Understanding Me

Here’s a piece of me. So I was talking to my parents a couple of weeks ago and they were complaining about my passion for volunteering or, how they call it: “working for free”.

You see, back in my childhood, when I was going through middle school, I wasn’t at all the kid you could be proud of. I had a massive collection of low grades. I was introverted, bullied and called all sorts of things.  I hated school at its core. So I ditched a major part of the 5th and the 6th year, I missed more that 30% of each semester, without my parents knowing. I was a mess!

The sun started to shine on my street with the end of the sixth grade and the years after. Somehow I woke up from whatever I went through and I became better and better. Yet, at the end of the 8th grade, I didn’t pass an important exam. Which was practically the end of my education. No high school, no college. No dreams!

So of course, my parents signed me up in a low education system, in a school I never heard of and a class of kids who could barely read. My parents were ashamed of me so they hid everything they could from the rest of the family. I lost my dignity and all my friends. Who would hang out with a looser like me, right? I ended up alone, with a self-esteem of an omelet. I felt like I was a burden to all.

I hit the bottom!

But I picked up all my pieces short time after and built a new foundation, without masks. I accepted myself, the way I was and took anything the universe threw at me. I started school, didn’t miss a class and had nothing but high grades. Short time after I become class president and school representative. Then, after one year, I took the exam again and passed it. I said yes to any opportunity, I went out of my comfort zone and this is how I discovered the world of volunteering. I worked my ass of so I could get a second chance. So I could feel important and show the world that I deserved that second chance!

I went through dozens of projects in high school.  From small presentations to cleaning the streets of my city. I learned how to be responsible, how to understand and work with other kids. And most of all, I learned to easily accept the new and adapt to it. I had friends in every part of the city, everybody liked me and enjoyed spending time with me thanks to my ambition and energy.  Even more! I traveled abroad for the first time, by plane, to Italy and for free. Plus, made friends from every European country, and all these thanks to being a volunteer.

Look at me today: I finished college, I studied abroad, I write and create my own projects. I have friends from every corner of the world, I have a job and every now and then I get to travel for free, to be part of something that resolves an issue in a community, a country and perhaps one day, the whole world! I get to know wonderful people just like you everyday, to learn new things and create amazing memories.

Tell me, was I really working for free? Cause I feel like I’m working for me, to become a better me, a new me. All the time!

My life, this whole transformation is thanks to being a volunteer and the people who believed in me, encouraged me and pushed me to be better. For saying yes to things, for having the guts to get out of the comfort zone and accepting what the universe is giving. And I am damn grateful for that! Truly thankful for everything I have, and hope that one day I’ll be able to repay the world! For giving me this second chance. To leave something behind, to change the world. So open your ears and listen: It’s never too late and there’s always a second chance. For me, for you, for anyone. Now is the perfect time to grab it!

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5 thoughts on “Understanding Me

  1. Someone in my past told me that volunteering (Lecturi Urbane) was “work for free”. I loved it, I grew a lot and also helped me make a lot connections. I think, though, that there needs to be an equilibrium between the volunteer work you do and the work which brings money (after all, we all need to pay bills unless someone else pays for them, no?). I still do volunteer work but …for my projects only (blogs and walking tour).

    1. I started volunteering in 2005 and since then I’m living a challenging and very happy life. It’s true what you said. At one point you have to pay the bills and free time gets tricky. changing its definitions every year. In the present I still volunteer and for sure I’ll keep doing it for the rest of my life. Yet, nowadays I focus only on my an my friends’ projects or the ones that are worth my attention. 🙂

      1. Been paying my bills since 2002 🙂 but also freelanced since 1999 and volunteered in 2010-2012. Still my free time is pretty much nonexistent so I am glad I have time to invest in stuff I love but doesn’t make money (so yes, sort of volunteering LOL). Keep up the good work!

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