August 26, 2012 § 1 Comment

I bailed on my first volunteer post, and I’m about to do it again. I can’t write this off as a fluke. Something’s wrong, though not necessarily with me.

Oh, don’t think I haven’t mulled it over. I try not to dwell on the past. But I can’t tell a lie. I do sometimes.

I’ve asked myself a whole lot of questions these last few weeks:

Why didn’t my first two volunteer posts work out? Was I too impatient? Did I have the wrong attitude? Should I have stuck around, given it a little more time? 

I try not to doubt myself or others. I understand that this is primarily a matter of fit. I haven’t found a suitable volunteer opportunity for me. I know I’ll find the right kind of work and, more important, the right kind of people one of these days. I’m not ready to give up.

When I struggled with the decision to depart Sweden early, I called one of the most rational people I know: my father. My father advised me not expect to find fulfillment in work. Only a small fraction of individuals find their work genuinely fulfilling. Fulfillment often lies beyond work, usually in the guise of hobbies and “secret” passions or talents. The sorts things we’d all rather be doing.

Then he said something that just about killed me. In a good way.

Fulfillment shouldn’t just come from beyond work. It should come from within.

I’m not quite there yet. I don’t think I will be for a long time. I’m not worried. One of the reasons I’m traveling is to learn more about myself. This includes figuring out what brings me fulfillment in life.

I can’t say that I’ll reach a definite conclusion during my travels. But I think I’ll gain a clearer idea as I move on. Perhaps then my volunteer experiences will improve.


§ One Response to Fulfillment

  • Your dad is wise. This is about the journey Emma and you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing…taking in the experiences. Thinking about them, pondering them and moving on to more is what it’s all about. Enjoy Sweden until you leave for France! You’ll be interested to know that the NY Times had an article yesterday about how expensive Scandinavia is — they also said has some of the more beautiful vistas of all the world. Lucky you!

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