Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Chips are Falling and the Dice are Rolling and...?

Like sobriety to a Frank I once knew, frankness is not a common trait here. Tonight is special, I guess, for I am writing this prior to heavily discussing the topic with those who normally set my path straight if not True.

Over the past several days I've been pondering and plotting my Next Move, and unexpectedly stumbled upon the slow realization that I'm really tired. Tired of The Fight in its current form. Tired of mixed fruit shisha dancing around the room during the all-too-common nights of not relaxation but reflection and constant but questionable revolution. Tired of the venues through which I'm trying to leave my mark. Tired of the friction and anguish and resigned sighs of hills never quite completed and races never quite finished.

I, like many before, during, and after my time, poured my heart, soul, and life into AIESEC. At this point such a statement refrains a broken record.

Oft proclaimed but not oft maintained.

And therein lies a problem. It would seem our 4 years of college and for some the first 2 - 3 years of Life After exist as the only legitimate time to make our marks in this Quest. That period of life seems to be the only period where Peace and sweat and tears roll together and are fucking worth it.

The Chancellor hands over your diploma of triumph just before you accept your dimploma of defeat. And then you leave.

I tried, but now I got houses to buy, cars to drive, and oh yeah the sushi will be here at five and tee time got switched to seven.

Honestly, where are the change agents? Who in your network would you note as someone making or seriously trying to make a worthwhile change? I count nary but a small, miniscule few in mine. This saddens me.

It's a travesty in its own right, but my point lies not here (that is for another day perhaps), because amidst this mass of faded farce of potential lies a small crop who continue fighting, just as many of us once fought. They choose their venues and sweat just as we once sweat, making a Mark on their corner of the world. Kudos.

That's not my point either, because there is one more group, albeit even smaller. It's a group that does not choose to move on or change venues, but instead stay right the fuck here on the front lines, where it all began and all too often ends.

It is this small (small should not be confused with exclusive or elite) group in which I call myself part, and it is through this experience that I've noticed a few things. While I am sort of still there, I am mostly not, and as I once noted, sometimes you have to leave in order to fully grasp a place or thing you feel a part.


It is an interesting thing; admitting defeat.

And in a way, I feel myself slowly, in a way, doing it.

AIESEC may not be the proper conduit for my energy, aspirations, and attempts at making this world more beautiful for my and your children.

It is not a defeat per se, but in my heart it feels the same. Beautiful, essential blessings of the organization happen to also be atrocious, terrible curses. You can't sprint when you've got cinder blocks tied to your ankles. Throughout my time entrenched in AIESEC, my vision never ended with graduation, and that didn't change until the very recent days as streams became rivers and rivers became cesspools of emotion and revelation.

It was not long ago I entertained ideas of Board participation, continual mentorship, or tertiary levels of contribution. But it may be time to scale back my dreaming, cut through these illusions of grandeur and face reality for what it is. I simply don't think I can do through AIESEC what I want to see done.

And so perhaps all those others were on the right route, if the wrong track. Perhaps I must leave my AIESEC time for what it was, and move on. There's plenty, some may say too much opportunity to make a mark. For the time being, I think I will explore as I've never explored before. Where else can I entrench, get my hands dirty, and leave the cinder blocks behind? It's a question I've never considered before, and now must, for my own sake.

This is not to say I withdraw from the Quest or that I foresee zero dances with the organization. Far from that. But this is to say I may scale back the currently substantial portion of my brain it resides in. There is still much to love; humans to push, pull, and infuriate; and Dreams to live.

This is also not to say I do not believe in the organization. It serves a noble, crucial purpose (for which it fairs OK, but not great - producing skills, philosophies, and drives of True Shakers).

If you are in AIESEC, stay the fuck right there.

But given my current life stage, I cannot affirm my own following of that order in a literal sense. People like myself and others greater than I were not planned for, nor really precedented. There are no flow charts created for people like us, administratively outside, but mentally inside with You.

I am not withdrawing, neither literally nor metaphorically. On the contrary, I'm looking to better dig in, maintain and magnify. I had envisioned my personal quest as an ecosystem comprised of myself, my end goals, and a conduit. I thought AIESEC would be that conduit, but I am now doubting it. Hence, this may require change. And that, ironic as it is, is an interesting, scary, and sobering proposition.



Blogger Official Extension of AIESEC to Oman said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Katy said...

You write beautifully.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Mix said...

You must be referencing:

If you are in AIESEC, stay the fuck right there.

11:33 PM  
Blogger Greg D said...

So you’ve reached a crossroads? Is it not possible that the agents of change that you remember so fondly of have been reabsorbed into a society? This is not necessarily bad. AIESEC engendered those to act within a current set of ideals. Yes, there is the last vestige from each group that remains inherently drawn to the organization. They continue it, inspire those that follow within it, build it.

That said, of course AIESEC is not right for everybody. Not even you. Every person is caught in the constant tidal force between individuality and collectivism. Any group is constructed from the common set of ideals of its own population. That population is, in turn, affected by ideals. In this way, we pass down the fights we want to fight to future generations. Of course, you’ve known about all this. Deep down, we all knew that AIESEC is not indefatigable.

To be a true agent of change is to move outside the organization; to move in our own individual directions; to shape the world within our own bounds. And hopefully, eventually, every person who moves towards that common goal reaches that end point of their lives and lo: those that once embarked with them in the beginning are there again at the end. I don’t know what I am really trying to say here. Maybe that it is only natural to come to this subtle realization. Maybe that is right that you did so. Maybe I am saying that a true agent of change becomes cognizant of the necessity to leave AIESEC with the skills, ideals, networks and concepts he or she is given.

I don’t know what the world has in store for you, but you’ve shown the tenacity and passion of someone true to his word. And no matter what, you can look back at the memories that tempered this unyielding will of yours and take comfort that there are people out there, like you, trying to move the world towards a better future.



12:27 AM  
Blogger acs said...

Two semicolons out of three isn't too bad. :)

3:55 AM  
Blogger Kleinsies said...

I think you got it right...the idea isn't that you're leaving or forgetting or even saying 'fuck off' to this great organization. Its not even about growing up. Its about knowing the impact you want to make on the world and using the best possible means to get there. Its about making your self the best possible thing you can be. That requires diversity...including diversity of experience. You can't have that by staying in one single organization, no more than you can get diversity of experience living in Journal Square for your whole life, but never leaving the country.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Irene said...

Beautiful post, something to reflect and ponder upon. I would never be able to put it into words like you did. Thanks for the reality check.

8:25 PM  

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