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  • Albena Tsacheva

To live is to engage

1. “Nothing is "eternal", neither in nature nor in human life, only change is eternal" - August Bebel

To engage means to commit oneself avowedly to something. As a person who has been involved a lot, both at school and at university, I can say that to engage means "to dedicate to the idea". It also means giving your time, energy and creativity in the name of something bigger, of which we are a part. That's where commitment and a hobby differ. I agree with August Bebel that only change and transformation are eternal. Of course, this is not only true for the outer world, but also for the inner world of man. People usually get involved in order to influence the development of society. Change would be the first step towards that.

2. "Everyone thinks only about how to change humanity, but no one thinks about changing himself." - Leo N. Tolstoy

Yes, Mr Tolstoy, you are right. Change begins in the heart and in the mind. Before you get involved, you have to look deep inside yourself and ask yourself a few questions. What are my interests? What upsets me? What do I want to change? How do I set personal priorities and boundaries? Of course, it is sometimes difficult to decide on a form of engagement. There are thousands of possibilities: Climate change or human rights, animal welfare or poverty alleviation. Whether you focus that energy on engagement in the local community or the global community, the work and its results are equally important. There is nothing more beautiful than a group of people defending a cause together. One such example is the "Fridays for future" movement. Here I am not questioning the way of the movement. I am not commenting on whether it is right or wrong. What I am saying is that a 16-year-old girl is deeply convinced that our planet must be saved, and saved now, and that immediate action must be taken to do so. Greta Thunberg has inspired millions of people and got them moving. When you get involved, it is important to pass on your passion. If you haven't thought of it before, that could spark interest and form an opinion. Being engaged is a way of building personality and developing passion for something, so it is important to look inside yourself first and ask yourself questions to discover your cause. From my experience: being constantly engaged is a great way to learn self-discipline, not wasting time and appreciating every second. I emphasise the personal benefits, but when motivated, disciplined people come together it is also a jackpot for the community.

3. Don't forget it, human! All that you are, all that you ought to be, proceeds from yourself." - Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi.

As a person who has been involved in many activities, I can say that there are many positive sides to engagement. If I put the philosophical aside, there also remain small joys that such an activity gives us. Meeting people, organising campaigns, gathering information, anticipation, even travel. One invests one's time in a meaningful and versatile way.

There are thousands of initiatives, NGOs, movements, voluntary positions that are worth getting involved in. All of these have something in common: priorities are set and goals are worked towards - the commitment has a meaning and purpose. As I have often found, commitment allows you to use your energy and creativity in a meaningful way. It depends on us how we can contribute to the common good. There is no recipe, we have to write it for ourselves. After all, the most important thing is to help each other.

In these difficult times, commitment is extremely important. The Covid 19 crisis, which took us by surprise, will test this human quality. Are any of us ready to volunteer even if we have no medical training? In the last few days, I have seen some publications of young people on social media who are happy to do shopping for their elderly neighbours, or medical students volunteering in hospitals. On the whole, life is about engagement. It means expanding our inner world and thus guiding the outer world in a better direction. Finally, we must not forget that every passion has limits. It is also true for engagement, one does not have to dedicate oneself to the cause at any cost. Sacrificing one's mental or physical health would not help anyone. You have to find the golden mean and be able to hold it. There is a nice saying "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." It doesn't have to be that way, and it shouldn't be. You get involved firstly to help others and secondly to make yourself happy.

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