My wife and I are two totally different individuals. Opposites attract they say. In our case, it couldn’t be more true.
My upbringing was in the midst of North American comfort culture. My parents immigrated to Canada in the late ’70s from Jamaica so I often enjoyed the pleasures of growing up in a land typically free of political unrest and secure health benefits.
My wife, on the other hand, survived 2 wars. The Ugandan civil war in the ’80s and the Gulf War in the early ’90s. She had political instability for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The early parts of her life were lived with no assurance she would see the next day. At the same time, I ate Footloops around the breakfast table watching Saturday morning cartoons, upset that my little brother grabbed the cereal prize before I did.
My life wasn’t perfect. I experienced financially challenging times as a kid. Just as my wife’s life had some bright spots too and enjoyed parts of her childhood (dropping water balloons on people’s heads in the Middle East as a kid with her brother. Yeah, I’d say they had some good times!).
But as we grew up our adult life focus reinforced how we were raised. I wanted to go to school, get a degree, secure a job, make money, raise a family and give them as much as I could.
She wanted only one thing: To make an impact.
Of course, she wanted a family and desired to give them whatever they needed, but her life purpose to make an impact on the lives of others trumped everything else. She was never into the ‘shiny’ goals of North American life.
I was. Tell you the truth a small part of me still is. But it’s slowly fading.
As the world still adjusts to minimize the spread of COVID-19 virus, we are all beginning to understand what our true motives are in life and what it should be.
Most of us aren’t thinking about the consumption of things more than we’re thinking about being alive.
That followed by thoughts of – What to actually do with this life? How do I impact those around me for the better? Where do I begin?
The good news is there’s currently a plethora of opportunities to have an impact today. Start by educating yourself and others about keeping each other at low risk to contract the virus. Donate to food banks and other organizations that look after individuals of the community most at risk physically and financially.
Ultimately we can all use this global occurrence as a stepping stone to a more purposeful life. A life of more intentional impact and not just consumption.