Tag Archives: lifelong learning

You must be the change you wish to see in the world

During this season, as we celebrate Christmas, we are inundated with requests for charity.

When I think of charity I have some rather deeply personal views on this topic.  I am challenged by what charity means to me and what I do or don’t do about it.  We all have our own motivations for being charitable.  These may range from religious or spiritual beliefs held dear and close to heart, a general sense of benevolence, or a desire to make a difference in this world.

Charitable actions come in many different shapes, forms and varieties.  To some charity is generous financial contributions to organizations undertaking charitable work.   Others contribute to the community by preparing nutritious meals for those facing hunger when they, themselves, are living with limited means.  It could be the gift of time teaching a class for students in need of additional tuition.  Then there is the senior citizen I know who sits all year knitting wool beanies, despite her arthritis, for orphans in need of winter woollies.

I am humbled by the many examples of charity around me that I encounter on a daily basis.  I am blessed and inspired by people in my life who, I believe, are the epitome of what it means to be charitable.  You don’t talk charity, you live it daily in your lives.  You seek nothing in return.  You do not look for your name on a plaque placed prominently on [insert any donated object here].  You do not go about selective charitable donations to get a tax refund.  Charity is not a once off event on your calendar.  When you feed a hungry family you do so without fuss and bother, without alerting the media to your efforts.  Day in and day out, 365 days a year, you are tirelessly and selflessly giving of yourselves to others.

Personally, I understand charity to being committed to the continuous giving of oneself, in a meaningful way, to aid and assist others without expecting anything in return.

Okay, great, so I have developed my own understanding.  But having such a noble and lofty understanding is worthless without my own, personal, call to action.  Words without action are a waste of breath.  Until I get up, out of my comfort zone, and actively do something about my personal call to action I am wasting my time writing this article, not to mention wasting your time reading this.

So, I ponder more on this topic, and think of the words of Mahatma Gandhi:  “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”.  It all starts with me.  If I don’t want to see hunger in the world, for example, why am I not making an extra sandwich, when preparing my daily lunch, for the hungry person I pass on my way to work each morning?  Small example, but food for thought [no pun intended].

As I write this I am reminded of the article I wrote – Just for Today.  As I continuously seek to be a lifelong learner I need to challenge how I choose to live my life in order to grow and move forward as an individual.  So I challenge my status quo.  I have now added charity to my “Just for today” daily motivational.  As I step out into this unchartered territory I do not yet quite know how this is going to play out.  I know this, without taking the first step I’m never going to get anywhere, never move forward, never make a difference, and most certainly will never contribute to the change I wish to see in the world.

I dedicate this article to all the wonderfully inspirational people in my life who, without knowing it, challenge me to my core on this rather personal, and for some, sensitive topic.


Be the change you wish to see in the world

Yours in lifelong learning,

Laura

 

Am I Homesick?

Often, in recent months, I’ve been asked if I am homesick.  Eight months ago we relocated to a different country, in the opposite hemisphere.   New home, new job, new culture, new language, the list goes on.  So am I homesick?  This begs the question of what it means to be homesick.  What exactly am I meant to be missing?  Why are some people around me expecting me to be miserable?

So I enquired what they expect me to be missing so much I’d be miserable over it.  The most common answer is I’d be missing my former home.  I find this surprising.  Yes, I miss family and friends and have to mention my little kitty, but my former home?  This makes me ponder what I consider to be home.  A house is just the brick the mortar it is made of.  But, what makes it a home?

As I look back on my life I’ve lived in some curious places and called them home.  On two separate occasions, my home consisted of a converted garage.  Once my home was a single room.  I’ve had a few apartments and an excessively large, free-standing house.  Then there’s my last home in South Africa which was a beautiful duplex which was “home” for nearly eleven years.  They have varied significantly in size, fittings, location, etc.  But I considered each and every one of them my home.

Home to me is where I find my peace and sanctuary from the world.  Where I relax.  A place where I can truly just be myself, even if that means walking around in my pyjamas at 2:00 pm.   Home is a place of comfort, love, and security.  It is where I have that feeling of “belonging”.  Home is where I “find” myself.  It’s not about the material things we fill the brick and mortar with.  Home is a feeling, an emotion.  A feeling of being content and at peace.

There’s the saying “home is where the heart is”.  If home is where the heart is, then by its most literal definition, my home is wherever I am.  Very true for me.  Whenever I’ve moved into a new abode I’ve moved my heart there – never leaving it behind in a previous home.  I’ve made each new place into my sanctuary and been at peace with whatever the circumstances may be.  I make the conscious decision to live in the moment, with what I have, and be thankful.  So I carry my decision with me to each new place to be called home.

Don’t get me wrong, I do hold onto the happy and comforting memories of each and every home I’ve ever had.  They ground me.

My feeling of “home” is the love, peace, joy and comfort I fill my home with.  I am blessed with being able to do this and am blessed to have the most amazing partner to do it with.

So, do I miss home?  Simple answer… No!  I am at home.

 

I am not homesick

 

Yours in lifelong learning.

Laura

The End of an Era

Today I write about something not so philosophical or perhaps profound as I have done in the past.  I write about the end of an era, the closing of a chapter in my life and, indeed, the beginning of a new one.  After twelve years I have resigned from my current place of employment.   The past twelve years have been a tremendous journey of opportunity and growth.

So why would I make this change now after such a long period of time, time that has been happy and joyful?  Sometimes in life opportunity comes knocking at your door totally unexpectedly.  Out the blue a potential new chapter in life presents itself.

Let’s take a step back here for a moment and look at some of the history behind this.  I’ve been working with email and email systems since 1994.  Essentially from the birth of email as a communication and collaboration tool in businesses.  I’m passionate about email systems, fascinated by how they work.  This passion of mine led to extensive participation in community forums – answering questions, assisting with resolving issues experienced by folk all over the globe.  I’ve written technical articles, published [amateur] training videos all in my quest to share knowledge.  Some call this my hobby, I call it my passion.

My contributions in this area appear to have been noticed.  Suddenly I get a phone call from a global company asking me to come work for them doing just this, supporting and assisting email administrators globally.  My hobby, my passion, has now turned into a new job!  I will be in a position to continue sharing knowledge whilst remaining a lifelong learner.

I’ve spent some time reading my own previous posts and realise, yet again, just how much they apply to my life – how I have prepared for this day, how I’ve prepared for new opportunities, how I can approach this massive change by starting with that first single step.

So where to from here?  We are relocating to Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in a few short weeks.  A new country, a new job, new opportunities to learn and grow.  I am excited and nervous simultaneously.  This is a huge step, a massive change.  But I remind myself of taking that first step and how I plan my journey in small stages.  So here I am walking along an untrodden path and climbing a new mountain one step at a time.

 

The end of an era

Yours in lifelong learning,

Laura