Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Seriously, Going the Distance
Wrapping it all up is a lot more awful then anything ever. I know that I’m not really saying good-bye to the village cause I’m moving 40k away (which is considerably less then my relative distance from you cats right now…). What I’m saying good-bye to is this footloose, easy going, self-motivated, self-directed lifestyle that I have come to embrace fully. What I’m about to walk into is a Monday through Friday 8-5. Yeah, I’m balls to the wall excited about the actual organization that I will be working for, sure I cannot wait to get er’ going, but I’m a damn liar if I don’t say that my heart feels pretty sad about leaving behind the “Margaret scheduled” life of yoga, dog walking, neighbor visiting and baby loving.
So, that’s what it all comes down to. The last 2 years of my life can be summed up by stretching, walking, talking and loving. Not an ounce of me feels disappointed in that. Reflecting back on my goals coming into Peace Corps, I have surpassed all of my own imposed expectations.
My goals before come to Peace Corps Tanzania were:
1- Become fluent in Swahili
2- Integrate myself into a community of rural Tanzanians
3- Guide ONE person in making informed decisions about their reproductive and sexual health.
Done, done, done
Here’s the catch. Peace Corps, with, “ Life is Calling, How Far Will You Go?”, “ What’s 27 Months?” And all of the other advertisement campaigns, is not just about your goals for yourself. It’s about the goals of the program for the volunteers in-country. It’s about the goals of the community in which you work and live. It’s about putting on a pretty face and making it all (the work, the pride, your own nationalism, and your newly found nationalism) look real damn good. Have I done that?
Eh, not so much.
And I feel not so great about it. A tad bitter. A touch tricked. Overall, I’m let down by my own inability to constantly save face and make this country look easy, and by my own lack of desire to fulfill the goals of the program that I was accepted into.
But I don’t want to do it their way. I don’t want to work for the man. I don’t think I can do it better then the man, or that I know more, or that I’m some sort of omni-God who just intrinsically knows what is going to work better then what they are telling me to do.
However, what I see is what I see. What I feel is what I feel. What I know is what I know and what I am driven to work for and towards is where I am going to direct my efforts. In the end my feelings of personal satisfaction in the arenas that I live and work in seem to make more sense then “paper satisfaction” for the policy makers, funding lobbyists, and movers and shakers in DC.
I’m fairly confident that makes me the antithesis of a Team Player, at least in this far-fetched grasp on my reality in the real world. I don’t really care. The team that I’m playing for is on a different continent, drinking Starbucks and having cold draft beers with their co-workers. I cannot justify their demands in my field of work when they are that far removed from everything I am doing, living, breathing, eating, drinking and experiencing. I would not expect someone in my position now to adhere to demands from me if I was sending them from the Mother Land…even though I have been here. “Having been here” and “Being Here” are not the same.
So, I’m not content in my output. I am not okay with my work effort. I do not feel adequate in what I’ve done here.
What am I going to do about it?
I’m going to buck up and DO something that I am Driven to Work for and that has Direction stemming from here, that is relevant for all of the people who I’m working side by side with. That is interesting. That is demanding. That makes clear cut sense from the word “Go.”
I’m ready to kick ass, take names, do it well, and walk away with my head held high. And STILL walk, talk, live and love as a means to accomplish goals set outside of my own.
An 8-5 doesn’t mean that I am finally doing something. It means that I have to show up. I don’t want to just show up. I want this to be amazing. And it will be.
And that’s the final word.