Interesting weekend, to say the least.
I spent a good portion of my day yesterday at Mercy Center. This year's group of Mercy Volunteers were there for their transition retreat. I am a MVC alum, and was invited to speak at their panel. It's an honor to be asked, I have so much respect for the staff from Mercy Volunteer Corps and obviously they thought I was capable of giving this year's group some advice.
It's just weird, though. In a good way. I did MVC in 09-10. That life seems so far away from me now. I go about my busy life now and sometimes just stop and say "remember that time I did a year of volunteer service?". Crazy, right?
For the most part, the guys and gals who participate in MVC are fresh out of college. There are usually a few expectations of people who are in between jobs or retired, but as I sat on the panel I was mostly looking at young faces. And I felt so old. I'm only 3 or 4 years older than them, so that statement is kind of ridiculous, but I did feel old.
I also could not help but be a little jealous of them. The year I devoted to volunteering was the best experience of my life. I came out of it a stronger, better person. And now they are in that position, and eagerly ready to take on the world and seeking new opportunities. Some will travel back home, some will stay in the city where they served, others will go off to grad school. It's such an exciting time in their lives. I didn't realize it then and I'm not sure they do either.
I talk about my experience with MVC all the time. I'd say it comes up in conversation at least five times on an average week. I'm either relating my experience with one of my hospice volunteers, talking about living in the city of Detroit, or proudly discussing the achievements of my old students. The thing about MVC or similar programs is that it stays with you forever. No matter how many years go by, it is a part of you.
So, I really hope I was able to give the "kids" some good advice. I know that they are nervous to end their year and overwhelmed with what is to come. I've been there. And I hope my words helped, even a little bit.
Pause...Sometime in between my panel at MVC and Saturday late afternoon, I developed a horrendous headache. I mean, worse than I've ever had before. Dizzy, shaky, blurred vision, etc. After a few rounds of medicine, my parents coming to pick me up, and drinking a whole lot of water, I am finally feeling a little better. I'm back at home now and taking it easy. Not quite sure what the cause of this headache is but I have some ideas. So I will continue taking my meds, drinking water and perhaps get checked out by a doctor tomorrow or Tuesday, just to be safe. Thanks to everyone who read about it on facebook/twitter and sent me well wishes.
Today, Sunday, Cristo Rey, the school where I worked as a Mercy Volunteer, had their second graduation ceremony since opening it's doors in 2008. The kids graduating were freshmen when I was there. They were, as I referred to them, "my babies". I was on the school website today and looked over the pictures of the senior class. I almost cried just thinking about them. It's been so long, and yet I can still see them as 14 year olds, asking me for help with their study skills or for more chicken nuggets in the cafeteria. Even just thinking about it now is making me emotional. I had such a strong tie to those kids. They trusted me and I loved to hear their stories. And now they are big kids, leaving for college. Many of them will be the first in their family to go to college. And they probably don't remember me, but I will never forget them. I am incredibly proud of them for all they have accomplished so far.
So yes, a surreal weekend full of tears, nostalgia, and a massive headache. I'm trying to get excited for the week. Trying to make some changes in my life for my health. Trying to remember that I am the most important person in my life and that I don't need to put so much pressure on myself to make everyone around me happy. I need to focus on me for a while.
Hugs and kisses to all of you.