling to call truces and rebuild, I feel like I should be doing something more significant with my time than earning bank deposits and keeping myself happy. I should be learning Arabic and buying a plane ticket. I should be making a difference, whatever that means.

But it's not a fire in my brain -- just a nagging guilt, a floating question. I know I'm not going to act on it. I've lived my whole life inside a rainbow-colored bubble and I know there's a war on outside, but there's no immediacy to it, no desperate cry to action. Besides, there's no clear sense of what I'm supposed to do. It's not as though I have an great ear for languages, or an uncanny knack for organizing things like vaccination drives (hell, I can barely organize a picnic). My talents seem to be of the mulling-things-over and creating-pretty-stuff variety, which is hardly the most useful set of inclinations. It's as though the kingdom needs a sorcerer who can stop floods, but I'm only good at turning scarves into bunnies.

Still, hardly an excuse. Work lets up in about six months; if I'm not learning to stop floods then, I'll at least be building levees. (Not out of bunnies, I hope.)

posted by enjelani @ 10:56 PM PST [ link ]