I was a freshman in college when I realised I was predictable. That’s not a pleasant revelation for an 18-year-old.
In the fall of 2007, I left a stagnant world. For the first 15 years of my education, my mom dropped me off in the same parking lot to go to school. When I started driving myself to that lot, I always parked in the same spot. I crossed the street wearing black shoes, knee socks and a pleated uniform skirt. My Jansport backpack contained colour-coded notebooks and a brownbag lunch: a sandwich and a fruit cup. At the end of the day, I walked up the driveway to the only house I’ve ever lived in. I did my homework in my bedroom — the one always painted blue, where I slept as a baby.
It doesn’t sound exciting, but that was my life, and I have no complaints. When I eventually left for college, I was enthusiastic about the endless opportunities, eager for change, and ready to be challenged.
Despite the university cafeteria, I made my own lunch: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an apple on the side. I no longer wore a uniform, but my daily attire rarely varied.
At some point, alone in my dorm room at DePauw University, I realised I hadn’t experienced any of the changes I anticipated. “Maybe I’m just boring,” I thought to myself, feeling like an exceptionally pathetic teenager.
Determined to disprove my theory, I walked across the hall to get a second opinion — my floormates had only known me for a couple months, so they were the closest I could get to impartial feedback.
“Am I predictable?” I asked.
“Uh…yeah, I guess so,” one of the guys replied. After his roommate agreed, I demanded evidence.
They had a lot.
I could be found at the sub station ordering turkey on wheat every night at about 8:30 p.m. Students walking back from afternoon classes would pass me during my daily jog. I always had a cup of coffee in my hand when I left for morning class, and everyone knew not to knock on my door in the early afternoon — I’d be napping because I stayed up until 2 a.m. the night before.
I was boring, they had proof, and I thought the whole situation was horrible.
Somehow, even though I’d just learned of my notorious blandness, I didn’t really change. I kept eating my usual lunch and dinner sandwiches because they were still my favourite, and I appreciated never being interrupted during my much-needed nap time. I eventually stopped being boring and became perfectly predictable by changing one thing: my perspective.
I’m now 21 years old and wrapping up a three-month internship at the world’s largest humanitarian organisation. Predictability, I’ve learned, is a luxury.
My next meal may be the same boring dinner I cook every night, but I’ve never had to question whether or not it will be there. I once thought being predictable made me boring, but now I know what it really means.
It means I’m lucky.
To some people, “unpredictable” means not knowing where to find the next meal. In Haiti, it meant destroyed shelter, lost lives, and further damage to an already food-insecure country. For more than one billion people, it means going to bed hungry night after night.
Some problems are uncontrollable, but hunger isn’t one of them. There’s enough food in the world to feed everyone. For every hungry person, there are six others who can help.
Those of you who have read my other blog entries might have known where this was going. Two paragraphs ago, you probably thought “Ah, this is where she ties her little anecdote into a reason to fight world hunger.” See? Predictable.
But if being predictable means engaging others in a cause and raising awareness about world hunger, I’m OK with that. I embrace my predictability because, let’s face it, if I’ve eaten the same lunch for 18 years, I’m probably not going to change any time soon.
Perhaps now you’re wondering when I’ll insert my token call to action.
Well, here it is: it doesn’t take much to start changing lives. Take a step out of your predictable day, make a quick donation, tweet about hunger issues, or post a compelling video on Facebook — it all makes a difference.
Exciting, isn’t it?
Christine DiGangi is from Chicago and is interning with Youth Outreach. She loves running, chocolate, and fighting hunger.