I recently read an article that stopped me in my tracks. In it, Piers Fawkes states that “the result of everything you do today will last forever.”
“When our great, great grandchildren finally work out how to solve the selfish errors of our time, we will be considered primitive: our balance with our habitat ignored in pursuit of progress. But as humans we strive for progress. We will not live alone self sufficiently on our rural hectare and therefore we must bring simple common sense to everything we buy, own and consume.” The article goes on to discuss reusing and recycling our daily products, but I couldn’t help but think about impact; not in quantitative way, but in the qualitative way we spend our days, our nights and even our years. Am I creating something that will last forever that I can be proud of?
For most of my life, I studied music. I spent years taking piano & voice lessons, studying ear training & music theory, and eventually agonizing over writing four-part counterpoint and memorizing Vivaldi and Chopin. When people asked me what I was going to do with a degree in music – and everyone asked – I honestly wasn’t sure. I’m still not sure where that fits into the grand scheme of things. But if you asked me why I studied music and what I loved about music, that was easy. I could give you an ever growing list of reasons. But in light of thinking about forever, I found another reason. I love that artists can create something that lasts forever. Even terrible musicians are capable of creating something that will physically last in this world forever, but great artists, true artists, create records that can be rearranged, remixed, and passed between generations to be listened to and loved by multitudes of people – forever.
Somewhere along the line, my goals and passions changed. Music will always be an important part of my life, but I want my vocation to be something different, something bigger. While I know that I want to make a difference in this world, I often feel like that is too big of an end goal that I’ll never be able to reach. In my day-to-day tasks and responsibilities it’s hard to remember that what I am doing today will last forever. Without a tangible product, I get frustrated that I’m not accomplishing anything. But all it takes is a shift in perspective. Making a difference won’t just happen someday, it’s happening right now. We are doing it.
The fellowship program means different things to all of us, but most of us are just trying to figure out where we fit into the movement and how we can use our skills moving forward. Time is quickly creeping up on us and we’re a little stressed out about what’s coming next, and sometimes I get lost in those next steps. But I want to take a moment to step back and look at what we’ve done so far and how far we’ve come. I’m so proud of and impressed by the other fellows. We have all dedicated six months of our lives to work for a cause and an organization we believe in. Some of us quit our jobs, some of us moved across country, some of us had to work two jobs to make ends meet- we’ve all made sacrifices in our own ways. But we are all here. And what we are doing today, right now, is making a lasting impact. Our projects might fail, or we might have to pivot and rethink a program we’ve put hours into – but we’re willing to do that. The entire Not For Sale staff is willing to do that, because at the end of the day we are creating something that we are proud of. We intend to end slavery in our lifetime, and when I look at the passion and dedication of my coworkers, I think it just might happen.