Redefining Work & Following Life's Purpose
By Paris Faas |Palomino, Colombia
"From the other side of the world, there were whispers of me wasting time and an overall feeling of oppression from culture trying to put me back in its box."
My whole life I was told to finish school, enter college, get a masters, find a good job, get married, have kids, and make lots of money. That idea is woven into our culture, seeping out of our movies, our books, our very own mouths. As I grew older, I began listening to my heart a little closer than culture and ended up traveling on and off for long periods of time through South America. From the other side of the world, there were whispers of me wasting time and an overall feeling of oppression from culture trying to put me back in its box.
Since I wasn’t furthering my professional education for another degree or earning lots of money, for some reason, meant I wasn’t successful. However, looking back, I see myself doing more work now than I would in a full-time job. Volunteering and being part of different communities all over the world gives me confidence as I do things I never thought I could, humility as I am always asking for help, understanding as I am always being misunderstood, adaptability as I change places and often learn new skills, and compassion as I have more time to act on the love in my heart. Because of it all, I feel such a deeper sense of self and direction. How could I see this as anything less than success?
So where does shame fit in? It shouldn’t, right? And what do we do from here?
To truly change the world we have to change our perspective. To start, I want to redefine three words: success, work, and job. Success has often been seen and defined through money. Within this lens we are selling ourselves so short.
"Success for me is being excited about what you do..."
Success for me is being excited about what you do, living a life you are proud of, and striving to be the best version of yourself, which will always look different for everyone and so comparison has no place here. Work and job are often used as one of the same, but my favorite definition of these two words comes from my favorite author Matthew Fox. He says that a job gives you a paycheck and work is your calling. He also says we should be asking ourselves two questions: 1. Is this something you love doing? 2. How are you using that passion to give back to work towards a better world?
Imagine a world in which everyone is giving something they love to their communities in a way that spreads happiness. I believe we would work harder, love sweeter and connect to each other more. That is a world I want to work towards.
Paris is catalyzing courage in Riohacha, Colombia in La Guajira, working with Wayuu indigenous women with a nonprofit called Talento Colectivo. She is helping to make profiles for each woman by taking photos of the products they make for the nonprofit's website along with occasional Spanish or science classes for their children. She has been traveling around South America for 7 months and plans to stay for another 7. You can follow her adventures through her blog or her IG @pearis4.
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