Small Steps

I’ve been stuck in a rut recently. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been attending so many conferences, or traveling. Indeed, one of the primary reasons why I dropped out of school two years ago to travel was because I needed inspiration, ideas, and most importantly more real world understanding and experiences. I went to so many places and did so many different things, that I feel that I have an overload of knowledge and interests now.

Indeed, maybe that’s my situation right now.  My head, like my heart, is scattered. I’ve set myself to learn about many diverse issues related to women and girls, and although I’ve chosen to address reproductive health/rights in my personal equation of what is most fundamental to reducing the gender gap, there is still so much to do and so far to go. I wanted my studies at New York University to accommodate my personal goals, not present obstacles, and so my classes’ assignments are mostly projects that I would have submitted anyway. This should be helpful, and yet I still feel myself stuck in a creativity rut. What I want to do most right now is design an innovative way to address the high rate of teen pregnancy and promote better family planning in Latin America – primarily in Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador – but I have no ideas. Everything that I have researched is the old-school style – family planning centers, booklets, and lack of funding. I want to build a social movement, similar to the pro-abortion movement there (which is crucial to the overall cause), and see young people at the helm.

But I feel stymied both by my current living situation in New York and a myriad of other interests. On Monday I will attend a conference about the post-2015 development goals at the United Nations. I still care very deeply about youth empowerment and intercultural dialogue. When it comes down to it… should we take tiny steps knowing that structural change is a ways off? Or should we be as ambitious as possible and try to build international communities? I am perhaps both blessed and cursed to have such successful and ambitious peers who have built movements and communities around concrete visions and actions. I don’t want to achieve any less. To do so would be to give less than my best to women, girls, and communities around the world who need more options and opportunities.

I think that I’m searching for people who are as passionate about this issue as me… and I’m looking to travel again. In December I will go to Spain for three weeks, and then in January I will move to Argentina for a semester. I’m looking forward to being back in South America, and to making contacts and building this project on the ground. Although I have to submit something to Clinton Global Initiative University within a week, I’m sure that this idea will morph and grow once I am actually in South America and learning from the locals about what’s happening and what’s possible.

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