There are years that ask questions and years that answer.
When I was younger, I thought that I'd soon reach a stage in life when I had all the answers. As a child, I believed that by the time I entered my late teens I would be self-assured and confident, that I'd figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I'm 18 now, and even though I'm far from being where I want to be, I've realized one extremely important truth: I'm never going to have all the answers.
This is something that I've started to realize only recently. This past year has been especially confusing for me, and has brought with it a lot of questions and doubts. Last year, I moved from Pakistan to the U.S., just one year short of graduating from high school. The move was quite unplanned and spur-of-the-moment, and as a result my university planning got disrupted. At this point, I still don't know if I'll be going to university or community college in the fall. I don't know if I'll continue to live in San Marcos this year, or if my family will move to another city. I have no idea where I will be and what I'll be doing in the next few months. Everything seems uncertain and hazy and undecided.
Not only are my external circumstances unclear, but I've also been questioning my inner-beliefs and values a lot. I was raised a Muslim, but at this point I don't really believe in God. I don't know what I stand for and what I want to do with my life. I'm questioning my faith in feminism for the first time. Usually I'm a very spiritual person, but at this point I can't seem to sort out my emotions or make sense of anything that is happening around me.
Amidst all this confusion, I came across a quote by Zora Neale Hurston, "There are years that ask questions and years that answer." This statement had an instantaneous effect on me -- it made so much sense! I felt renewed hope after reading it, and I started to see my current circumstances as an opportunity to reroute and reflect. Life is marked by periods of certainty and periods of confusion, and in times of hopelessness it helps to remember that the answers we seek are nearer than we think. I guess this past year has been a "questioning" year for me, a year of re-evaluating and reflection.
When I look back at my life I can observe this pattern. Periods of confusion and uncertainty are followed by years that bring with them renewed direction and purpose. At the age of 14 I went through a phase of religious confusion where I questioned everything and believed nothing. Shortly after this phase, I found peace in a very liberal, spiritual form of Islam. This peace was disturbed by doubts and disbeliefs the following year, but after a period of re-evaluation and intense questioning, I soon found my faith again. I suppose that this pattern will remain throughout my life; there will be times when I doubt and question my purpose in life, and times when I'm confident and certain.
When I look around me, I see so many people who are a lot older than me and are still trying to figure out their lives. There are people who quit stable careers to pursue what they love well into their 50s and 60s, and there are people who move halfway across the world to explore new possibilities. At any given point there are people choosing new majors, new motives, new religions, new life-paths. Change is inevitable.
When I look around at all the current uncertainty and ambiguity in my life, I know that it's part of the process of change. At this point, I'm trying to navigate my way through this confusion, trying to find some meaning and clarity. I trust that I'll find my answers soon.