My Number One Fear

I don't want to end up living a boring life.

My entire childhood I was spoon-fed things like, "Reach for your dreams!" and "You can be whoever you want to be." Then, BAM, I'm suddenly an adult in an apartment by myself, dating somebody I really love a lot, and thoughts about the future start to creep into my mind. How will I reconcile my two greatest dreams? Using Arabic in an adventurous career, and being a mother and having a family.

Fortunately, I have fantastic friends who tell me things like, "Career and family are not mutually exclusive. You can do anything, Kate." and, "Quit whining. You've been in Provo for waaaaay too long. Stop listening to those Mormons." and, "You told me you wanted to talk to someone about it - try talking to God. He'll listen, and definitely understand." and "Yeah, I feel the same kind of things about the future too, sometimes." and "Remember that time when you told me that you had complete faith that everything would work out in the end? Remember how you told me to remind you of that moment when you would be crying and stressed out about the future? Yeah, I'm reminding you right now." and "I wouldn't want you to be anything but Kate. I love you." and "What do you think you're doing already, right NOW, with Arabic, in this camp?"


  1. I hope you don't mind a long comment from a lurker (I loved your Jordan blog), but I was you 10 years ago. I'm a Mormon who had just come back to Orem from from my second stint in the Middle East and few people understood why I loved Arabic and the Middle East (this was before 9/11, so people's reactions weren't anywhere near as bad as they are now). Almost no one thought this was a reasonable course to pursue. "Why do you need Arabic? How will that help you be a good mother?" Why did everyone assume that was all I wanted to do?

    Things have worked out for me better than I imagined, but much differently since our focus has shifted slightly to Central Asia. I don't have a paying career working with Arabic, but Islam and the Middle East and now Central Asia are a huge part of my life and they wouldn't be without that original foundation in Arabic. I still plan to have a paying career with Islam, but for now it's a volunteer one while I study and travel to Central Asia with my husband and children and it works for me.

    I hope things work out for you. It's definitely possible. One more thing- the person you marry will make one of the biggest differences. My friends (women) who studied Arabic with me have all stayed with it as long as we didn't marry someone totally uninterested in the Middle East when they were in their early 20s.

  2. You really CAN do it, Kate. I've got the same dilemma. Part of me really wants to just sit and be a stay-at-home mom... but another part of me thinks that there is so much that I COULD do with myself. So... I'm applying to grad school in a few months. I threw out medicine because of the ridiculous time and money commitment (who knows if I'll change my mind) but I'm gonna give it a try and hope Adam doesn't flip when we finally pop out a kid. Uhhh... yeah this was supposed to be a comment for YOU. So... you can do it, woman... and the person who posted before me is right... marry someone great, and it will be definitely possible.

  3. The trick is to marry and live with a husband whose professional, social and intellectual goals are compatible with yours. Family--with or without children (until a couple tries, their fertility is TBA)-- will be a commonality but marriage is stronger when compatibilities are fluent. That means both partners give like crazy to each other. What do you have to offer him? If he's just off a mission and likely at a beginning point of career selection and prep, he needs space and time to make good choices for himself, for his own life satisfaction. So it's GREAT that at this point he's hearing exactly what you value in your work. If he's serious about compatibility, he'll genuinely try. Be careful to not push. Should flow...


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