Perspective: The Privileged Life

By Lili Gevorkian on February 21, 2013

I was sitting in my four hour Geography lecture – quite a lengthy class to drill through on a Friday morning – learning about political geography. Sleep-deprived and squirming in my seat to stay awake, I ended up doodling endlessly next to my notes to pass the time.  After lecturing for two or so hours, my professor played us the documentary “God Grew Tired of Us” to further help us understand the war in Sudan and how geography can be tied to political situations.

The film documents the journey of three “Lost Boys” from the Sudan who left their homeland during their country’s unforgivable civil war and traveled barefoot with minimal belongings across the sub-Saharan desert in search of safety. The “Lost Boys” totaled 25,000, ranging from ages 3 to 13, and spent years trying to find refuge from famine, disease, and violence from insurgent soldiers. Forced to leave everything behind, the boys stuck together, forming surrogate families and finally settling in Kakuma, Kenya after five years of turmoil. Malnourished, dehydrated, and sick, the United Nations’ refugee camp proved to be the saving grace for those who had survived the overwhelming adversities of their past. Through food rations, donated clothing, basic schooling, and a calm environment, the boys were able to rekindle themselves back together.

Soon after, the United States selected John Bul Dau, Daniel Abol Pach, and Panther Blor among 3800 other young survivors to re-settle in various parts of America. Awe-struck by the trans-Atlantic flights on their way to America – especially coming from a land where technology was near non-existent – to the immense culture shock repeatedly felt as they explore their new homes, “God Grew Tired Of Us” uncovers these immigrants’ experiences and periodical adjustment to life in America.

No longer threatened by the usual third-world country factors, the boys were given stability and three months’ time to find work. They built dynamic new lifestyles, worked multiple jobs and explored their educational opportunities, all the while remaining profoundly committed to the strong ties with their friends and family left behind. The film also documents how while they were thankful for their new lives, much had also been lost in the process.

Now picture yourself sitting there in the back of the lecture hall watching these men walking around a bountiful supermarket wide-eyed at the flourishing amounts of food within reach. Cut scene, and then watching as they use electricity for the first time and realize that they no longer have to carry water to bathe themselves. There I was whining internally about how tired I felt and how much I wanted to fall asleep right then and there when this document came about.

I’m thankful for living a privileged life and having the opportunity to receive a higher education and yet that day, it had felt grueling to function as a normal human being. Yes, the stress of college isn’t fun for anybody and there are various hardships that pop up in our lives; however, sometimes what we need is a shift in our point of view.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you should never feel down in a situation; there will always be someone who has it worse. Comparing your situation to someone else’s doesn’t necessarily make it any better. It’s your situation. It affects you differently, psychologically and physiologically. But you do have the power to remember and bring awareness to the positive aspects of your life.

Maybe the best way to approach a situation is to not approach it at all.

Look at it from farther away. Imagine you’re floating above that building, or in the sky, and then you’re on a satellite staring at the world before you, and then on the edge of the Milky Way, and out into the universe. You’re a tiny speck in this abundant energy. In the grand scheme of things, how much will that momentary discomfort matter?

It’s transient. Thoughts and feelings are always twisting and turning and meshing constantly. Nothing, not the good, not the bad, lasts forever. That’s why we must cultivate gratitude and our attention to the present moment daily, to accept and live in what is (and isn’t). Take a few deep breaths next time you’re feeling wound up to help center yourself.

The documentary is available for instant streaming on Netflix.

 

 

By Lili Gevorkian

Uloop Writer
Lili Gevorkian is a biology student interested in global health, integrative medicine, and combating climate change. She enjoys long walks, the sea, books, writing, tea, yoga, hooping, and hugs. Lili is passionate about healthy and sustainable living, nourishing foods, nature, positive environments, spreading awareness, culture, and human rights.

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