Thursday, June 21, 2007

my essay...finally

There are so many wretched things wrong with this world. Too much hate that causes wars and too much destruction that ruins this beautiful earth we live on. A few weeks ago I had a moment when I felt like there was no end to the problems of South Africa, of America, or all the corners of the world for that matter. I didn’t know what I was doing, how I was really making a difference to anything, anyone. A couple of days later I decided to sit down and try and tackle this essay except that I could not figure out what I believed in. I had no idea what had motivated me and lead me to this place. While I was sitting at my computer I could hear Matome and Masilu, my little brothers here in the village (5 & 6 years old) laughing in their high pitch voices and I decided to take a break and just play with them. I brought out the side walk chalk and we drew all kinds of things like islands and then pretended to be fish in the sea. We drew cars and then eventually the chalk ended up on our faces as well as most other surfaces of our bodies. We laughed and were silly together.

Then it just made sense. I am not driven by some overarching philosophy that has steered me down this path in life, something much simpler and innocent has brought me here. I realized I believe in the simple idea of living life as a child does, without inhibitions or regrets and just a desire to soak it all in. I am determined to keep the curiosity of a child, and relish the fact that now my playground is the entire world not just my own backyard. Children laugh without self-consciousness, they smile with their whole body and their imaginations are wildly inspiring. Their love of life is contagious and somehow makes all the worries of the day melt away.

I want to be young forever. I have no desire to grow old. I want to be able to play tag, turn cartwheels and not ever be afraid to sit on the ground and get a little bit dirty. Growing up and adding years to my knowledge is important and a beautiful part of the journey but I never want to lose the little girl inside me who just loves to play and laugh and not let the burdens of the world weigh her down. I want to always share the wide-eyed awe of a child when they first discover something in the grass or how to fit a puzzle piece together. I never want to lose that wonder or sense of excitement about life, about what is lying just around the corner, just out of my foresight.

So I take my cues from children. No matter what part of the world they are from, they understand how to play and enjoy each day. They are curious and eager to learn, laugh at silly things and bounce back from bumps and bruises. They have a resilience that I hope to keep with me for as long as I live.

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