I am a college senior ready to make the transition to independence and the working world.
I grew up in New Mexico in a conservative Christian family and lived an extremely happy, blessed, and insulated life for the greater part of my childhood. My parents loved each other very much and provided for me the best home they could. They sent me to a private Christian school that reinforced everything they had taught me and where all my friends had conservative, Christian, middle-class families like mine.
As I got older, a few key events shook this model. I switched to a public school with people who had ideas different from my own, and in the natural process of growing up I realized that parents are not always right, and that it was oddly convenient that the worldview that was “right” just happened to be the one I was born into. Still, my mother was always able to make sense of the world with her simple, down to earth logic. She was the glue that held everything together. Then the unthinkable happened: she died.
While her absence was felt immediately, the real effects of her loss on my life would not be felt until much later. Things did not unravel at first. Her wisdom continued to guide me for over a year after her death, and in many ways it still does. However, at 16 years old, I was far from done asking questions, and now there was no one to answer them for me. Dad was of little help, he could never tell me why he thought what he thought, and there are many things a young girl faces that she simply isn’t comfortable discussing with her father. That, is where this journey really started.
In addition to life’s questions, I also had an insatiable appetite for the unknown. I would look past the mountains out our back windows and think about the world beyond them. When I chose a school, I chose one as far away and in as different a place as I could. At the time that was only the east coast, but it was shock enough.
That taste for the unknown and for ideas different from my own led me to study international relations and to move even farther to a place where I could appreciate real culture shock. I spent half a year living and studying in China where I was challenged and prompted to question everything. (More on this later.)
Now here I am, ready to make my own way in the world and considering what it means to me to live well. What kind of person do I want to be? What kind of life do I want to live? I’ve heard again and again that life is what happens when you are making other plans. I realize that it will not be so much about the goal of what I want my life to look like in the future as how I live my life now.
I hope this blog serves some entertainment and some thoughtful insights for other young women as I try and navigate these questions for myself.