This post is written by Phil Johnson, LiveUp Philly volunteer!
2016 has provided us a laundry list of things to be sad about. That said, I find my resolve in the fundamental good nature of the world unshaken. It’s very difficult to be a part of something like LiveUp and not leave with an inherent understanding of the good nature within people – a layer of quiet, warm-hearted individuals with a pension for selflessness and a will to better something. If you’ve felt, in your search, that these people are hard to come by: might I suggest this great starting point.
You might start your first program, as I did in 2014, with a little knot it your stomach. It worries you are wholly unequipped for the role you’ve volunteered for. One beautiful aspect of the program is that, once it begins, you simply don’t have time for anxiety. You are responsible to another human being. If you stop to ponder how out-of-your-depth you might be, you’ll be late for the water-gun fight. Or perhaps it’s the genius of the program directors that you never truly feel that worry realized.
It’s about halfway through the weekend and you’ve forgotten about the knot because your face hurts too much. You don’t worry about your face or how unsustainable this amount of smiling is in the long term because you’ve stopped thinking about yourself so much—probably for the first time in a long time. You don’t think about things like paying rent or how you look. For the first time in a long time that great expanse of your day-to-day back in your big city now looks more like a bubble. Those little things you would worry over seem insignificant. You’re reminded how to be so excited about new little things—about dancing however you want to dance, about terrible jokes, about water-gun fights. You forget to be insecure because you’re not thinking about yourself.
I’m now back in my big city, listening to news, slowly reacclimating to my day-to-day—feeling those silly little insignificant things get bigger again and trying to slow it down.
No tragedy will make me forget the quiet, selfless people with their will to better something. Programs like this one happen to attract them in droves. I’ve met some of them (we’re friends now). I go back so that, if nothing else, I can learn to be more like them. I go back to set myself aside in service of someone else. I go back to be reminded about what is significant. I certainly go back for the water-gun fights.