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January 6, 2012

Well would you look at that!

"I'm a philanthropist."

When I first heard someone say that I was confused. Surely you cant just be a philanthropist....you studied business at school, so you must be a business women, or work on marketing, or or or.....something. But you cant just be a philanthropist. That's something secondary, that comes after what you do....right?

And then, after about five minutes of internal struggle and identity crisis, it made sense...all too much sense. I studied political science but I am by no means a political scientist. I work for a non-profit organization but I'm not a social worker or a program coordinator. I'm no longer a student, in the traditional sense anyways, and what happens if I lose my job...do I become nothing? Why have I, for too long, associated what takes up most of my time (job, school, ect.) as who I am.

I'm a lot of things. And what is at the bottom of all of those things that make up me......the love of humanity. Philanthropy etymologically means "the love of humanity"—love in the sense of caring for, nourishing, developing, or enhancing; humanity in the sense of "what it is to be human," or "human potential."

Silly me, still so many things to learn. Something so simple has radically shifted my mindset, and outlook on not only my present life but how I perceive my future. No matter what career path I venture down, or choices I make, philanthropy, and my love of humanity, my desire to nourish, develop and care for what it is that makes us all human, and our greatest potentials will be right there with me.

The classical view of philanthropy—that the "love of what it is to be human" is the essential nature and purpose of humanity, culture and civilization—is intrinsically philosophical, containing both metaphysics and ethics. It asserts that our nature and purpose in life is educational—to make ourselves more fully humane through self-development, pursuing excellence (arete) of body, mind and spirit. Isn't that kind of the end goal, to seek out self-development, to pursue excellence in however you choose to define it and to continue to love humans with all of their strengths and weaknesses.

Simply put, people are amazing. I feel like a broken record but people never cease to amaze me. Their amazing qualities and not so great ones. People are such complex and interesting beings, that I love to interact with anyone and everyone. Looking for new perspectives, insights, and other people's life stories of things I'll never be able to experience because I've been given just one. Isn't that what makes us so special? That we are given only one life to live but allowed to experience snipets of someone else's if they are so generous to let us. That's what keeps me going, gets me excited and keeps me inspired.

Always in awe,
Delaney C.