Dear Younger Me who Wanted to Change the World,
You will, I promise.
It won’t be how you thought it would be – maybe you won’t work for a non-profit, or be part of a big team trying to make things better, or even help make tv commercials a little more honest and impactful (yes, I remember that was a huge goal for a long time). Maybe you won’t have a big career that keeps a roof over your head AND helps someone else keep a roof over theirs. You probably won’t make a big change that puts the attention on you – let’s be honest, that’s always been a nightmare for you and was never the goal anyway. All you ever cared about was that your actions were seen, heard and felt in the most helpful way. Recognition wasn’t the goal, helping was.
But don’t worry, you will change the world - one interaction at a time. It will take a lot of years but trust me, “Future You” will realize that big change can come with small actions. Every time you use your skills and talents to support business owners in their goals by making calls, managing their time, sending out invoices (and getting them paid), or figuring out new software - you’ve changed their world. Every artist you’ve clapped for, listened to, updated websites for, organized files for - their world has been impacted. Even small conversations you’ve had with cashiers, customers, fellow dog-walkers, friends and family – they may have all created a tiny bit of positive change. Your efforts help their efforts and because you’ve aligned yourself with good people, and supported them in doing good things, you’re part of a chain of improvements in the world.
Think about your conversation with a local potter (Blu Stoneware, maker of my new favourite mug pictured below), this past weekend. Letting her know that you got on your bike on a Saturday morning and came to the market just to see her and to buy some of her one-of-a-kind works of art – it made her smile, gave her encouragement, made her feel special (because she is), and might’ve changed her day, her week, or her goals. It changed the world in one small way. Yes, it also caused some serious thigh pain that night because it was your first bike ride in well over a year, but it was worth it.
You’ve provided a home and love to dogs who didn’t have it. You’ve shared your words to help yourself see clearly and hopefully to help just one other person shift their perspective as well. You’ve shared your art to make sometimes dark parts of the world (hello social media), just a little prettier. You try to remember to smile at strangers, a tricky task when you are more than a little awkward.
And let’s not forget you’re a pretty good wife and mother. That’s right, you’re raising two kids! You’re supporting your family in every way you can. Encouraging them in their dreams, listening to their struggles (probably providing more advice than you should and definitely more than they asked for), and doing your best to keep everyone emotionally and physically healthy. They are going to change the world too. In small ways or big ways. Partially because of you.
Change your perspective “Younger Me” - because it doesn’t take a grand gesture or a big career to change the world. All it takes is kindness.