Why I left the non-profit world

The class was silent as they looked at the orphanage director and myself sitting in front of the classroom.

Posing for a photo and lots of hugs to come…

“Kak Bel is leaving the orphanage,” Martin, the orphanage director announced.

The kids cried out in shock and dismay. Some had already known because I had already told them. I took the time to give them a short speech to motivate them to keep going after their goals and dreams. After a ton of hugs and answering whatever burning questions they had, I left.

And with that, I closed yet another chapter in my life. I knew it wouldn’t last forever and by no means would I ever be completely separated from the orphanage. It will always be there, a thought, an e-mail, a visit away.

I knew what I had to do next. It was time to focus – on myself. It is by no means selfish, but necessary. As a friend always told me, “You can’t live on sunshine forever.” One needs bread to eat, shelter over one’s head, something tucked away for a rainy day, and a little luxury to brighten one’s day. It was time to pursue a career and my future goals.

Still went selling kerupuk door to door on the afternoon I left. We managed to sell everything 🙂

As I prepared myself back into the corporate world, I realized that many friends were already much farther ahead with the head start they got. But did I regret the things that I’ve done? Did I regret leaving a job I didn’t particularly care for to travel, volunteer, seek meaning in life and meet a ton of wonderful people and grew much more than I possibly ever could in such a short span of time? I think the answer is clear.

Instead of just chucking these experiences aside as, “Ah those wonderful memories,” I want to keep them with me, as part of my personality. I would like, if possible, to still hang on to this positivity and spirit. That despite all the weariness and trouble in the world, we would still take the time to care and love in whatever way we can. I still dream for everyone to be able to pursue their own happiness and maximize their own potential so that the community we live in may be a better one.

Call it naivety in a cynical world. Don’t we all need a bit of that?