Here I am trucking along on my first outdoor run since baby and every km or so there are spray-painted messages on the path. “Dream for the joy of dreaming,” and more striking, “What do we do with our privilege?” This one really caught my attention. Who’s “we”? North Americans? Londoners? Certainly they are not referring specifically to the people in my neighborhood. Or are they?
Despite the fact that people often hesitate when I tell them what part of the city I live in, I feel very lucky to live here. My rent is more than reasonable, the rooms are enormous, we have a community garden during the warm seasons, and it is a community full of diverse people from around the world. Maybe it’s not so pretty on the outside and the hallways are kind of dingy, but seriously, do I live in the hallway?
Back to the idea of privilege, I think that we take for granted many of the good things in our lives. Friends and family that love and support us, food in our bellies, a roof over our heads…the list goes on. Even having a car is something that so many of us take for granted. As someone who takes public transit or walks, I can definitely appreciate the problems this can cause for people, in part due to society’s general expectations that everyone has a car. While I have the luxury of choosing not to have a car, many people don’t have that choice. If you live in most of Nova Scotia, for example, there is no public transportation or if there is, the service is terrible. Unless you are lucky to be able to walk everywhere you need to go, you are out of luck.
I started thinking about other ways in which we take things for granted. In regards to health and fitness, it is easy to blame individuals for not making healthy “choices” but there are so many other things that affect someone’s ability to be healthy. Money, education, intelligence, social support…and the list goes on. Ever seen someone working out at the gym in jeans? If you’ve been active your whole life, this seems ridiculous, but maybe they just have no idea what to do or how to do it. Maybe they need a high five for getting started. It takes courage to start something when you don’t know what you’re doing!
So I ask myself, with my privilege, what can I do to help others and how can I make things better? Well for starters, I hope that my blog can pass along some knowledge and inspiration…that I can show one way to live a healthy lifestyle by being creative and resourceful. My way is not perfect by any means, and it is ever-changing and evolving. I’d like to pass along some findings from scientific studies more often too – something for me to work on this year J Most of all, what I want to do with my privilege is to become a nursing professor involved in research and teaching – I want to be in a position where I can make an impact on Canada’s healthcare system and the health of nurses and patients.
The question I leave you with today is what are you going to do with your privilege?