Rant On Changing The World, The Importance Of Community In Our Society + My Challenge To You

Warning – this is going to be one very ranty post about a ton of things I’ve been thinking about recently so it might not make any sense. Please bear with me though ahaha. This blog is the one place I can just write my heart out and be totally honest so if anyone would give me their thoughts on this, I’d really appreciate hearing what you have to say 🙂

Everything I see around me shows me just how important it is to make a difference. Watching anthropology (the study of humanity) videos when I can snatch some spare Wi-Fi, hearing people talk about their stories, it makes me realise that our world is such a beautiful, messed up place full of such good, but broken people.

It’s the good things too – not just the bad, like when you see people standing up and making a difference in their communities, people like our friends Finlay and Ella who are striking for climate crisis and taking action for our generation, all the other inspiring people we’ve been meeting on this journey and, most of all, the team at CatZero (the charity my family are raising money for on our challenge).

It’s things I read and watch and the conversations I have. It’s Tip from the episode of ‘the Waltons’ that I watched with my family the other day- he’s the life of the party, so full of stories and extravagance and energy, but it’s all a fake. He has no purpose and no one and he’s dying inside because of it. I’ve written about it countless times because I see it so much in my generation. So many people I know are so over-the-top crazy and take nothing seriously, but I know them well enough to see how much they’re struggling underneath it all. They’ll never admit it though and it breaks my heart.

My Mum tells everyone that this trip is born out of my concern for my generation and the issues we’re facing and, although it’s just a word, I feel like such a fake when she says that. What do I know of their struggles? I feel like screaming. It’s not concern, it’s desperation. Tell me again that I should be ‘concerned’ when my friends are getting pregnant, overdosing on drugs, killing themselves, hurting themselves, being held back by their depression and anxiety, feeling alone and hopeless, tell me again that I should be ‘concerned’. I rattle it off like a list, but these are lives we’re talking about here. Human lives. Lives that being destroyed. Your sister. Your son. Your granddaughter. Your best friend. Tell me I’m being dramatic.

We’ve passed through so many little towns on the East Coast of Scotland, all places with bad reputations for drugs and poverty, visitors to that part of the country go round them or pass straight through and never stop. We were welcomed with open arms. These places are struggling, but they have such a strong sense of community, they are coming together and actively doing something to support one another.

Community is truly the answer. If people had a support network of people who cared about them and who they knew they could always depend on, if they were working together to achieve something and keep their community thriving, it would make such a difference.

Greta Thunberg stopped talking because of the effect the way our planet is heading was having on her and some days I understand how she feels, but every day there’s places for me to go and things for me to do and people for me to meet and I’m learning that action is the only way.

I often feel like I’m not doing enough. I lie awake at night because I’m overwhelmed by it all. When I write this, it makes me sounds so selfless, but that’s not the reality at all. I just feel the pain of my generation kinda like it’s my own and although that hurts a lot, it’s also incredibly motivating.

I’m well aware that it’s easy to ramble on about the faults in society and the struggles of young people (well, all people really) without coming up with any answers so that’s why my family are on a search. It’s been continued throughout this journey since starting a lifetime ago, though I think some of what we’ve experienced on this adventure even just in the last seven weeks has been just about the closest we’ve ever come to finding what we believe is the answer – true community.

It exists in little pockets around the world, for sure. Places like those little Scottish towns, but what we need is community on a worldwide scale. People committed to the well-being of their fellow people, people who care about the future generations, people who work in harmony instead of fighting and starting wars. It sounds a long way off, but it starts here, at home. Your family is a mini community of its own and families are just another thing that have broken down in our society today. If we started applying that same mindset of commitment and understanding to the people closest to us, it might just make a difference and you never know, it may reach Donald Trump eventually hehe.

I went on a climate strike with some friends the other day and it made me realise just how good it felt to stand up for something I believe in. That’s what it’s like on this challenge too. I want to challenge everyone (YOU included) just to take one small step towards making a difference in the world we live in.

Here’s something I wrote in my journal a couple of weeks ago that is kinda relevant to what I’m talking (ranting) about today –

I’m nearly ready for bed now and my hair is still wet from the sea. The island of Tiree off of the West coast of Scotland has always been my favourite place in the world, but Durness beach (where we are today) may be a contender for second place.

As soon as Mo (our van) pulled up, I leapt out of the back, skidded down the sand dune, ran across the beach and into the sea. The waves were crashing and the water was so beautiful and blue and so I proceeded to spend the next couple of hours in the ocean. I honestly think that one of the times when I’m at my happiest is when I’m swimming in the sea. It’s hard to describe the feeling except to say that it’s almost the opposite of hopelessness.

It’s simple, pure, sweet freedom and it’s so different from the ache that’s sometimes fills my heart. That’s partly why I love swimming so much. I can’t over-think and every single part of me is focused, plus I love the power and control I feel over my own movement and strength. Also, when I swim as part of a team, it’s like another mini community feeling. Being a part of something positive is so important and it’s what we all need.

Being on top of the world is an extreme, but it gives me hope and it makes me realise that we will all be okay.

I can’t get knocked down by negativity or what use I am to the revolution? As my friend Ruby always tells me, you can’t help anyone if you’re crying on the floor – focus on what you can do, focus on the solution.

We’ve all got to do what we can to help others and play our part in creating a better world. It won’t always be easy, but we’ve got to try. Small steps, people, small steps. Please do let me know how you get on!! I’m also well aware that it’s  not always easy to know what you can do to make a difference so if anyone wants to discuss it, shoot me an email through my contact page and we can have a conversation and figure it out together xx

btw, what posts do you all wanna see coming up? I had the idea to do one with letters to people who’ve meant a lot to me throughout my life or there’s always more rants haha…?? Let me know in the comments xx

35 thoughts on “Rant On Changing The World, The Importance Of Community In Our Society + My Challenge To You

  1. gosh, gracie, this was such an important and well-written post– I’m so happy that these types of wonderful posts show up in my feed! I’ve never really considered this idea of community that could either make or break any group of people.. I’ll try my best to help out 😄 also, life at sea sounds like so much fun!? your journal excerpt just made me feel all the feels. letters would be a super cool idea! it’s an alt. to snail mail, but nonetheless, it’s a sweet idea.

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    • Aw thanks so much, Vaishnavi!! I’m really glad it offered you a different perspective. I really do believe community amongst people can make a HUGE difference and I hope more people come to realise that. Okay, cool. Well, keep your eye out for some letters coming up – I’m thinking they’ll probably include some funny stories, memories, etc so should be entertaining I guess??? Thanks again xxx

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  2. So insightful and thoughtful Gracie. It echoes so much of what I’m hearing and seeing and the work we’re doing at ANH. You’re so right when you say everyone should do something, every day, however small. If everyone changed something to reduce their consumption adopt more sustainable options. A seismic shift is needed and sooner rather than later. Keep up the good work xxx

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  3. Like you said, community is really the answer for these types of things – community is what brings people out of bad situations and heals relationships. As humans, we are designed to be in deep loving relationships with eachother, and being outside of a community damages that deep inner being of us.

    What makes me mad is when I see people being angry (and perhaps rightfully so) on their social media and then not doing anything about it. Anger helps no one unless you put that energy into compassion. Don’t tell me you’re angry about the way people are being treated or the way things are unless you choose to become a voice of compassion and someone that treats people the right way instead of another voice shouting into the void.

    Things are bad, but things have always been bad, it’s what we choose to do around them that defines who we are. For me, knowing Jesus makes me want to reach out and gather people into my community, so that we can all be loved together.

    Gracie, don’t worry about not doing enough, focus on the compassion and reaching out and that’s the best thing you can do for anyone is to love them. You’ll burn yourself out, choose to keep your focus on compassion and not the darkness like you’re so good at doing ❤ Keep on, lovely, love you lots ❤

    (also, truly honored that you remembered my advice ❤ love our talks.)

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    • I should have got you to write this post because asdfghklll you just said my exact thoughts!! Anyway, thank you so much for your words, it means so much to me. LOVE YOU ❤ ❤
      And yeesssss of course I remembered (probably one of the best pieces of advice I've been given tbh) and me too xxx

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  4. Ughshsbdgsisnvsgzjs Gracieeeeee it was almost like reading my thoughts through this post as well. Ever since I was in 4th grade, I would tell my family I wanted to change the world and go to Africa (because I thought that was the only place that had poverty oops) and my family laughed because I would probably get killed and because I was so young. But honestly, I feel like it’s the risks we need to take and especially utilize our youth and always increase our knowledge because if we sit around and do nothing like a lot of us are doing (including myself) then we’ll just let history go by right under our noses. I read somewhere that you enter this world and you leave it better than when you entered it. Leave a legacy. And I feel like this weighed a lot of pressure on me not doing enough because I’m so blessed and I had to be chosen for a reason but I didn’t know where to start and it still eats me up, you know? A lot of the things I see today like the crisis in Sudan and Yemen and the climate crisis going on worldwide. Do I go into business and develop a sustainability plan or do I go into politics or the un or law or WHAT DO I NEED TO STUDY? I’m always sort of torn on what is out there for me to do and who would actually listen. And aah the thing about young people covering so much pain with jokes and ‘cool stuff’ breaks my heart as well. I know we shouldn’t take life so heavy all the time but it’s okay to open up and get help. I went to a mental health conference in February and one speaker was a Muslim convert who talked about her experiences with suicide and depression. Even after she converted there were times that depression came back. And I feel like most Muslims think that if you’re depressed, you’re not praying enough or not reading enough which will heal you spiritually but at the same time this life has tests and you’re going to go through emotional distress that you will need help from other people for. And she talked about how in the middle east where there is unfortunately so much war and crisis, people still had community. When our parents had an emotional crisis or a financial crisis, their neighbors were there for them, their family was there for them, their friends were truly there, hell even the guy at the grocery store talked to them. They always had each other. And I’m not trying to say north america doesn’t have much community – Canada is great – but I feel like especially among us youth, we don’t truly have each other’s backs. We don’t actually open up to each other. We spread hate and rumours and gossip about each other. and the thing is, we all need each other. We all need community and people to interact with and people who we help and receive help from. And I really hope this open minded generation can achieve that not only behind screens but face to face as well. WOAH THIS IS SO LONG IM SO SORRY!! just a final point that I love what you and your family are doing and I want updates!! You have a YouTube channel for it, right? What is it called again? I watched a video but it was embedded in the post. Anyways, love love love this post!

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    • Asddgjklll woah thank you SO much for this comment lovely!! I can relate to what you’re saying sooooo much, like that desperation to do something to make a difference, but not knowing where to even start?! I think I’m quite lucky to have found something (sailing) that I love and that is changing lives and it feels so good to have a path I can follow even though I struggle SO much with the world I am and all the issues that surround my generation. You are an inspiration in the way you’re using your blog as a voice to share your perspective on the world and I would love to collab with you on this at some point if you’d like to?! If not no worries! As for the challenge, if you have Instagram please follow us!! We’re called Round The UK On A Tenner A Day and we post updates all the time. Hugs and thanks again for this comment…. xxxx

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      • AAAH GRACIE!!! I feel so much better knowing I’m not the only one who cares because I feel like so many teens nowadays just don’t take anything seriously or take it seriously to the point that things turn into pettiness and drama. GIRL YES of course I’d love to collab. What should we post on? And omg thank you – your blog is so informative too and I love reading it. Oh girlll I’ll definitely check it out. Good luck with your sailing! Nppp I love this post!

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      • EXACTLY!!! Yessss that’s great, I’d love to collab about something to do with community or young people changing the world?!?! Maybe some suggestions for things young people can do to make a difference? I’m really busy at the no, but I’ll shoot you an email asap. Again thanks so muchhhh ❤

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  5. Hi Gracie what a very important and well written account of all your worries and concerns you have about your generation.It’s true if everyone did something to help protect anymore damage to the. world it would certainly make a difference.While you’ve been travelling you have met and seen community spirit. which is great.and so many people who share your concern.Keep up the good work xxxxx

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  6. I really. Really. Realllyyyy loved this post. Gracieee you’re already making SUCH a difference by writing about these sorry of things! Don’t worry about not ‘doing enough ‘ because what you’re already doing is amazing. Compassion and empathy are so important, and I’m glad you went over that when so many people skim over it. 😔
    It makes my heart swell when people who have next to nothing offer everything they can to help you. It’s truly amazing! It sucks that so many people have it really rough, but you should focus on the lovely and the light in the darkness while helping them. Love you xxx, Aditi 💙💙💙

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    • ADITIIIIIII thank you so much for this comment!! I struggle a lot with the world I live in and the issues my generations are facing a lot, but I hope I can make a difference, I want that more than anything else. Thanks again xx ❤ ❤ ❤

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      • You’re totally welcome!! 💙💙💙 I do as well because there’s so. many. things. that need to be changed and its so frustrating when you can’t do anything about it. I hope we both can! 💙 xxx

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  7. Very strong message, Gracie, it moved me powerfully.

    This is why I love you so, and perhaps I shall raise my level of boldness to that of yours some day…

    …soon, and grow away from the insecurities we all feel, but not grow to hide them but strive to understand them and therefore no longer feel threatened by life’s nuances, and our personal and social demeanours.

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