I've recently been reading quite a lot feminist material and history. In one book, Listen Up, I believe one line has remained in my mind. It is something like this: None of the things that I am currently doing with my life were presented as options for my life when I was young.
That statement rings true for me.
Looking back the options laid out before me were to go to college (which is certainly good), get married, live close to home, have babies, and most likely teach at a local public school. (I am not trying to say that these are not viable options for some.)
The exact words of, "Lauren, this is what we expect," were never actually said aloud. What I do remember is my mom encouraging me to plan out how my wedding would look from a very early age, let's say eight. I also know that I living in another state was not presented at something I should do, especially not long term. I could travel, but I would come back. Since I had an affinity for school and English more especially, I was always pushed in the teaching direction. I even remember having discussions in my early teens with my parents and family about where I should teach and how I should go about it.
No one ever said things like, "You don't have to immediately get married." No one said, "You can live elsewhere." No one said, "Hey, check out this other religion, and let me know what you think about it after being raised as a Christian."
Now I am a legally singe woman raising my daughter. While being a parent is certainly stressful and poses many difficulties, I would not change it. I would not change that it happened when I was not married. That was certainly not an option that was presented to me; on the contrary, those that went through such things were presented as having made unfortunate decisions; ones that I should NEVER make.
I live with my boyfriend and partner. That mode of living was certainly never presented. I happen to be heterosexual. What if I had been homosexual? That was not an option.
I am no longer a Christian. Not an option.
I want to live outside of the U.S. Not an option.
How do we change this? How do we raise the next generation to be more open to other possibilities?