10 levels of personal awakening
Looking back towards the first day I stared this volunteering experience, I don’t feel much of a difference at a first glance, but perhaps more awareness. I realise some aspects for which I haven’t quite taken the time to think about before, this for sure. I’m at the halfway of the volunteering experience, but is it really the half of my learning experience here?
There come little things that can turn your world upside down quite easy. They can be fully yours or that you experienced. The question is more how will you react, what will you do with your experience gained so far.
Here’s what I did: a list with 10 things through which I’d like to sum up the volunteering/ learning experience so far:
I am not responsible for other people around me all the time – I am a volunteer just like everyone else and whatever role I had back home, it doesn’t apply here; I am not automatically anyone’s mother, sister, friend, I’m not an educator, responsible for your development nor a counsellor, nor the super-woman everyone knows I am unless I want to; constantly taking care of other people is not really what I should do; a bit of egoistic feeling you may say, but I need to learn to take care more of myself, others can come after without the feeling of guilt
Minding my own business might hurts others’ feelings for not having the world constantly revolving around them… and that’s very much OK – tip for the inner you to say it out loud until you get it: “My supreme role is not to save the planet, nor all the people”
Meeting people in a new place is sometimes difficult and can be frustrating – I am quite picky when it comes to people and that is not very helpful, I know; it’s not always easy to integrate or blend in, even if you do speak the language; sometimes there are the interests that are different, the age or simply you don’t match with them; it’s OK not to be friends with everyone and it’s very much OK to pull out from people you don’t feel yourself around; persistence for meeting new people that match you is important though so don’t give up, look for more events and activities you can do locally or even travel nearby
Respect the others and the common shared spaces – you are not Kevin from “Home Alone” if you are to share the space with other people; your room is your sanctuary though so decorate it as you please, make it be your space with whatever you like; the common ones belong to all your flatmates equally so leave the space tidy after you use it, don’t leave your stuff all around the place, ask before using other people’s stuff or places; making yourself feel as home should have the boundary of respecting the others’ right to feel the same
My expectations are mine to fulfill, not of other people’s – what you would do for the others, it’s not always what people want to do back for you; assume the responsibilities for your actions because playing the victim role all the time will make people get bored of you and avoid you at all costs in the end; no one wants to me made to feel bad, isn’t it?
I am the only responsible and accountable person for the way I spend my time – I had the bad luck of having quite a permissive schedule; yes, I know, many would like to have that, but I didn’t use it always right; do the course you wanted, go have that trip, see the series you crave for; make sure you share your time for work and personal issues too
I need to take advantage more of my time in a place other than my hometown – there are many things I wished to do or see and often I chose to work during the weekends than actually enjoy them; now I’m stuck at home and I will probably lose 2-3 months inside the house with no possibility to travel anywhere; pity, isn’t it?
Money come, money go – of course saving is important and you need to have a good financial management when your resources are limited and not so many; in the beginning it was a bit difficult until I saw how much I actually need to spend on food or real needs but at the end of the month I was always left with extra cash, so go to that movie, make the trip you wanted, spoil yourself a bit, wait no more!
Let myself wander on the streets without having a certain purpose/place to get to – you’ll get to discover many places of the city and its various faces; perhaps graffiti, perhaps interesting stores, unique architecture, a great walking passage or even people
Travel light – packing 2 wardrobes won’t do any good for you; if you are to leave abroad for 1 year or 1 month, it’s the same; you don’t need 20 t-shirts and 30 pairs of pants, ¼ of all that is more than enough; you can wash the clothes and reuse them, you know that, right? 15 pairs of shoes are really not needed unless you plan to have a fashion week show; personal tip: even for your “at home life” it’s a bit too much consumerism with no real reason (need); yes, I know, girls with clothes and shoes have a tight relationship (sometimes), but less is more, especially since you’ll eventually buy stuff from the places you go to; trust me on this one: 1/3 of your initial luggage should be empty when you first leave, while 20-25kg of luggage is really a lot and more than enough for essential things
I am now in Spain for about 6 months. New places, new people, new language, new culture, new everything. But is it also a new “me” or did the older “me” get the strength to finally truly reveal itself? To breathe, to be free, to enjoy everything at my own pace, to shred my shoulders from so many responsibilities that weren’t even mine to be from the beginning. Perhaps for the first time in a very long time I get to be “me” without justifications for others for what I do. It sure feels good, I tell you.
I am enjoying a lot the power of saying “no” that I’m gaining here. It is quite liberator and empowering at the same time. Don’t be afraid to be who you are underneath!