“This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often.” ~ From the Holstee Manifesto.
They say that the secret to wealth is to find something you enjoy doing, and then get paid for doing it. Perhaps the secret to happiness is doing that which you enjoy, with or without payment. I have always joked that I loved being a nurse, but that I hate healthcare. Somehow, the business of healthcare makes the priorities financial instead of humanistic. And for those who got into the field of healthcare because they wanted to make a difference in someone’s life, there may be a conflict.
But I always loved what I did, and the same is true for me now in teaching. I have also gained great pleasure from going back to school. The act of broadening the mind to new information, to challenge the brain to analyze and synthesize helps to keep the neurons firing and the heart beating.
So what do I do for fun you may ask? I find more work to do! Is it because I belong to the Baby Boomer generation? Or perhaps because of my upbringing? Is it the Jamaican culture? Who can forget the TV show In Living Color that made fun of the way every Jamaican has two, three or more jobs? Perhaps it is the thought that the devil finds work for idle hands, but something drives me (and many others) to fill my ‘spare’ time with even more activities.
Last week I was on vacation from work, and this coincided beautifully with the lead up week to our annual Labor Day weekend of fund-raising and fun-filled events. So each day I was on the road, finalizing some aspect of the last minute details. I am blessed to be a part of a hard-working group of like-minded individuals who sacrifice their free time for the sake of our organization. Each year, as we get closer to the weekend we ask ourselves why we do this. As the days count down, and the stress level rises, we wonder if the effort is worth it.
And then the weekend is upon us. Friends descend from near and far, from New York and Canada; from Seattle and New Mexico; from Jamaica and Ocala; and other places too numerous to mention, and the weekend is underway. Despite the challenges of economic hardships, of underemployment and unemployment, people took time and money to join us for our celebration and fund-raising events. Due to their generosity, we will be able to send scholarships to students in Jamaica; make a donation to Food for the Poor, and help to improve the life of one particularly challenged student (more on that to follow!).
As we reflect on the richness of our lives: the friends we can call on, the pleasure that we get in spending time with people who have known us since we were very young, we can feel blessed indeed to be able to depend on everyone’s support. And even though it may take a toll physically and mentally, the response we get each year gives us the strength to gird up our loins and get ready to do it all over again next year!
They say that in Trinidad there are only two seasons: Carnival, and before Carnival. For the South Florida Chapter of the Clarendon College Alumni Association, we are already in the ‘before Labor Day 2014’ mode! Like a mother gazing at her newborn, I have been scrolling through the many photographs posted on facebook of people who genuinely enjoy each other’s company. Our fundraising weekend becomes this opportunity for longtime friends to reinvigorate and reenergize as they reminisce about their school days, and reconnect with the memories of their youth.
On this, the weekend after (or 51 weekends before the next!), I hope that everyone is able to spend time doing that which they love. I hope that you are able to reconnect with something that brings you joy and happiness, for that happiness is infectious, and it will inspire others to change their lives. And if you want to know what happiness is, it is a row of ladies who are sweating in a South Florida summer, serving food to hundreds of guests, while dancing to the music of the Deejay. Ladies, you rock!
I thank everyone who participated in any way for their support, and I look forward to many more events in the future (but can I please get a little nap now to get ready?). Have a great weekend Family!