I’m reading Little Princes, by Conor Grennan, and it’s making me reflect on how poor my survival skills are.
It’s about this guy who decides to volunteer in an orphanage in Nepal for 3 months to justify taking a year off to blow his savings and travel around the world. He ends up doing a lot more than that–reunites the kids with their parents, opens his own orphanage–which is both impressive and a little daunting.
One of the very first things that Conor describes is eating daal bhat with his host family. It is a dish made of rice and lentils and is very spicy. He suffers through a lot more than just eating a spicy dish, but that was enough for me to conclude that I am not fit to save orphans in Nepal. My GERD alone would lead to starvation, because this is what they eat for 90% of their meals.
Last year I was reading On Gold Mountain, by Lisa See, and there was one paragraph describing how families who were riding out west in covered wagons did not stop to pick up their kids when they fell out because they needed to make it out there before winter. That’s the only thing I really remember from the book, even though it had very little to do with the story.
I had no idea that riding out west in a covered wagon was so dangerous. I always imagined that their biggest problem was entertaining themselves without movies and iPods and video games. I didn’t realize they had to fight for survival. If I were alive back then, I think someone would have “accidentally” knocked me out of the wagon, what with my allergies and asthma and all. What good could I possibly be in anything that required sustained cardiovascular effort, like killing wild animals or chopping firewood?
I guess I don’t have to volunteer in Nepal or be able to survive in a covered wagon, but these are the kinds of random things that my inner critic will use against me. The whole time I’m reading this book, it lectures me on how I should be tougher, stronger, and more altruistic like Conor. And I call myself a warrior. Puh! I don’t think so.
I am always having to demonstrate to my inner critic why my life is worthwhile. I’m a psychologist. That’s something. And I captain a bunch of tennis teams. People hate captaining, so that’s doing something helpful. And I’m writing this blog, which is also helping other people. Isn’t that enough to justify my existence?
I’d like to think that there are many ways to save the world. We aren’t all fit to rescue orphans. Maybe some people focus on saving whales. Others minimize their carbon footprint. And some help the survival of our species by having children and raising a family.
And some people dedicate their lives to helping people practice self-acceptance. To helping people realize that they are worthwhile, regardless of what they can or can’t do.
So take that, inner critic!