Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The rock is too heavy for Sisyphus (or emancipating foster youth) to carry alone

Quote from a friend of mine who is struggling right now: "I am looking at my life and I realize that it's not what I want it to be... I did not foresee the obstacles I would have to overcome - the struggles it would take just to survive. I never imagined that I would have to start over so many times, in order to get back on track again."

This is an all-too-common experience for young adults who emancipate from foster care and try to navigate the adult world without family support:  "Will I ever get to a point where I am happy with my life?  Where my life is stable and secure? Will I accomplish the dreams and goals I want for myself?  Or is this current chaos the life that I have to accept -- forever???"

I remember feeling that way often between the ages of 16-26 years old. I have at least 35 journals from college and grad school - charting the struggles and days when I thought my life wasn't going anywhere.

A friend of mine from college called days like this: Sisyphus Days. There's a myth that Sisyphus had to roll a rock up a mountain every day, only to have it roll back down, and start all over again.

Message to foster care youth and alumni: The good news is that you are NOT Sisyphus. We all have days when we feel that way - but your actions and accomplishments really ARE adding up to something, even if you can't see that right now.

And also you don't have to roll whatever rock you are currently carrying up that blasted hill all by yourself. Just as you live your life fighting to improve the system for others, please know that other people who know and care about you don't want you to face battles alone. It's not one-man combat, it's an army and we can overcome this struggle TOGETHER.

Nice article, very involving.
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