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REFLECTIONS ON INDEPENDENCE
Fourth of July is a day many are thrilled to spend with family and friends, hosting barbecues and watching incredible fireworks spectacles. It is a time to reflect on more than just the freedoms of America as a whole but also the freedoms and achievements in our lives as Americans. Though, this year, that celebration and tradition might be harder for everyone, especially our high school seniors and college students who feel like their personal independence is at risk.
“I am going to be a communications major,” she said proudly. I told her I did not know what that
meant for her, and she shared her aspirations with me: Her major would be in human resources.
We could not have predicted that the 2008 economic crash would pull her off course for some years, despite all the effort it took for her to get through college and find her passion. However, 11 years later, she became a project manager in HR for a large company, and I could not be prouder of her. It is understandably easy to be overwhelmed with pain and worry in a national crisis and while being affected by the consequences of that. But when we experience a bad period in our lives, it is always better to look forward to future opportunities instead of back at the pain and worry. One modern thinker I follow talks about polarity and how everything has an opposite in the universe. I truly believe that half of the battle in our most challenging, uncertain moments is recognizing that we are allowed to feel sad about our losses but that we should not focus on our loss forever. If we do, we might miss chances given to us by those challenging moments that allow us to find the “opportunity,” the good we look forward to in life. Young Americans are still sprinting toward their future, even when everything feels like it has been paused. Keep working hard and focusing on the next step rather than the cramps in your feet. Sometimes nothing can really prepare us for changes, but you will find yourself on the other side before you know it. I hope we all step a little further in that happier direction this July. Have a great month, friends.
It is already tough enough to find out what you want to do in life. Figuring it out in the middle of a pandemic? Even tougher.
This Independence Day, many families are facing different and new questions about independence in adulthood. In an uncertain time, how do we prepare our young adults for what is ahead? At the time of writing, nearly 1 in 5 Americans is unemployed. It is hard to put together exactly what we are supposed to do, and I do not know all the answers, but the stories we have been hearing sound familiar to me. My daughter went through something similar after the Great Recession. She graduated from University of Texas in 2009, and it took her a long time to find work. It is hard for me to imagine what that journey would have looked like if she was forced to take her classes digitally. I know I would not want to pay full tuition for a Zoom-based education. I remember one of my daughter’s most critical moments in college: She told me that she wanted to take a gap semester because she still did not know what to do for a career. I told her no and urged her instead to try five different classes on whatever interests her. I told her that it did not matter what credits the courses counted for; I just wanted her to invest a little extra time, exploration, and dedication to new fields she had been curious about. She listened, and after a few weeks into the new semester, she called me and never sounded more excited. “Mom! I know what I want to do!” I had no idea what classes she signed up for, so I asked her what she had come up with.
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