By Jude Lane
Humanist Service Corps Volunteer
Many people all around the world make New Year’s resolutions. I have never been one to make any that I actually kept, but this tradition has inspired me to make a list of three goals to have and see how I do in 2017.
First, I want to unplug more often. I know people commonly have this resolution. But, coming to a place with less accessible internet and television, I have really been able to follow through on this one. The challenge will be keeping this habit when I return to the States with more accessible internet and television. Unplugging was actually something I was very excited about when accepting this opportunity with the Humanist Service Corps. I have been aware for a long time that I watch far too much television and spend far too much time online. In the States, I lived in an apartment with far too much media. We had every satellite channel, HBO, STARZ, Netflix, you name it. We even had a 3D movie channel. Needless to say, television being my habit was far too easy and I am sure I reached a point of being unhealthy. Far too often, in the States, I would pull my phone out to check Facebook just seconds after my last view just out of habit and impulse. There was a coworker at my last job who did not even have a Facebook account, which I always admired, but couldn’t bring myself to emulate. Though I see Facebook being useful for certain things, like staying in touch with long distance friends and family, I always felt my way of using it was unhealthy. So, I’ve taken a break from Facebook. Here in Ghana, I do not even have the app on my phone and using social media for work has been my main exception to this separation. I hope to continue this new habit upon my return to the U.S. and hopefully replace these habits with time outside, reading, and honestly just giving myself time to sit and be and think, which I feel is a healthy habit that people miss out on in a world of constant stimulus.
Second, I want to live in a town bigger than my last one. I have lived in Springfield, MO for about five years. Coming from a town of fifteen thousand in Arkansas, the town of one-hundred and fifty thousand of Springfield was quite a move up for me. Though I am unsure of where I will be in the months following my commitment here, I do know that Springfield was starting to feel a bit small and did not have much diversity. This goal creates a lot of unknowns. What work will I do? Which city would fit me as a person? What is life like in a city bigger than these places I have lived? I will be learning everything on the run while adjusting to a new job, new friends, and a new culture. This chance for change is both exciting and stressful for me, but I believe, wherever I go, it will be the right decision. If I can make the leap half way across the world and adjust to a new way of life, I can surely make this leap when I return.
Third, I want to be able to walk without pain. For about the last year, I have had constant pain in my right knee. My last job had me on my feet about 10 hours a day. As the pain got worse, I eventually got to the point when I was limping and the pain would keep me awake at night. I visited a doctor and a physical therapist, and I even got an X-ray all which came back to nothing. I was not perfect about the therapeutic exercises my doctor told me to do nor my personal health, but I really hoped this issue would have been done by the time I arrived in Ghana. Unfortunately, even then I still could not walk more than a half mile before my knee started hurting again. But in Ghana I have gotten on track. I have diligently been trying different things, different stretches, different exercises, and I feel that everyday my leg is a little better. I am an athlete and not being able to walk, much less run, has been really difficult—not just because of the physical limitations. I still have yet to play football (soccer) with the neighborhood guys who play on the weekends. I am literally fearful of any activity that requires me to walk long distances. I hope that here soon I am at least at a level where I can run and play for a while, even if it means hard resting for a day. At this point, I hardly remember what it was like to walk without pain. At the end of this next year, I hope I find it difficult to remember walking with the pain.
All of these goals are things I am truly determined to do. They are also things I have already begun working on. The end of a year is a good time for reflection, but we can decide to work on ourselves at any point. Though New Year’s resolutions can be helpful, I want to be in a habit of constantly being self aware and ready for change whenever needed.
Jude Lane was born and raised in Arkansas. He obtained a degree in Spanish and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) from Evangel University, and has been working for the past two years as a youth care specialist at a Springfield, Missouri children’s emergency care facility for children in poverty stricken, drug afflicted, or abusive homes. Jude chose to join HSC because he believes in serving with others to help make as many lives better as possible. He greatly enjoys travel and has visited many countries in Europe and South America. Jude loves a good conversation over just about anything.