'I'm only one person, but I'll keep trying to change the world'

Fran outside parliament house, Tasmania, on one of her missions to change the world. Image: Supplied

A friend recently told me I couldn’t fix the world. I thought he was joking, but he told me that from his point of view, that’s the best way he knew how to describe me. Someone who is trying to fix the world. Was that really me? Did he have a point? He told me that until I gave myself a break and realised it wasn’t all up to me, I would not give myself any time for me – and he seemed to think I needed that.

That conversation started me thinking. What did I do with my life? What did I do to relax? What did I do to make myself happy, which is really only up to me to do?  

I come from a family where females were repressed. We weren’t worth much. I suffered at the hands of my father. I watched as my little sister was ignored by him. I watched as he treated my mother like a third class citizen most of the time and I watched while he made it clear that the boys in our family were more important. When you grow up in that environment in the era that I grew up, you don’t think about it much. Now, I am guessing, that was the beginning of what my life would become.

It took me many years to realise I was worth something as a person. It took me even longer to stand up for myself. I think I was around fifty before I did that, but it’s never too late. Now, in my sixties, I think I have evolved as a person. I thought about my friend and his observation of me. Had I fought so long for me that I had automatically started fighting for others? Perhaps, but I thought about his statement and giggled to myself. You see, I think this world is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. No one person can fix it, certainly not me; not even close, but perhaps I need to try.

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In today’s world, hatred seems to lead the list, followed by intolerance, and I think understanding and love are way down the list. However, does that mean we stop trying to fix it? Does that mean it’s all too hard, give up the fight? I think not. In a world where violence against women has reached epic proportions, rape on our university campuses has become tolerated, and little countries with big egos fire missiles weekly, should we just wait for someone else to fix it? I think not.

As individuals, we can’t stop the missiles, or the violence or anything else bad in this world. What we can do is let our voice be heard. If we all spoke out as often as possible and shamed those we know are causing us to live in fear, hatred, poverty, perhaps something will change. I am only one person and sometimes I make mistakes or try too hard. But then sometimes I know at least I am a thorn in the side of a politician doing nothing to help the ageing population or the plight of battered and abused women (and men). We all need to be thorns in the sides of something or someone harming our right to be alive, our right for peace and safety. We need to help in any way we can. To be one voice is better than no voices.

We, of our generation, have life experiences, have seen much good and bad in our lifetime. We have immense knowledge and are smarter than we re given credit for.  

So if it seems that me, or someone like me, is trying to fix the world, perhaps it’s because we are. Perhaps it’s because we know how the world could be and if one little thing changes because we become a thorn in someone’s side, then we will leave this world better than it is right now. So, I’ll keep doing what I can. I may seem insignificant in the big scheme of things, but I have been taught a valuable lesson over the years; that you are important no matter who you are and you deserve to have a voice in how life should be.

Do you try to change the world, or do you see it as an exercise in futility?