Whenever I argue with my grandma the same conversation occurs:
“pero abuela, ¡los tiempos han cambiado!”
“no. los tiempos no cambian. uno cambia, pero todos los días son iguales: cada día el sol sube y baja.”
Is she right? I always chose to believe that time could change, but I never questioned how.
In the most literal sense, time stays the same:
There are twenty four hours in a day
A sunrise and a sunset
Seven days in a week
Fifty two weeks in a year
In the figurative sense, the past, present, and future are foreign to one another.
The customs of the past slowly fade and make room for those of the present, only for those practices to be replaced by those of the future.
The differences between time periods is comparable to differences among cultures.
After all, each time period is characterized by its way of life.
While various cultures coexist in the present, traveling from one into another is like moving from one era to the next: comparing their reality to yours.
Nonetheless, it is essential to be respectful and considerate of the different customs you encounter.
So, for people with families in different countries, this sometimes means changing ourselves to conform to their norms.
Meanwhile, people who live close to their families do not have this same dilemma.
Since their family members share the same culture, the boundaries are easier to comprehend
For the children of immigrants, being geographically and culturally distant from our families poses a challenge because we can not understand their lives just as they cannot understand ours.
The societal pressures they face differ vastly from ours
The perspectives they develop about life are incomprehensible to us just like ours are to them because neither knows what it is like to live a day in the others’ life.
And, at the end of the day, keeping up with all these boundaries is exhausting:
Who can I talk to? and about what?
Will they tell my parents?
Will I become the family chisme?
Will they give me the benefit of the doubt or assume the worst?
Who can understand the pressures of being a college student in Los Angeles?
Like having to work to barely afford living in such an expensive city.
Trying to relax when in the end I feel guilty for neglecting my homework.
Realizing that my bachelor’s degree is worthless even though they think it’s my
ticket to a six figure income.
Or, if I do try to express this, will they think I am unappreciative of the opportunities they were never given?
Who will empathize with my mental health struggles when the idea of mental health is foreign to them?
Will they understand what it means to have social anxiety when all of them are outgoing, outspoken, and have each other as a support system?Is it worth confiding in them that I am mentally drained and overwhelmed with all the challenges of being in school and working during a pandemic when the best pieces of advice they have is: “Si puedes, yo creo en ti, eres chingona”
Who can provide the advice I need when they have never gone through anything similar themselves?
Who can help me budget when they move out of their parents house when they get married, not for school? Advise me on how to eat a healthy, vegetarian diet when they primarily eat meat and do not have to worry about protein intake? Or how to navigate the hookup culture of college?
The fact that the same generation can differ so greatly depending on the culture one is born into makes me think that maybe mi abuelita tiene razón y los tiempos no cambian, nada más uno cambia.
Entonces, lo único prometido es que todos los días son iguales.
Pero que bueno. Si se que todos los días son una oportunidad para mejorar, eso es lo que haré.
Cuando baja el sol, puedo preguntarme—¿cambie mi manera de pensar? ¿De ser? ¿Los cambios fueron buenos?
La promesa de que el tiempo siempre quedará igual, me trae calma.
Sabiendo eso trae el conocimiento que al menos hay una cosa constante en nuestra vida, y aunque todo puede cambiar durante esas veinticuatro horas, el día empezará de nuevo en la mañana.
To view this article in its full designed glory, head over to our Issuu to view our Fall 2020 Boundaries Issue!