For what it’s worth

September 21, 2008 at 8:52 pm 2 comments

Recently I have found myself in quite an unexpected situation. For those of you who don’t know my story, I’ll be brief. I’ve lived in Europe for 23 years and now I’d like to move back to the States, but I have a husband here and two children, and none of them really feel like moving. That is an extremely brief summary, but it’s enough.

My 16-year-old nephew is presently also in Europe. He doesn’t want to be here at all, but the family situation has put him there for now. He is living with his aunt (unfortunately a different one, not me!), skipping school, and quite depressed. He sees his life as being in the States and feels more like a pawn in a complicated story. (But then, don’t we all feel that way at times?)

My strategy at the moment is to utilize all resources to eventually get myself back home to New York, be it for six months out of the year or completely. I don’t know at this point. That includes a job so that I can save some money, as well as earn practical work experience. It includes other steps as well, but I won’t bother with them now. Suffice it to say, I am working hard towards a major goal.

The past few days I’ve been e-mailing and telephoning with my nephew. Tonight I found myself explaining to him that we can’t always get what we want, that we don’t always see the big picture, but that God or higher power has a special plan for us and we can believe in that.

I urged him to straighten up at least in the next week or so, because then he could come visit us during the fall break. He would like very much to come, but he’s not allowed to because he’s been goofing off about school. (He’s subconsciously sabotaging it, hoping he’ll get kicked out and be able to go back home. But the situation at home right now is less than optimal.) I suggested he write letters to God, like I did as a teenager. I also suggested he see if he could find a place somewhere near his heart to nurture faith, and trust in the greater plan. He could focus now to make the best of things, but make clear affirmations and send them out to the universe. He can’t know know how things will work out, but to make the most out of the present situation is not a bad idea.

He is going through a rough time now, but perhaps he will be able to use this experience later. I told him about a dear friend of mine who wanted to be a ballerina. Her parents made her study architecture. She did that, was an excellent student, graduated with outstanding grades, and then said: “So, now I’m going to New York City and I’m going to dance.” And that is what she did. She danced, acted, did stand-up comedy, and enjoyed the wild 80’s in New York City. Unfortunately, her knees didn’t hold up, so that was it for the dancing. A couple of decades later, she got into real estate. She said: “You know, the architecture degree really comes in handy.”

So we don’t know what is in store for us. And when you’re 16, it’s even harder to trust in life, because you just don’t have that much experience yet. I’m glad that I can be here for him, and I’m glad that I had so many similar experiences. I can relate to his feelings of frustration and helplessness. When you’re 16, you feel like you are grown up, and yet adults still make decisions for you which don’t always agree with you. It is a challenging age. 

When I turned 17, I spent a year abroad as an AFS student. Even though I really wanted to do it, I was quite homesick until Christmas. Then I had some friends and started going out more and having fun. When I moved to Europe as a 23-year-old, I was horribly homesick. I didn’t really want to move here, but figured: “What the heck?”  I spent 18 years in a beautiful old european city and grew to love it. Four years ago I moved to the boondocks and had to start all over again. I’ve gotten quite settled, although I am less than thrilled here. But that is due to a complicated interaction between several factors. Otherwise, I’m sure I’d be having a blast.

Today it is my challenge to share this experience and knowledge in a way that offers comfort. I convey that I understand him. Indeed, he is in a difficult situation, and I will not try to convince him otherwise. But I want to help him make the most of it, rather than simply be miserable for the whole year. We will keep in touch, and I will focus on helping him find short-term goals to keep him motivated. I don’t think God put me here for all this time just so I could gather this vast experience in order to help my nephew, but it sure does come in handy!

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Entry filed under: Family/Relationships. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

Dreaming Adjusting to work and life

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. SanityFound  |  September 27, 2008 at 8:57 am

    He is so lucky to have an aunt like you! Everything indeed happens for a reason, perhaps he too will bring back memories and lessons.

    Reply
  • 2. diaryofarecoveredbulimic  |  September 28, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Yes indeed. I’ll wait and see what happens.

    Reply

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