Goals, Glamorous Ideas and Reality

27 08 2010

I used to say that I was interested in development projects in Africa, specifically those surrounding access to food and water sources.  Jay regularly challenged me as to whether I was actually interested in the field or just the idea of it, as – during my consulting days and even afterward – I did not read up on the subject or learn about how to get involved. I conceded that my draw toward Africa may have been less substantive than I originally thought (Africa gets a lot of development press and aid to the continent is viewed as an almost glamorous cause), but I countered that the topic of making sure that people are fed was very important to me.  But then why haven’t I become involved in the field yet?

On a diametrically different note, I want to be able to sing well and perform basic gymnastics stunts like walking on my hands.  Though I have the time out here in the parks to work on my singing and practice fifty handstands each day, I am not inclined to do these activities by myself and haven’t worked on them much at all.  So if I won’t or haven’t put time toward my goals, how much do I want them at all?

Part of me wonders if my lack of practice is due to the fact that I am a social do-er and a social learner (and am less motivated by solo activities), or if I am just more enamored by the idea of these things than by working toward them.  In the case of singing and gymnastics, I do think that it’s a solo vs. group thing as I would sign up for an intense gymnastics program in a minute and would splurge on voice lessons should the situation arise.

Devoting myself to social service work is a trickier situation to dissect.  I am just beginning a nomadic phase of my life where it will be difficult to make a lasting and positive impact on any particular community.  But – even if/when I return to New York – it seems difficult to find a project that does meaningful work, offers a fantastic quality of life and could use my skills for a position that I would enjoy.  I know that I can build kick-ass spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. I can speak in public, strategize, fundraise, whatever.  But even if this ultimately helps people, I can’t see myself enjoying this work on a day to day basis.  Another conversation for another time.

Back to tinier questions, I’m going to go practice some voice now.  And maybe even do a handstand or two.  🙂

posted by amybetho

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2 responses

5 09 2010
Laura B

Hey Amy!!
If you’re interested in just exploring African development work, I would love to talk to you about the stuff I’m doing with my legal clinic… even if celebrities are getting involved in development in Africa and it’s a “glamorous cause,” they could definitely use more hands. I’m going to Ghana in November – when you get back to NYC I’ll tell you all about it 🙂
Hope you’re having fun!
-Laura

14 09 2010
amybetho

Hey Laura! I’m always up for opening an ear and learning about interesting things. I’m coming to NY for a week in early October and would love to meet up if you’re free. Let me know what works. 🙂

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