Beyonce performed “I was here” at the United Nations World Humanitarian Day, and let me tell you, this is one of those rare songs that gave me the chills AND made me tear at the same time. Click on the play button and you’ll see what I mean.
The song has since received 4 million hits, and it was put on Youtube a mere 10 days ago. It reminded me of the very simple fact that every one of us has the ability to create change, be the change and contribute towards a better world. Even in the smallest gesture.
But more importantly, and oddly enough, this song brought forth all the things that I forgotten from my early 20s. The desperate wanting of achieving something important, doing something remarkable and meaningful, and the yearning to have a direct association with the United Nations as my employer. Yes, almost everybody who is involved in the international development and non-profit work knows the breadth of influence United Nations has these days is questionable. Gone were the days when Kofi Annan would deliver a convincing speech, and developed nations would willingly join forces towards peace. Heck, even Kofi Annan can’t seem to stop the Syrian conflict these days. Ask the general bystander if they know who Ban Ki Moon might be, and a blank look will follow suit.
Still, you cannot deny the awesome feeling that entails (or maybe it’s just me, nevermind, let’s just pretend you know that awesome feeling I’m talking about) when you answer that all too familiar small talk question – “Where do you work?” or “What do you do for a living?” with “I’m a programme officer for [insert any one of the UN bodies here]”
I remembered a time when my attempts to get one foot into the UN door kept failing. And a heart-to-heart conversation with one of my mentors made me realise that getting into the UN was the ultimate for me. Sure it was a goal, but it should never be viewed as a Point B, the be all and end all of everything else. So what if you are not in United Nations, or you don’t work in the office that manage Global Fund and Bono is on your speed dial? That does not mean you can’t make the life of a single mother in your town happy by dropping in for a chat, or the child esteem a little better by helping him/her with their homework.
S, my lovely boss and mentor who cried and sobbed through her farewell speech for me when I left 2 years ago once told me “It is how you feel about yourself on your deathbed that matters. Before you leave this world, you want to feel like you have given your everything to have a life that you are proud of leaving behind”
I was here,
I lived, I loved
I was here,
I did, I’ve done everything that I wanted
Nevermind that you have had heart breaks, disappointment, and a lot of people saying “No” to you. You might not be helping to provide clean sanitary drinking water to the children in India today, but that does not mean that you will not ever do so in this lifetime. Nevermind the tears and the frustration that sometimes follow a burning ambition that is not quite met. It does not mean that it will never be met. The very fact that you are here today, right here, right now, allows you the power to do something about it. To do everything that you have ever wanted, and to do it with all your heart.