One of my favorite quotes goes a little something like this: “When I was 5 years old, my mom always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I wrote down “happy.” They told me that I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them that they didn’t understand life.”
There is a reason why I love that line. People often think that happiness comes from the outside - that it is dependent on having a man in your life, having a certain lifestyle, a brand of phone or car. We become attached to these things and are unhappy when these things are taken away from us. Believe me, I have learned the hard way that happiness comes from within, it is not dependent on other people or material things and more importantly, no one is in control of your happiness but you. Fate will guide you to where you are meant to be, but it is up to you to create your opportunities.
We, as a generation have never had it easier - we have information at our fingertips and the drive and ambition to be anything we want to be, regardless of whether we are women, minority or gay. A decade ago, things would have been very different. So we have a bigger responsibility to define who we are as a generation. Do we live in a bubble of a world, not caring about what is happening around us because we are well off and that is all that matters? Or do we stand up for what we believe in and make a change, because we see what the world could be and not what it is at this very moment?
Young people from all over the world have put their lives at great risk to bring about changes. As a generation we have voted an African American man into power in America, we have toppled autocratic regimes across the Middle East, we have stood up for truth merely by using our camera phones to record injustice and sending it to the world via YouTube in Syria and Libya, we have stood by social crusaders like Anna Hazara in India to demand transparent governance.
I have seen that drive to make a change - from the countless young volunteers who are raising awareness on youth unemployment in Sri Lanka, young people who have left their careers and busy lives behind to travel once a month to Kilinochchi in a bus because they want to encourage kids to stay in school, who have unquestioningly slept on the floor out of sheer exhaustion, to the young people who lobby, raise funds, write about issues and see projects through to the very end.
Youth is a powerful thing. Our generation have learned young to live with less and give ourselves more. This is one of the results of living in a connected world - if we can communicate with people from all over the globe and have a platform where we can voice our opinions and the issues that affect us - regardless of where we live, how much harder is it to turn away and not care? Happiness is seeing a smile on someone else’s face, knowing that we have made a difference. However small or insignificant it is in the context of this massive home we live in, it meant the world to that one person. That is what counts.
I hope that when our generation is old and grey, that our legacy is love, that we be called generation love.
To find out how STITCH is helping to improve our future, or to find out how you can dedicate yourself, please visit our website at www.stitchmovement.com.