(Disclaimer: This was written while on the plane – wifi was poor so posting a few days later! Read on…)
You know, the more I grow and travel along on this Why Should You Care journey, the more I feel like I am living in an incredible movie. Maybe it’s just me… but do you ever have those moments when you are watching some epic movie where you just feel all sorts of emotions? Whether feelings of empowerment, thrill, sadness, anxiety, confusion, happiness, or those that just send an unexplainable chill throughout your body..
Maybe that is just me, but I have been feeling a lot of those feelings in my life lately. And you know the crazy part? I remember growing up as a young girl, watching those movies, and thinking – I want to live like that. I want to do things that seem impossible. I want to stand for a cause that brings both excitement and shakes you to the core – all at the same time.
Take for example that last scene in Lord of the Rings (the final move in the trilogy) where Aragorn is about to enter into the final battle, trying to give Frodo the most time possible to destroy the ring, not even knowing if Frodo is still alive at the time. Now that scene in particular embodies many of the emotions I am talking about. I am sure that some of you reading this might be laughing or at least thinking I am some kind of crazy – but regardless, I am realizing that that type of inspiration isn’t just meant to be felt through movies or through stories.
It is meant to be lived.
With all of the good, the bad, the scary, the breathtaking, the thrilling, and the out of body feelings it brings.
I started Why Should You Care thinking it was going to be strictly focused on translating scientific published journal articles into a language that all can understand. Why did I do this? Well, because I truly believe it is important to connect with the world around us. Not just the parts that are easy to understand or that immediately interest us… But to have the opportunity to be a part of this world through knowledge – and to discover new things that interest you.
For example, I always have known that I love wildlife and that it has been my heart’s greatest desire to protect and inspire others to care about our animal friends… But for the longest time, I didn’t know what to do with that desire. It was like having a box full of matches with no candle to light… (quite frustrating actually). It wasn’t until I learned more specifically about the human-wildlife conflict while in graduate school that I knew exactly what I wanted to do within that passion – and the fire I wanted to light with those matches. BUT – had I not been educated, taken the chance, or held my matches tight – I would not be on this plane right now – on my way to South Africa to work with the Cheetah Outreach.
Most of us grow up being told that education Is important. And I’ll be honest, I sort of brushed this idea off during my younger years… Go to high school, then college, and get educated. That’s the process for most right?
But I did not believe in the power of education until it so kindly introduced me to my passion – and in return – to myself. You see, learning is important. All kinds of learning are crucial to the current and future of this planet. But education is more than just learning. Education is inspiration and empowerment. (Sometimes with an occasional side of – cool now that I know about that, what the hell can I do about it?)
My education lead me to what I believe will be my journey of a lifetime. I can’t tell you what I learned in calculus, what MLA format means exactly, or about every philosopher there is. But I can tell you that cumulatively, education is a blessing that is capable of touching each of us differently – if we give it the chance. A tool that can literally change someone’s world – if not THE world.
The more I realize this, the more it breaks my heart to think that others might not have the opportunity to be impacted like I have been from an education. And not only to be impacted, but to be inspired. To find their own matches and their own candle to light it with. Because having the fire is great, but fire without something to burn eventually goes out.
You see, I wasn’t looking for all that I am doing right now. I didn’t enter school thinking – I am going to create Why Should You Care one day and go to wildlife organizations and help them communicate with their audiences. But I kept accumulating matches. And once you’ve got a box full of matches – you gotta start using them.
So Why Should You Care is my candle. The wax of this candle is purpose. The wick is opportunity, and the matches to light it with are inspired education.
But as I said before, my original intent to create WSYC as an outlet to educate others about conservation specifically – has grown into much more. This candle has many layers that I don’t control. The wax on this baby doesn’t melt away like most candles when they burn.
The more it gets lit, the more there is to light.
Why Should You Care is all about how one girl’s educational birth has brought an ever growing purpose to her journey – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and educationally. WSYC is about showing others there is something in life to be excited about. To be curious about. To learn about. That gives you chills. And that can both bring you happiness and drive you up the wall at the same time. Because that’s what education does.
But I feel lead to bring a new layer to this WSYC candle of mine. While the focus is always and will always be wildlife conservation – I want to make it also about the entire journey getting there. About my journey, my feelings, my experiences, and how wildlife conservation has shaped me as a person (and how I hope it can shape you as well).
I am no expert, I can’t do everything, but while I am here I want to share with you and the world my journey. A journey to inspire others to not only care about wildlife, but to find whatever that thing is that makes them feel like they are living in an epic movie scene. Maybe it isn’t conservation or wildlife, but there is something – I guarantee it.
Not sure how to figure it out? Get inspired by education. That doesn’t mean just read books or attend lectures of some kind. Like I said, I am no genius, but here is my little recipe (or at least how it all unfolded for me) to help you find your candle:
Step out of the world you currently live in for a moment. Job, family, obligations, or beliefs of others – put them all aside for a moment.
What would you want to do when all that is put aside… Or what in this big world brings you curiosity, makes you want to know more, or has been something you’ve felt interested in but have never had the chance to look into?
What feelings do you get when you think of whatever that is? I bet its some excitement mixed with fear and a sense of – naw that could never happen… (No I am not psychic, but I am currently living in that similar state – so I get it.)
Once you have something in mind, just start getting educated bit by bit. Watch a short documentary, ask a friend what they know, google it, let your heart and mind tell you what to do next.
Now after all this – that doesn’t mean you must quit your job and throw your life’s obligations to the side. But what it does mean, is give this a chance… Go acquire some matches and let that candle find you – like it did me. Im giving my candle a chance, but that doesn’t mean I am not scared in the process. I have a job, obligations, and worries of my own. But what I am doing is giving it a chance. Let it teach you as you go.
For me, I want Why Should You Care to be about my journey as I pursue what I am passionate about. The good, the bad, the great, and the scary. Because when you have a lot of matches to light, you risk getting burned. But matches are meant to be used to ignite a flame. Flames are powerful in whatever representation they may take on – whether a flame of fear, of happiness of power, of help, or of adventure. But any burning flame brings light and to me that is better than remaining in unrealized darkness.
So, as I sit here on the plan somewhere over the continent of Africa… not knowing exactly what awaits me over the next two weeks… I want you to know that my candle is wildlife conservation – is Why Should You Care – is helping people have the opportunity to feel inspired and educated by wildlife.
But in the DNA of my candles is also the desire to remind people to find their own set of matches. To bring light to their world. And to figure out the rest along the way. Regardless, if I accomplish this or not, I have to let my matches burn. Burn in all of the epic movie emotions they may bring.
So even if you aren’t super stoked about wildlife conservation – follow me on this journey. i will give you some personal insights into life, my fears, my goals, and my faith that hopefully resonate with you – wherever you are at in life. Because as much as I believe my purpose is to work with animals – I also feel it is equally important that I use WSYC to keep things real in a world that tells us to follow the routine. I’m called to put it all out there, to explore, and to throw out matches for the taking.
So thank you for following me on this wildlife conservation, self-growth, God-given journey I am on. While I want to keep WSYC wildlife focused, I want to also make it an approachable and relatable platform for those interested in following that strange pull of whatever it is that is in their hearts.
WSYC is about discovering why you should care about wildlife conservation, why you should care about yourself, about education, and about why you should find your own damn candle to light.
So get inspired.