This has been a busy week.  In the last few days I’ve changed my life trajectory three times.  I was planning on being a missionary, but realized that my personality and skill-set didn’t align with that sort of thing.  Then I thought I’d serve the needy all over the world, mostly focusing on the poor and orphaned.  I figured I’d need a location-independent marketable skill in order to sustain that type of lifestyle, so I started looking into IT and cyber-security.

After a few days of researching the necessary certifications, tests, programming languages, and degrees I’d need to become a certified ethical hacker and work in the cyber-security field, I changed my mind again.  That potential course was more complicated and difficult than I’d hoped.  I’d have to reinvent myself and all my qualifications to get it, and cyber-security wasn’t as location-independent as I had hoped.  It would have afforded me a well paid, comfortable life in the US, but that isn’t the goal.

At this point, I got back to International Development Management.  It would be better for me to find a sustainable way to help people, which is what I really want to do.  So here we are, many hours of research later, and I think I’ll start working on a few credentials.

First, I’ll take advantage of the free web-based Disaster Response training that the American Red Cross offers.  Simple stuff, entry level, but it’s free and it will help me decide if I want to invest more in this sort of thing.

Then, I’ll try to learn French.  The current dream is to work for the UN, and French is their secondary operating language after English.  It would open doors and make me more useful in more places around the world.

Next, I’ll get going on an MSc from Open University.  It’s a three year program which costs about $25,000 and 15 hours every week.  This one scares me.  I don’t have that money so I’ll have to re-appropriate some of what’s paying my existing loans.  I don’t have that time so I’ll have to fill my weekends and some evenings with coursework.  However, three years from now I could be out of debt with an MSc in Development Management, I could know French as comprehensively as Rosetta Stone can teach me, and I could be useful in a Disaster Management position overseas.  Which would be amazing.

Right now, I’m just trying to keep calm about the expensive and difficult road ahead of me.  Since this is what I want to do with my life, I should be able to handle it.  But I guess we’ll find out.

Stay tuned next week for when my entire life plan changes again!


Give Because it Hurts

I am not a giving person.  But, hopefully I’m not selfish all the time.  Over the years I’ve done a few service projects.  I once volunteered at an orphanage in Kingston, Jamaica and also helped build houses in New Orleans, Louisiana after hurricane Katrina.  I tend to do best with singular large efforts, it’s the ongoing day to day giving that I find particularly difficult.

My family has been packing boxes with food at Manna Food Center once a month for years now.  We meet up with 12-15 other strangers and pack lots of donated and government packaged foodstuffs into family-sized boxes.  We then seal and stack the boxes onto warehouse pallets.  Which are then distributed to the needy in the community.  Initially, it was a convenient way for me to get my required community service hours, especially since it is indoors.  Now that this service doesn’t benefit me in any tangible way, I am less motivated to sacrifice two hours of my life.

Each time, I really don’t want to go.  I have things to do, articles to read, posts to write, TV to watch, YouTube to catch up with, and so many other activities that absolutely need to happen.  I’ve mentioned before how I have too much to do and never enough time in which to do it.  It’s usually at this point in my thought process, when I’m mired in a bog of first world problems that I have a realization: Am I too caught up with my entertainment needs to give just two hours of my time, once a month to help those in need?  I never really want to go, but afterwards, I’m glad I did.  At about that time I remember why I still volunteer on occasion.  Service helps give me perspective, it costs me so little but can help others so much more.  And of course, if my creditors ever catch up with me and rob me blind, I’d appreciate it if someone else would help me out.

Give Because it Hurts