Really Living the Good Life
by Emma Jackson
When Roberto called me up my freshman year of college, I never could have guessed what the Youth Voice Nation team and I would be capable of doing in the coming years. This journey of empowerment, youth voice, and connecting with people around the world has taught me about myself, and it has taught me how much potential I possess just as a single change agent. It has helped me to find my own voice and to value my writing. Perhaps more importantly, the Good Life Alliance has shown me how much a passionate team of young people can do when they come together. I am so grateful to have been constantly supported by Zeni, David, Marlon, Jackie, Roberto, and others along the way, and we have big things ahead of us with the creation of our international book Youth Voice Global coming to fruition and the Fulfill the Dream curriculum headed towards app form.
We target young people because younger people most often need the validation of “what you’re doing is important and admirable.” This especially applies to those who are doing self-employed creative work that doesn’t fit society’s definition of “success” and making lots of money or having many material objects. It is the youth that have the kindling to build a fire of hope and the breath of fresh air needed to shape it into real, game-changing manifestations. If you think about it, there are a lot of people out there who never perused their dreams because there was no support system in their family or community or there was no general societal acceptance of what they wanted to do. Many people realize what they really want to do after spending years on a career that they ought to be working towards. Young and old, it is crucial that we use all of our gifts and all of the technology at our fingertips to come together, make connections, collaborate, and affirm one another on our individual and collective paths. That is exactly what the Youth Voice Nation team and I have accomplished, and I plan to continue this accomplishment beyond Living the Good Life newsletter. We seek to inspire other people of all ages, on every continent, and in every nation, and I certainly haven’t done it alone.
Living the Good Life taught me that I love meeting new people even though I am shy and introverted. All of our contributors have inspired these lessons in me over the past couple years. I love learning about different perspectives and expanding my own worldview. I love creativity and inspiration. I love this project. I want to make it bigger. It has taught me so much about truly following your dreams despite what anyone or anything makes you feel you should be doing. Living the Good Life has helped me to define and redefine what that really means and to start truly living out my bucket list. It has helped me to emphasize my belief that health and hope go hand in hand, and that we can empower each other towards healthful and hopeful goals. It is my aspiration to continue this project, make it bigger, use more technology, expand our possibilities, and maybe even bring in collaborators who are living that good life into a community setting to conduct workshops and share their stories with people at a more personal level.
Many people look at young people as the problem, the resistance, the deviant, going against what they have previously known… but positive changes can be beautiful. We want all of those young people to be validated in that they CAN make an amazing difference and work towards positive changes in their own lives and within their communities. In addition, all of those who don’t consider themselves to be ‘young’ have the power to influence our youth with their wisdom and to help them work towards positive changes that we can all agree upon.
I will continue to keep the blog and the facebook page up and running for the time being. Please don’t hesitate to connect. You can still submit creative content in any form to be featured on the blog, and I will keep everyone updated on the evolution of Living the Good Life.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the support.