As I listen to people (self included) talk about “sacrifices” or “losses” sustained during these tough economic times, I must remind myself of those less fortunate than I. I can’t help but wonder if I am feeling the pinch, then how are they surviving? Although these thoughts are sobering ones, I am actually thankful for them. I am reminded of the many blessings that I have received and continue to benefit from, even during present times. As well, I am not only reminded of those who are in need, but I am inspired to find ways to help.
For me the recession has meant the loss of a job and clients. However, this has been a great opportunity for me to redirect my time and energy towards helping others. I am the Volunteer Coordinator for one of the organizations that I volunteer with, which gives me a chance to meet many people who are looking for ways to give back. What intrigues me the most, are their reasons for volunteering. Many are unemployed and looking for ways to productively spend their days, while others are looking for community service opportunities to fulfill school or other requirements. One reason that resonates with me so deeply is the search for something “more”. Many of the volunteers that I have spoken with are looking for an opportunity to positively impact our world. The need to feel as though one has done something of meaning is a dominant factor for many of the volunteers. Whatever their reason, most will tell you that giving of one’s time not only impacts the organization and those that it serves, but the volunteer as well. When your efforts and thoughts are concentrated on helping others, it is hard to worry about yourself. Giving of self has way of bringing perspective to one’s life and place in the world. The conversion from name brand to generic is no longer important—and really was it ever? Instead thoughts of loss are replaced with those of thankfulness and inspiration—thankfulness for what one has and the inspiration to help others achieve their own goals and dreams.
While these past two years have meant changes for everyone, I am thankful for at least one aspect of these changes. I think that we have been forced to reassess our own values; what is truly most important and do we really need so much “stuff”? I would be lying if I said that I don’t want to have nice “things” or to be free of financial worries. None –the- less, I have been reminded that what is most important is, not what I don’t have, but what I do with what I have been given.