by Maya Hall
I finally feel like I am at a point in my life where I can make tangible change. That being said, change is hard. There are many scary things in the world. These scary things sometimes feel impossible overcome. The fear of losing our wildlife and their habitat is something that hangs like a butcher’s knife over my head, and it is petrifying. But, the fear of never doing anything to sway that executioner’s hand, is above all, my greatest fear.
I regularly tell myself that I need to grow up. As a young adult, I need to be brave and push forward into the world of wildlife conservation and environmental science. I tell myself I need to be a force to be reckoned with. I need to be a force that can change the world. But, I ask myself, how do I change the world? How can I make waves in what seems to be a never-ending ocean of shared dreams, aspirations, and goals? How can I become the self-assured, mature scientist I’ve always wanted to be? To be honest, most days I still feel like I am grasping at nothing more than a child’s daydream.
To calm these fears, I think back to what started me on this path.
Loving wildlife and nature came easily to me. I was very fortunate as a young child to have access to a lake and all the fun nooks and crannies that came along with it. I would dig in the ground for insects and catch minnows in the shallow parts of the lake. I would collect snake skins and tape them into a book along with pressed leaves – a self-made nature book. I would pick wild blueberries and watch dragonflies hunt along the glimmering water. I would bask in the beauty of the natural world, unafraid.
I miss this unabashed love of dirt, water, and all things living. Having grown up, I find myself outside less and less.
We all have to grow up at some point; this much I know is true. But, what if it is that young, child-like mindset, that wonder, that should remain our lighthouse?
Retaining my sense of wonder may help me become the confident and accomplished professional I envision. Perhaps I can embrace and nurture the part of myself that I have chipped away at through competition, academics, and rigid standards – this could be my tool to enact change.
What if going back to our roots, back to who we were when we were those open-minded, loving children, is the key to a more sustainable future? To connecting with each other and growing as a community for environmental change? To being fearless in our pursuit of planetary healing? I cannot be certain this is the key, but maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t grow up so fast.
Curating Hope features the personal stories of diverse people who protect nature. Together, we can envision a more sustainable future.