Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Thoughts from the dark country...

I´ll update things soon enough on the travel end of things - I´m writing this from Medallin in central Colombia - but for the moment, I´m gonna have a little brainstorm.

I´ve been feeling sorry for myself these past couple of days - feeling very homesick, missing the kids, wanting time to myself (very hard being in a dorm so constantly), worrying about people - but it has all been thrown into perspective by recent events. A friend´s sister´s boyfriend just died while on holidays in Buenos Aires - in fact, we met both of them merely two months ago in La Paz - and he was just so young, and it´s made me think about things a little harder. Since we left Ireland in October my cousin has died from lung cancer, my Mam has gone through more chemotherapy for her own cancer, an old school friend died from kidney failure, a seemingly solid relationship has collapsed around us all, a friend has had a baby, another friend has also had a baby, yet another friend is fulfilling his dream of returning to Africa, and so many other things of varying degrees of importance. It feels like life has not only carried on without us, but has accelerated to an alarming rate. To have a son, boyfriend, friend not return from a holiday you blithly waved them off on? To have a baby appear in your life with little notice? To see someone your own age waste away from illness? To know your cousin is dying in hospital, but be 3000 miles away? To worry constantly about your family? To have someone you trust break your heart? All these things are playing on my mind today, and all these things are forcing me to accept that changes need to be made in my life.

So, here`s the first thing. I am going to try to be a better person. And I don`t mean in the miniscule sense of the world - I give to charity, I fundraise, I am nice to kids, etc. etc. - but in the broader sense. As Alan always tells me, sometimes I´m nicer to people I don´t know - I care more about children in Africa or Thailand than I do about my friends or the people I know. So, for once, I´ll admit that Alan is right - but don`t tell him that. I´m gonna try to accentuate the positive in my personality, and subdue the negative. To this end, I´m making a bit of a list of things that I know I do wrong, and I´m sure I´ll get agreement on each and every one.... For example: I judge people too quickly, and build dislike for someone quicker than I build like; I am very unforgiving of weaknesses and faults - I will decide somebody is not a good person based on single actions; I over-analyze everything about a situation; I have a very quick temper.

There are certain things that I won`t be able to change so drastically, so I won`t pretend that I can. I have a low opinion of liars, and I always will - somebody who is two-faced and hypocritical has never been worthy of my respect, and never will be. But I´m definitly gonna work on the rest of it!

These past few months have galvanized in me a sense that I should be back in college, should be studying, should be a teacher, and should help change the world, if I can at all. But they´ve also taught me that I had tolerance even more than I had expected, and it´s time to put that tolerance to good use. So, in light of the terrible tragedies that have effected so many people close to me these past few months, I hereby make a vow to change for the better, and try lead a better life.

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