I have a new project to announce – one I’m both excited about and quite intimidated by! I am beginning initial research into what I hope will become (in a few years) a new book: a guide to help twenty-something TCKs navigate through identity, decisions, and commitments.
It all started when I attended FIGT 2017 in The Hague, the Netherlands. I attended the Millennial Forum where I met some really great people and listened to young adult TCKs talk about different issues they encountered as they launched into adult life. On several occasions, as someone shared a particular situation, I was able to tell them that I’d heard similar thoughts and feelings from a number of TCKs I interviewed for Misunderstood. Toward the end of the evening someone said “there’s no literature for us, it stops at university”. And I thought to myself, someone should do something about that.
Slowly, it became a thought that wouldn’t let go. I kept thinking about the things that came up in interviews for Misunderstood, things that seemed illustrative of wider patterns, but which didn’t fit the book or I hadn’t researched in enough depth. I kept reflecting on questions that twenty-something TCKs had asked me during interviews. And that same thought kept returning: someone should really do something about this.
I’ve been mentoring and supporting young adult TCKs long distance for over a decade now. Sometimes it’s a conversation over messenger, sometimes a voice or video chat. There are some young people I’ve connected with semi-regularly for years. Some pop up from time to time seeking a little extra support during a rough spot. Others connect regularly for a few months when going through a difficult season. And at least once every other month, a twenty-something TCK will seek me out to talk through a particular question – something they’re struggling with or confused about, and think is related to their international upbringing. Often they express a sense that no one seems to understand what they’re feeling or why. They come to me with hope that I can shed some light, offer some understanding. Even when they have a loving community around them, there’s a felt need for something more: they seek information and understanding. I get to let them know they’re going through something really normal, something lots of young adult TCKs wrestle with. I get to see and hear relief from these twenty-something TCKs as their feelings are validated and their struggles understood.
I’m now convinced of the need for a book that does this. A book to offer that hope, validation, and understanding. A book to trace some of the paths that many ATCKs have walked through their twenties. A book that adds some signposts to the path, to say: “you are here”. You’re not lost, you’re not off on your own. You’re in a familiar and recognisable place. What you’re feeling and experiencing is normal, rational, understandable. People have been here before you, and there’s a way through.
My life has been somewhat full in the past year! But now that things have calmed down and I have some more headspace, I’m starting to move forward with this project. I have a general outline of the material I anticipate the book covering, and I’m working on putting together a survey. But as a first step, I want to talk to some twenty-something TCKs about what they want in a book like this. Sort of pre-interviews before I start, to give some shape to where I go from here.
So, if you’re a twenty-something TCK, and you have ideas of what you’d want in a book like this, let me know! If you know twenty-something TCKs, please tell them about this! If you have a few comments, feel free to add them to this post. And if you’re interested in talking further, let me know – I’d love to hear from you!