many people experience crises of faith. i suppose that i have undergone something similar, but religion has nothing to do with it... in my pursuit to become an architect, i always believed that good design - the foundation of architecture as i know it - had the potential to do great good, to inspire, to educate, and to make societies better for the presence of it. while i still believe this to be true of the theory of architecture, i find the practice of it to be something else entirely.

yes, i am young. yes, i am an idealist. yes, i am most-likely completely and utterly naïve... but i also have very deeply rooted ideals and principles and values that i am extremely committed to. while the last three years that i have spent working as an architect have been invaluable to me, i also find myself increasingly dissatisfied with the work that i am doing. i have met, in my endeavors and travels thus far, some of the most incredible people anyone could possibly hope to meet. i have made life-long and unbelievably fierce friends. while these are all wonderful blessings in my life that i am thankful for every day, i find myself conflicted because i am still working for selfish and self-serving people. i find myself conflicted because i am not doing anyone but my bosses any good.

my parents instilled the will in me to always be a better person and to constantly improve on myself; to feel and love without hesitation; to be loyal even if to a fault; to be thankful for everything and everyone; to have a love for learning; and, more importantly, they instilled in me the desire to put others before myself, to help when i can, to listen when someone needs to vent, and - most importantly - that 'being there' and trying anything and everything for others in need is the greatest privilege that any person can seek.

currently, i am trying to get myself in the mindset to go back to school and get my masters. while i love art and design, i simply cannot justify continuing on the path i am on anymore. this life is for a lot of people, but not for me. not anymore. i need to do something more in tune with my principles with my time here, and stressing myself out over meaningless deadlines and working for people who care for nothing but profit is not worthwhile for me. i do not mean to insult anyone for whom this life is satisfying and/or completely fulfilling... i am just saying that this is not the way that i want to live my life.

my visa to live and work in germany will expire at the end of july. at this time, i plan to head back to the u.s., take a little time to breathe, start emt training, and apply to every school that offers an urban design and sustainable development double-graduate program (columbia is top on my list at the moment). i hope to then enlist with the peace corps and start a life in international crisis and development aid. this work will most likely take me far from my family and my home again, but this work will be done in the service of others who need the time and attention of those of us who have a much easier life than they. i feel that this is my duty and will be my privilege - should i be given the honorable opportunity - as a human being.

i have begun to lose my faith in the inherent goodness of people in the last years... based on things done to me and - much more importantly - things done to those i care about. my father recently told me that in tough times, you will see the worst in people or the best in people. my only selfish aim in this new pursuit is that i will be surrounded by (and thus, inspired by) the best of people in the midst of the worst situations. i hope that my personal strength and my desire to be better and do better for others will only be improved in the service of those who need it the most.

a common question for those who pursue a life in international aid is, 'what are you running away from?' i can say, without question or the shadow of a doubt in my heart or mind, that i will be running to something and not away from anything. if i have the chance, for even one day... one minute... to help someone else, i consider it the greatest honor i could ever achieve. i can only hope to be there for others, the way so many people have unquestioningly been there for me. i can only hope for the chance to do good where good is needed the most.

it is with this goal that i move forward and in a refreshingly new direction.

with hope... always with hope.

1 comment:

Meghan Phillips said...

nat. i got chills when i read this. i'm so excited for you. i always knew you would do amazing things. you helped me out so much when we were both in the ville. i've always aspired to have a heart like yours. big and open and ready to take on the world. i wish i could be more like you. i love you homes.