Being a VISTA really has its perks, let me tell ya! Not only is Poverty your theme through living under 10K a year salary, crazy workloads charged with creating hope, opportunity, and change, but also it has to all be packaged with sustainability! Combine that with the label of volunteer which sometimes undermines your leverage in 'getting things done' and the fact that these 'real life' issues we fight daily through our work are so integrated, encompassing, and unrelenting that you try to understand how you can make a mark...a change, a dent in the world you live in.
My answer to that is you can make a mark, but only if you embrace the very things you instill in others. But also, and I feel more important, is to recharge your batteries by being with the ones you love, reading the books you enjoy, and to constantly revisit the reasons for your committment. Live through your actions, practice integrity, and by all means have a few beers with some friends!
While 'recharging my battery' on the July 4th holiday, I was reading one of my favorite magazines, "MIT's Technology Review," which has a lot of cool articles relating to cutting edge...also dispersed with neat links and places to wander in cyberworld. One article in the recent issue really stuck out to me and kicked me back into inspiration mode. The article is titled, "Social Machines" by Wade Roush.
In the article, they talk mainly about continuous computing, which is basically a term used to describe the ubiquity and continuity of computers and how they are 'always on', meaning in a train, park, bedroom, bathroom, classroom, meeting, etc.
The article really frames it in a social context(Social Machines, duh) by explaining how continuous computing enables people to constantly communicate, relate, and exchange experience, culture, and ideas and how it will 'continue' to progress and become more integrated in our interactions with one another.
The article really had an impact on me and reaffirmed my motivations for doing what I do in the technology arena. Connecting people and stripping communication down to the core meanings by providing more personal interactions and realtime 'feelings', I believe, is the core of causing change and what drives the engine of understanding....if you can get past the many words in this blog post, of course.