As a child, I remember imagining a world where people were all the same. Everyone spoke the same language, lived in the same country and was happy as happy can be. Of course, as my childhood passed and I stepped into my teenage years, these ideas were erased from my brain and the small glimpses of remembrance were viewed as “silly” by others, as well as myself. But were they?
Now I am 20 years old and society considers me an adult, regardless of the fact that I may not feel ready to call myself an adult yet. Society has expectations of me. Finish college, get a job, pay taxes, be a good citizen, respect the law and everything will be fine. These expectations never sat right with me, as they can easily be perceived as life goals. I thought that my life goals should not be limited to something small. So I decided I wanted to change the world. The word “change” is generally defined as the act of making something or someone different, in various degrees of impact. Everyone can agree that “changing the world” implies a rather big impact.
Society made me cynical and does not allow me to dream the way I did a few years ago. It throws hard facts and economic statistics in my path and tries to keep me on a certain road. Not because society is bad, but because for a long time things have been this way and perhaps society does not even know how to be any different. But societies are made out of people and people can change. I do not know the first thing about changing the world, but I do know I can change myself. So I went back to my little dream and made myself some promises. I let the child that was influence the adult that is about to be.
That child envisioned a change in the physical sense. Shifting borders, unifying cultures, merging markets and so on. Now, I know better. I know the importance of being part of a culture, belonging to a nation or a certain demographic. It brings out a sense of pride and feeling of comfort. However, the change that I would propose is more targeted at mentality than anything else.
There will always be countries, religions, races, cultures and other factors that make people different. But issues such as gender, race, nationality, language, sexual orientation, physical borders and mentalities should be of a less importance in the sense that although they would still exist, people would not give them as much importance as they do now. The world would fully embrace its humanity and would not feel the need to divide people and place them into some groups.
People are not boxes to be placed in categories. People are not books waiting to be numbered and placed on shelves. People are just people, and that should be the only relevant criteria to be taken into consideration. I am not defined by the place I come from, the people I love, the language I speak, the god I believe in or the gender I was born into, so why should I be judged by them? My humanity defines me and that is what others should appreciate.
In consequence, I am not only a citizen of Romania, but a member of humanity. I have a duty to be informed about issues taking place all over the world. My country is not my only responsibility, but every country is my responsibility. Every single human right that is not respected affects me, even if it happened thousands of kilometers away from me, because it affects my humanity. Crime, injustice, poverty, starvation are global problems with global solutions.
But change takes time. It takes effort and courage. But most importantly, it takes will power. What is my role as a citizen of Earth, you ask? My role is being the kind of citizen that the world needs even if, for now, it may not want.
By Catalina Matasaru