When I was younger, I was told that I could do anything I wanted; that I could be anything I wanted to be, that I could achieve anything I wanted to achieve. Growing up as a white female in Britain certainly afforded me the privilege on paper. I grew up in a lower-middle-class area. My parents were very supportive. I remember studying for my GCSE’s and there being a lot of talk about career paths and this concept that I couldn’t really get my head round called “The Future”. I was asked a lot about what I wanted to be. I had no idea. I was told I could be anything but I knew deep down that was bullshit. I knew that there were factors that would limit my opportunities. The only way I felt that statement could be true, is if I were someone else. If I was super intelligent, confident, athletic, rich, male. I felt like, as nice a statement as it was, I couldn’t be anything I wanted to be.
If I’m honest, I felt average. I knew I wasn’t stupid but I also knew I would never be the astronaut I wanted to be as a child. I now realise that a lot of people feel average. It’s not that I’m not confident, or that I don’t have decent levels of self-esteem, I do, I just feel like how could little old me really be one of those people who do something amazing? How could I be one of those people who literally have an idea and make it happen? It’s not that simple, surely?
As I mentioned in What happened to playing? I spent the last month travelling the country as part of The Big Walk and during that time, visited over 30 community projects. These are ordinary people, doing ordinary things that actually have an extraordinary impact. One example is The Friendly Bench in Leicestershire. It’s literally a big bench, with planting that has been built in an area where there are lots of older people. Everyone knows that if you sit on the bench, you’re open to talking. In a time when older people are more and more isolated, it’s bloody genius. Every project we visited was a simple idea made possible by someone who just thought “Why not?”
I came back from this journey, and for the first time ever, I truly believe I CAN do anything I want to, I CAN achieve anything I want to achieve and that belief is so strong because I’ve seen examples of it all across the UK! I’ve seen people with fewer resources and connections than I’m lucky enough to have, completely change the lives of people in their community. I’ve seen that the “little man” holds a great deal of power. You don’t need to be the CEO of Google or the President of the United States to actually make shit happen. If anything, it’s better that you’re not. Us ordinary, “average” people are quietly revolutionising our lives and the lives of people around us. If you don’t believe me, visit your local community centre, find out about your local charity, wander up to your local allotment, step into your local gallery or museum. These changemakers are everywhere and they’re proving that we can all achieve anything we put our energies towards.
So, what do I want to achieve? Well, the next big thing is under wraps for the time being but I promise to reference this blog once it’s happened – which, of course, it will! 😉 (As per The law of attraction)
More importantly, what are you going to do?