Who, What, Where
As I look out of the frosty panes of glass, I see the sun begin to poke its way past the horizon. It is a cold winter morning and we cling to our blankets for a bit of warmth and comfort. About half of us sleep while the other half sit in a nearly meditative state. The bus is serenely quiet and only the sound of humming motor strumming us along can be heard. It is the dawn of a new day as we head out to “Nowhere”, SK.
We endure early wakeup calls, brave the cold climate, and sit through hours of bus traveling nearly every day. It is hard at times, but we know our small sacrifices are worth it for the work that we do. We set out to change lives every day, a tall order that I am proud to say we accomplish.
Through the good and the “less good”, I can honestly say that LiveDifferent Academy is one of the best things to ever happen to me. I love everything about this unusual lifestyle; I love what I’m doing, who I’m with, and where I am. Most importantly, I am learning to love myself. LiveDifferent is providing me with the tools to love myself at where I’m at and the tools to transition into the person I want to become.
What I do justifies all my all complains about the road life. I can proudly say that I actually look forward to and enjoy my job. I like speaking onstage and I love talking to students after the show. In all honesty, connecting with students is my favorite part. Coming into the Academy, I had no idea that students would be so willing to talk to me. I thought no one would be willing to connect with me since I didn’t share a personal story on stage. Was I ever wrong. Students approach me every day for a variety of reasons. Some want to let us know how much they liked the show, some want to know more about the Hero Holiday program, and some just need an outlet. It feels great to be able to help them out with whatever they’re going through. Regardless of what we talk about, I feel like I grow after each conversation. I learn to be a better listener, a better speaker, and a better friend. In a world that lacks some serious compassion and empathy, I learn to care for complete strangers every day. In sum, the best part of my job is that I get to help myself through helping others.
Who I am surrounded with is a group of zany, kind, and inspirational young adults aiming to make a difference in the world. Each of them have taught me so much about life and how I want to live mine, whether they know they have done so or not. They each possess sets of skills that I pick out and aspire to gain. Best of all, they are never-ending sources of love and encouragement. I know that I could go up to any one of them with a problem and they would listen and help me to the best of their abilities. They act as shining lights guiding me through my journey. They have made me laugh, cry, push my boundaries, and grow. They are the best kind of people to surround myself with and I feel blessed to have them around.
Where I am changes on a day to day basis, and I like it like that. Each province has its own qualities that I come to love. I’ve fallen for the golden fields and endless horizon of Saskatchewan and Alberta’s varying scenery. I’ve even come to love the cold, snowy lands of Manitoba. Most of all, I adore the beautiful mountains of British Columbia. My heart melts every time I see them. I cherish BC so much that I envision myself living there someday. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to explore my country and to wake up in a new place every day. I truly had no idea how beautiful and spectacular our “home and native land” really is.
Throughout this entire tour experience, the most notable change in my life is in myself. I am not the same person I was in Hamilton some three months ago. I felt like I was treading water until LiveDifferent threw me a life preserver. I am now learning to embrace the past, and learning that only my present self defines me. LiveDifferent is encouraging me to grow into to person I want to become, and teaching me to love myself throughout the transition. I am becoming more and more aware of my immense potential as I am challenged to use it. I am becoming a leader and an overall better person. Best of all, I’m learning to never, ever, be afraid to LiveDifferent–ly.
Meagan, LiveDifferent Academy Student, Fall 2013