Do you have $3? Do you have $3 in the bank? Do you have $3 in your pocket? When you think about $3 does it seem like a lot of money? Probably not because what can you really get for $3? Not much in the Bay Area. However for people living in extreme poverty $3 can be a life changer. Take it from the Against Malaria Foundation where only a $3 donation can protect 2 people from malaria for up to 4 years! You can read all about this great foundation and how you can donate on this website The Life You Can Save and while you're there checkout the other great ways you can give! Or just go straight to www.againstmalaria.com to checkout the current things the foundation is up to! It really doesn't take much to limit suffering. Sometimes only $3 can make a difference.
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give to the poor
Great organizations doing good things for the world. I want to write more about all the amazing charities that are out there and all the amazing things they are doing and how you can get involved.
The awesome thing about Oxfam is that they give you a bunch of things to support along with a bunch of ways to give! In one of my favorite books, The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer, it brings up Oxfam a lot. Oxfam can very specifically tell you exactly where your money is going and how it will be used. I strongly support their movement for clean water but they are doing so much more good in the world as well.
One of the unique things Oxfam offers is this feature called unwrapped. Unwrapped is a great way to give and encourage people to give as well. It takes the stress and emptiness out of gift giving. Essentially you can buy a donation in someone else's name as a gift for Birthday or Christmas or Wedding or whenever and Oxfam will send them a card telling them that they helped a village with clean water or gave a family 10 chickens or etcetera. Money you would have otherwise spent on something they would have never used or just given to them in cash is actually going to someone in need. To the extremely impoverished suffering daily.
Just check it out! A super unique way to give. https://www.oxfamamericaunwrapped.com/
I'm writing this because I like writing. I write just to write hoping you like reading just to read.
Last time I was in the meadow I chatted with Cedar about my quarter life crisis. Which he told me would never stop and that it was actually a life crisis. I'd have to agree with him. So let me tell you about my life crisis....
It all started back in March when I injured my achilles and was no longer able to run. Running is how I handle all of my problems and not having that outlet for my thoughts made me start thinking. My life was filled with negativity and no outlets to let go. So I ran away. I spent some time in Seattle, in the Valley, even in Canada and Alaska all of which temporarily relieved my inner suffering. I was deep in a crisis and traveling was clearly not going to fix it. Traveling however did fix my foot problem allowing me to "active" rest and heal quickly. Two and a half months and now all I'm left with is a giant lump of scar tissue. So I started running again hoping this would offer the solace that I was searching for. Instead I spent hours on my feet, alone with my thoughts breathing heavy (because I'm a bit out of shape) and thinking deeply about me about what it is that causes me to constantly feel in crisis mode unhappy and unstable. Here are the thoughts that lie at the center of my crisis.
I go through these waves of thinking I want stability and normality and routine. I want to settle down buy a house be with a consistent partner maybe have a kid. And then I flip and all I want is freedom and low commitment and excitement. I want to move into a van. Live in my office's parking lot bring my dog to work be in the mountains every weekend.
People tell me they're jealous think I'm living the life. But ever since I moved to the bay I've never felt so alone and empty. I hate this place I literally loathe everything the bay is about. But it's home and there's no better place for me to be right now so I'm here. And I love my job and I love the sierras. But I'm missing that overarching drive and passion towards an end goal. I have them in running and climbing but they come and go so quickly I feel lost.
What is it in life that gives life meaning. I've been searching and I haven't found it. The closest I've gotten is that it's the people it's about the people it's about having relationships with people it's about sharing experiences with people it's about having physical connections. Life means nothing if you're doing everything alone if you don't have people to celebrate in victories and mourn in losses. This revelation is why I hate the bay. I have no one here. I'll never have anyone here. I've lived here for over a year now. Nothings going to change without me changing. But I don't want to change maybe because I don't want to love the bay. I want to have one foot out the door be able to run to the mountains and never come back. It's that freedom the fear of becoming salty and stuck paying off debt. I'm so afraid of getting old and having done nothing meaningful with my life. I'm young. I'm very young. But the fear of becoming one year older and having made no difference in the world terrifies me. So much so that I lay awake at night.
I feel lonely I'm not sure why. I have friends and family but I'm empty. I'm a hollow shell of a person. Living from thrill to thrill one exciting adventure to another. My coping mechanism: running. I wake up at 3am lonely I go for run. Can't fall asleep at 11pm I run. I run till I'm numb. I'll run till the sun rises and I have to go to work. Alone again but not lonely. I never feel lonely on runs. I'm too trained to block out feelings when I run. Feelings and emotions are weakness. I'm not weak.
I want to help people. I want to help I want to feel needed to feel valuable. But not for something pointless like software engineer. I want to help the extremely impoverished. And giving just my money isn't enough. I want to physically help. I want to live simply and give everything that I am. My job allows me to take as much time as I want off of work. Just after three weeks I won't get paid anymore. If I live in a van and don't have to pay rent I can afford this. I can afford to take three or four or six months off of work a year and travel to the poor and help them. Am I crazy for wanting this? I've put myself in a position where I can do this. Should I not do it? I'd be selfish not to right? Or am I already selfish for wanting to help? Do I have ulterior motives selfish motives for wanting to help them? Selfishly wanting purpose and meaning in my life?
I guess I won't know until I try. So that's what I'm doing. Everything's in place with my job they're super supportive of my desires to help the poor and live in my van. Now I just need to find my purpose. Spending all my free time running and rock climbing only fills the void in my life for a short amount of time. Don't get me wrong I'm stoked on climbing and running but what happens when I climb El Cap then what? I feel excited and satisfied for a few hours maybe a week and then what? Then I have to climb something bigger or faster or harder. And who benefited from me climbing El Cap? No one but myself. How many impoverished people suffered while I climbed El Cap?... too many. I can't help but feel like most everything I do in my life is empty. I want meaning and purpose. I want companionship. I want to see and feel the pain of these people and the pure joy that erupts from their beings. I want to help them and by helping them they will in return help me. Because I'm selfish? Because I'm deeply disturbed? Because I live in the richest county in California. Because I ride a ferry every day with people who have more money than I ever will. Who own a house worth more than I can imagine. Who own a yacht and a big screen TV. Why? Because they were born in America. Where these luxuries are more important than the lives of the poor.
I'm not sure why I'm telling you all this but I am. Probably because I'm trying to reevaluate what I am beneath the crazy overly stoked Cuban most people see. When really I'm an emotionally distraught young woman running and climbing to temporarily fill the gaping hole in my life... I am a fool.
O and here's a photo of my van. His name is Gunther.