Being a 90s kid means that by tomorrow I’d have lived in four decades. And yet, there’re still many things left that I need to do. Then again, there are many things that I’ve done that—why not say it?—I feel proud of. So let’s do a major recap…
In 2010 I was in high school, about to start my second semester of sophomore year. I remember how hard I tried to prove that I’d got this. But I so didn’t. I was still trying to navigate what high school was all about, to find the kind of people I wanted to navigate it with, and to find a new balance between a sort of part-time job and school. And, as with most things, in time it happened: I found my people—friends whom I’ve come to grow and experience life with—and I found a way to manage several different responsibilities. Also this year, my oldest sister went away from home. More time was devoted to Skype (because FaceTime was still years ahead) and to Facebook than to any other website in our house. This year I learned that hardly do we see the two sides of people’s lives; just because we usually see the shinny side it doesn’t mean there isn’t a less glamorous one to it.
In 2011, having found my footing, I was more relaxed (if I ever was) and truly enjoyed high school. I understood that you cannot be everything to everyone, and that’s okay. Towards the end of the year, my second oldest sister joined the eldest in Utah and it was hard! It was hard knowing that I had suddenly become the eldest child in the family and that I had to take on responsibilities that were previously unknown to me. This year I learned that your sense of belonging comes from accepting yourself not from finding acceptance in others.
In 2012 I graduated from high school and boy… it was a stressful one. I had no idea what I wanted to major in or where. I was trying to stay home but then, by some inexplicable choice of words that to this day I have no idea where they came from, I turned down a scholarship in my ‘dream school’ to go try med school. Med school worked for a week and a half, and that was that (the thought of this still makes me laugh!). Things were NOT working out for me—but I’m so happy they didn’t (more I this later)—so I started working on my application to BYU. Then in December, I received a letter that would, in every way, change my life… I just didn’t know it then. This year I learned that as long as you can see one step ahead of you, you’re not lost.
In 2013 I prepared to move to Provo, UT. I packed 18 years in one set of luggage. I remember getting on the plane and feeling extremely unsure. I remember not listening to the flight attendant’s safety instructions because I was crying. And just as clearly, I remember the welcome I received at the airport once I landed. I remember going to my first class at BYU, REL121 in the MARB. I remember getting a job, the happiness that I felt, the hard times I had to face, and in the end, the affection I felt for a random group of college kids that had suddenly become my family. I was almost deported and I ended up in the ER. You bet I was SO glad to go back to Mexico for Christmas break. This year I learned in the most tangible way that suffering breathes empathy.
In 2014 I was starting my sophomore year, I had somehow survived my first year of college. This was a year of preparation. I had to start applying to business school, so I worked hard on my extra curriculars. I was inducted to Phi Eta Sigma and I took my first solo-trip to New York. My oldest sister graduated from college and that day I knew with certainty that this dream was possible. Also this year I moved to a new apartment, the apartment that I have loved the most, the one until this day. This year I learned that it’s better to have one hundred rejections than one should have.
In 2015 I received one of those sweet fruits of adversity. I remember very clearly the day I found out I had been admitted to the Accounting Program. I had submitted my application on June 1st at 9 PM after coming home from the gym. Then on June 2nd I went to work, ran to the JFSB to go to my ECON 110 lecture, went to my apartment at around 2 PM, picked up a package from Ulta for my sister, and then… I opened my email. Those who have gone through it would surely agree that it was one of the most mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting things we’ve done, but also one of the most rewarding ones. Teammates became friends, friends became family, the library became home and, without even noticing, endless study hours clumped into days and these into months. And I survived. I think it goes without saying that I received a lot of support, which I can’t properly recognize but that I thank for even to this day. I have actually kept a list of people without whom my degree wouldn’t have been a reality, and I can only hope that one day I can return the favor. This year I learned that whatever accomplishment you have is in no small degree due to people who support you along the way and that when you think you can’t go any further, you take one day at a time. One day at a time.
In 2016 I had to decide whether I wanted to pursue a graduate degree. The decision, believe it or not, was an easy and not so easy one. Even after my admittance to the Masters program, I had moments when I doubted this was the right path for me. But I did it and I don’t regret it. I also moved to D.C.! It was scary being in such a big city. It’s also ironic how alone you can feel being surrounded by so many people. But in time I’ve come to appreciate my time there and the personal growth that came from it. I had the opportunity to work with a wonderful and brilliant man, whom I had the pleasure to call my mentor and the privilege to call my friend. My sister graduated from college and while this year came with its own trials, I was happy to finish it having Christmas with my sister in Utah. This year I learned that sometimes in order to know what you truly want, you need to know first what you don’t want.
In 2017 I had to make some big decisions. Some big plans of mine fell through, I had to deal with some nasty paperwork, my life felt like a mess and I remember the place on the Wilk where, no longer being able to keep it together, I fell apart and started crying. Later that year I had to make one of the biggest decisions a soon-to-be college graduate will make: where to work. Being the indecisive person that I am, of course this was no easy task, but the choice was made. But 2017 also gave me a great friend, indeed a kindred spirit, whom I’ve come to love. From pizza making to yoga classes to her discovering the most OCD things about me, she truly became a life-long friend. This year I learned that God loves me for the things that He has in His wisdom denied me and that the friends you make at college are the real deal.
In 2018 I graduated from college!!! The day finally arrived and it was a bittersweet one. I was extremely happy for I had work countless hours for it and it did require my blood, sweat, and tears… but even then I knew that no other environment in the future, no workplace, no post-education courses, would ever match my college experience. It was a summer of idleness, I had no work, no where to be, no responsibilities. So I took on running and for once in my life I was actively active, if that makes sense. Then… I moved to Texas. Oh Texas! I don’t know if I’ll be able to ever convey with words what you were to me. I can’t deny that you were good to me, I learned a lot about myself, about life, the good and bad, about people, about God… but there was always something missing. And from this I found out that you can move to the center of the world but you cannot run away from your problems. Your challenges will be there with you no matter where you are, until you do something about them. This year I learned that work is a hard master and that I shouldn’t maneuver the ladder of success so wantonly to discover in the end that I had it leaning against the wrong wall.
In 2019 many unplanned things happen. I can say without a doubt that this has been the hardest year I’ve had for several reasons. Beginning in May things just started to fall apart, and it feels like I am starting to get my bearings. June was one HELL of a month. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more desolated and confused before. I had to sell my car, which was no easy quest. I had to pack my life yet again and move back home. I had to say goodbye to a way of living. I had to re-immerse myself again in another country. I had to get a new drivers license. I had to buy a new car, which not surprisingly was no easy quest. I had to find a new job. I had to quit a job. I had to deal with the reality of my choices. I had to find a way to keep on living my life as if things did not change that much. Except that they did and I still catch myself thinking how will I ever make this my new normal. Not one year before this one has had me so excited for a new year. But this time I not only get a new year, I get a new decade! This year I’ve learned that we control the things we can and any effort to do otherwise is useless.
I cannot complain for the hardships I’ve had because I’ve been extremely blessed even in my trials. But I am looking forward to looking back at these events a few years from today with a renewed understanding of the reasons why some of these had to happen. Here’s to 2020, may this be the year of good tithings!