However I've learned to keep this particular struggle to myself.
It only prompts a phrase I've heard a thousand times in the last 4 months from people back home:
"You're doing so much more than the average person."
I appreciate the sentiment- which is undoubtably supposed to soothe my conscience- but there's just one little problem...
What in the world does that actually mean?
Not to be harsh, but it's a nonsense statement.
Who is the average person and what are they doing? What makes someone average anyway? Can you add together Superman and the lowest criminal, divide by two and somehow come up with a calculable Average Joe?
I don't believe in the average person.
We all have our part to play, and I vehemently disagree with the mindset that my role as a volunteer is somehow elevated above someone else's.
Is your 9 to 5 businessman the average person?
Or is it the middle-class stay at home mom?
Maybe it's kindergarten teachers.
Or a kid who grows up without a fuss, goes to a good college, gets a good job, marries with two kids and a dog and eventually retires.
Yet I know people who fit all of those descriptions and not one of them is someone I could label "average."
Besides, I wouldn't be the person I am - doing what I'm doing and living where I'm living- if it weren't for all those people and the effect of their various roles on my life. And someday, I might be one of them myself. You can't be a volunteer forever after all (...Or can you? Hmm...)The minute I sit down and convince myself that "Why yes, I have been doing so much more than the average person. I've finally stored up enough credit that I can take it easy", I've begun undermining what I came here to do. I've planted the seed of apathy into my work.
And I'll admit it- I'm biased when it comes to this issue:
I hate apathy more than almost anything else in the world.
But even if you're still sitting there rolling your eyes, there's not much doubt that an apathetic volunteer has no use except as an oxymoron.